I go to the gym several times a week. I usually stay in my zone blasting KPFT 90.1 FM's morning shows, The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen, The Thom Hartmann Program, and Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. Usually, I do not hear any of the surrounding conversations.
I confronted Republican man disparaging immigrants
Thom Hartmann was talking to several callers who complained about the effectiveness of the Right Wing media converting their friends and families into paranoid Right Wingers they did not recognize. My Bluetooth earbuds died as Democracy Now! was starting. As I did some butterflies, I overheard a Right Wing Republican man speaking to a receptive man.
"I love what Trump is doing," the Republican said. "Send them all to those cities. They are sanctuaries anyway. Let them deal with them."
My blood started to boil. The Republican kept on escalating the rhetoric as he demeaned these immigrants, these asylum seekers. I could take it no more.
I walked up to the man and looked him sternly in the eyes. It seemed to shock him initially.
"Do you know how inhumane you sound?" I asked.
After stuttering for a while, he gave me the standard cop-out answer.
"I don't have any problem with these people," he said. "But we must first change the law. We must have laws, not open borders."
I told him that humaneness superseded laws. When people are in dire straits, we must act humanely first and adjust rules later.
He touched on crime, and I reminded him of several important logical conclusions that Fox News taught their viewers to ignore.
- The majority of undocumented immigrants want to do nothing to attract any attention that could get them deported. As such, they commit less crime and do not vote.
- While the European settlers came here, killed those who helped them survive initially, conquered the land (read stole the property), and enslaved an entire race to create a fast-growing economy, the asylum seekers only want a life of peace and a job. Shouldn't the need for atonement demand more from us?
- People like him who profess higher morals should consult the Bible and the words of Jesus Christ and ask if his behavior would mimic their own.
During the entire conversation I was firm but not rude nor did I raise my voice. My approach elicited a similar behavior from the Republican. It was clear that no one has never confronted him in the manner that I did. I created an environment where he deservedly was on the defensive. But most importantly I did not allow an escalation into a shouting match. While he spoke, I listened intently, and in this case, I did not have to ask him to reciprocate the behavior. In other confrontations, I have had to ask for the same respect in listening that I afforded.
Look, I am sure I did not change this Republican's basal way of being. But I do know I planted seeds that any thinking human being however ideologically compromised will have cemented in their brains whether they acknowledge it or not.
After going back and forth for about twenty minutes we shook hands, he thanked me. I wondered if he realized he did that. Anyway, I did not react. I gave him a back slap, we smiled and then I took off.
These are perilous times. The Right is always ready to confront and bully. We must do the same for the soul of this country. Most people are good but ideologically empty and rudderless. Whoever is more effective in filling that vacuum wins. Progressives, we are the ones with the verifiable truth. We must fill the voids. But more importantly, for voids filled with poison, we must blow it out of there.
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