Like you, perhaps, I feel I've said what I have to say about Trump. And said it and said it and said it and said it (even after promising never to say it). At this point, it seems to me the most patriotic thing I can do is to try to listen as deeply, as imaginatively and as long as I can to my fellow Americans who see it differently. And when I manage to see problems with my own side, point them out as an act of fairness and goodwill.
For instance: A buddy and I have a constant conversation going about how we are to talk about, and think about, people who disagree with us politically.
The conversation is interesting and tolerable because my buddy and I disagree with one another politically but agree in just about every other way. It's also unavoidable and infinite, because he and I are grown fellers, and probably aren't about to change our minds politically.
Aside from actual policy matters, which we rarely talk about—I have no idea what my buddy thinks about AR-15s or free trade—the only thing we really disagree on is this: He believes that liberals dismiss conservatives in brutally unfair ways. And I, on the other hand, think conservatives give as good as they get.
But it occurs to me that I could defend my view a little more effectively if college-educated, middle upper-class liberals would wipe the astonished facial formation that goes with their complaint that poor or middle-class white people "don't vote their interests."
Hey liberal: Do you vote your interests? No, you take pride in not voting your interests. You take pride in voting your principles, even when they contradict your financial interests—especially when they do! You've got good healthcare, but you argue til you're blue in the face for universal healthcare because healthcare is a human right. You don't make minimum wage, but you think the minimum wage should be raised. "I'd pay twice as much in taxes to make better schools!" you'll say with glee on drink number three.
It makes you feel good not to vote your interests—to vote for what you feel is the common good. And feeling good is one reason that you vote. Feeling good is a good reason to vote.
Did it ever occur to you that poor conservatives want to feel good when they vote, too? That they aren't dogs, who unlike you, will only vote for their next bowl of food? That they, too, believe they're voting on principle, even if it's against their financial interests—especially if it is.
Now, I realize that the very concept of "principle" is getting pretty gaseous these days, because we have a president who seems so un-acquainted with it. But then again, at this dizzying moment when a Republican president is trying to heavy handedly to bring back steel jobs over the objections of decades of Republican trade orthodoxy and when liberals are screaming for everyone to trust the FBI and the CIA—just knowing your "interests" is hard enough.
Before we argue with one another, let's at least try to walk a mile in the other person's shoes. And if it doesn't work the first time, then try it again.
Buddy, thanks for lending me your shoes whenever I need them.