I think one of the reasons I’m not as depressed as most people about the insanity in this country is that I directly confront insanity where I find it. If someone standing in line at the supermarket says something misguided, I’ll say, “Why do you believe that?” or “Why would you say such a thing?” I have a conversation.
People don’t always listen to me, but they are a little less likely to feel 100% sure that everything they believe is valid. Imagine if more people did it!
We have many festering carbuncles in this country, disgusting boils of racism, resentment and bile. You have to pop them if we’re going to heal.
For instance, I really don’t want anyone getting away with the assumption that because we both have white skin, I approve of the way they feel about black people or Mexicans. But they won’t know if I don’t tell them.
Confronting this nonsense is the single most useful thing you can do. I’m not saying be belligerent (heavens, no — I’m a double Libra!) but start talking: “Really? No, I don’t feel that way at all, and here’s why.” If they respond with erroneous “facts”, ask them where they got the information. Ask them if they ever verified the information independently, “because you can’t believe what you see on TV.”
Remember what Vaclav Havel wrote: The single most revolutionary thing you can do is refuse the lie.