Last evening, trying to put a tolerable if not tolerant face on the news, I had a momentary insight. It was this. I do not fully understand the reasoning of the political other side.
I have friends, neighbors, relatives who voted for Trump, people I often see and talk with. But we never discuss politics, never even verge close to it. We both know there’s no middle ground where we can stand — or sit — peacefully and discuss our differences without distress or rancor.
But why not? Why can’t we try to do that?
And then, that moment of insight, and an answer. Let’s establish a neutral zone, a place to meet and explain ourselves to each other without interruption, or insult, or argument.
Start a brawl at a family picnic? Or a troll-and-slam fest online? I don’t think so. It has to start, at least, somewhere else.
Then I thought about old technology. The US Mail Service. We could write letters back and forth. It’s a different kind of communication. You have to write it out — with a pen or a keyboard — editing and revising as you go. Look at it again and decide to send it. Find an envelope and address it. Buy a stamp. Get to the post office or a drop box.
Then a reply, also done over time. And that’s the advantage. It takes time, which at least implies a level of thought and precision.
I’ll try for a while, see what happens. If you have a comment, to agree or elaborate or challenge, please add on.
My next move will be to reserve a mailbox at the local post office, to emphasize the “neutral zone” idea. If it works, I’ll post that mailbox address here, and invite anyone who’s interested to join in.