Discovering the Political Other

I was asked about my journey of leaving the liberal bubble and discovering that the political Other isn’t evil.

It all started in 2017. After Trump got elected, I saw my side descend into insanity and start propagating the most deranged, ridiculous stories.

I listened, watched, fumed, and then suddenly wondered, “hey, what if it’s not the first time? What if other things are lies, too?”

So I started researching. In the past 2 years, I read maybe 50 or 60 books – full-length books, not articles – from the other side. And I’m very glad I did. I now know the alternative story on pretty much everything. Racism, the civil rights movement, Ruby Ridge, Bill Clinton, the Bushes, 1990s in NYC, FDR, OJ, LBJ. Even 18th century history. Even Sarah Palin. It’s fascinating because it’s all completely new to me. It’s like a whole different world out there.

This is not about agreeing or not. It’s about finding out that the other side isn’t composed of deranged, bigoted lunatics. There is a coherent, meaningful narrative about everything on the other side. My life has been enriched by this knowledge.

And I have to say that a whole bunch of these alternative stories make more sense than the ones that are the common wisdom on our side.

I think that everybody should familiarize themselves with the stories their political Other tells about any random 3 events or issues. A more nuanced worldview is always a great asset. It’s also fun because throughout the 60 books, I was constantly going, “oh, so this is how THEY see it! I had no idea!” It’s better than a mystery novel because there’s a revelation on every page.

If anybody has any suggestions on the popular conservative classics, do let me know. Who are considered the really scary ones?

Educated Bigots

From The Atlantic:

In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves. This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity. They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents. (In fact, people who went to graduate school have the least amount of political disagreement in their lives).

This is very true. I only recently left the bubble and decided to discover what the other side has to say. And it turned out that most of the scary stuff we believe in our bubble about “the political Other” is a lie.

And here is also a great piece about the least politically prejudiced county in the country. I checked my county on their map, and it’s pretty politically prejudiced. Which is not stunning given that it’s dominated by the university.

Name Recognition

The numbers from the South Carolina Dem primary are as follows:

Biden 37, Sanders 21, Harris 9, Booker 6, Warren 5.

It’s all about name recognition, folks. Nobody knows who Harris and Booker are. Lack of name recognition is what defeated Bernie in the last primary. I was constantly asked by life-long Democrats who saw my bumper stickers, “so who’s this Bernie guy? Is he any good?”

But this time around, Bernie is a lot more recognizable. He’s not as recognizable as Biden, as we see from the polls but he is in a great position right now.

I believe that both Biden and Sanders can stand up to Trump in the debates but Sanders is much more of an inspirational figure than Biden.

Yes, it’s too early to know anything right now but I believe that with these numbers we are not in a bad shape at all. Either of these candidates can win. Which is what matters. What’s the use of even the greatest candidate who can’t bring it home with a win?