Start Talking

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.

One thought on “Start Talking

  1. I often do that too. One memorable example was whenb I told two people on the bus who were gushing about how Giuliani was such a great crime fighter and how he cleaned up and rebuilt Times Square. Well, the Times Square thing I could rebut easily, to wit. all the new buildings they were claiming he got started really were the product of many years of developers buying up small parcels to get the larger lots they needed for larger buildings. The process to get them approved by the City took close to a decade and began long before Giuliani was mayor. In 1980 I was able to participate in a tour with a friend sponsored by the American Institute of Architects which centered on the Times Square area and the work being done to rebuild. We walked all around the area for maybe two hours as the guide pointed out where plans were already in the works. The people just poo-pooed me but I had to tell them. Giuliani had nothing to do with it.

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