The Wednesday Post: October 25, 2017

Oct 25, 2017

Quote of the Week.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends. — J.K. Rowling

The Top Story.

On Safari in Trump’s America. [The Atlantic]

A lot of people have gone out into middle America looking for an explanation for President Trump.  The New York Times.  The Guardian.  Time Magazine.  Sarah Silverman’s new show seems to think that the liberal bubble is a physical place and that you leave it by heading to middle America.

To someone from one of those inscrutable red places, this feels like a form of poverty tourism where reporters travel to rural, blue collar communities and say, “Hey, of course they voted for Trump, look at this place!”  Third Way’s

Third Way’s recent trip found that many people on both sides don’t want to build consensus or forge compromise.  Liberals and conservatives were “essentially, separatists, proud of their extremism and disdainful of the unenlightened.”

Perhaps bridging the divide starts by ending the special reports.  By remembering that the relatives, classmates, and co-workers we unfriended — the ones with MAGA hats and Woman Cards — were people we liked before politics.  When we don’t have to travel far away to talk to someone who voted differently, we can just talk to our friend who did.  Not because we deserve an explanation or to enlighten them, but because we value their opinion and want to listen.

Weekly Reads and Links.

+ The incredible Harry Josh blowdryer now comes in a 1lb version. Hello, Xmas gift.

+ If you can’t find a spouse who supports your career, stay single. [HBR]

+ LK Bennett still has the best dresses.  I splurged on this blush work one, and stopped myself from buying this velvet party one.

+ These brutally honest charts are so funny (because they’re true). [Bored Panda]

+ Do not miss this $29 satin shell or this $28 ponte shift dress from Old Navy.

+ How to excel in a male-dominated industry (hello, politics). [Forbes]

+ Under-$100 work must haves: this Tahari navy sheath, this VC blue blouse, and this $99 cashmere in every color.

+ Single, unemployed, and suddenly myself. [New York Times]

The Weekly Ws.

What I’m Baking. This one-bowl pumpkin sheet cake with brown butter frosting.

What I’m Playing. HQ Trivia (use code abrab2005 to sign up).

What I’m Wearing. This amazingly soft $26 short robe.

Photo of the Week.

From JoJoTastic.  Now all I want are a bunch of chunky brass bangles… I think I’ll start my search at this Etsy shop.

Workday Reading

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  1. thb says:

    Wow! Those bracelets with that navy sleeve.

  2. Beth says:

    Sarah Silverman’s new show is THE WORST OF THE WORST. It drives me bonkers. She’s purporting to love America while openly mocking and belittling people she doesn’t agree with.

  3. MOnica T says:

    Wow, love that HBR article. One of my colleagues was thinking out loud about how she would get approval from her partner to go to a work event – he has insecurities and she tries to be “sensitive” to them. I was like, tell him to suck it up, this is your career, and if you shoot yourself in the foot for your partner and in 10 years you are exactly where you are now, who’s going to make up for the lost wages because he’s worried you’re going to cheat on him? Bottom line, we work in a male-dominated industry where we have to fight for every opportunity we get, and a non-supportive partner can ruin EVERYTHING.

  4. Ellen says:

    And what if we *don’t* respect and value our friend or family member’s opinions that inspired them to vote for/support the candidate we abhor? What if we heard their view and it consisted of “I don’t want the government giving my money to those people,” or, “They’re going to take all of our guns,” or, “She’s just a corporate shill/murdered those people in Benghazi/a cold fish, no wonder Bill cheated on her!” These are honestly things I heard while having these conversations with said family/friends.

    What if we find their opinions to be selfish or based in ignorance?

    What then?

    • Jill says:

      Thank you. I don’t want to know these people opinions. If you are supporting an insane man child, there is something wrong with your moral compass. These people want to bring us back to the 19th century and I want no part of it.

      • Belle says:

        You presume that they see the insane man child. Something that would be tough to do for those watching some news sources, and easy to do if you were watching others. I literally had a man tell me he kept supporting the Pres. because of nine executive orders that I hadn’t even heard about. He then explained each and every one to me, and when I verified it, he hadn’t gotten a single fact wrong. I don’t know how they’re able to set aside the tweets and the comments and the scrum, but if you’ve decided to only watch one or two news sources (which we all have by this point) it makes sense you wouldn’t think some of these things are a big deal or wouldn’t know they were happening.

        We have this wrongheaded idea that we can isolate these people. That we can take the thoughts and ideas we don’t like, and marginalize them enough that they won’t hav enough of a majority to show up to vote. When has that EVER worked? In the 80s it was the Christian right. In the early aughts, the Tea Party. The harder you try to push them to the side, the more motivated they will be to get in your face. And they will grow, and collect other marginalized thinkers, and soon, this will be the new normal.

        Casting them out is only going to make them more radical and stronger. I’m trying it this way, because it isn’t working the other way.

    • Lucy says:

      Agreed. Politics are personal, so there is no “people we liked before politics.” Many Trump supporters supported white supremacy, bigotry, ignorance, and hatred “before politics;” they just didn’t reveal it until now. White supremacy isn’t just an opinion, and I don’t have to respect it.

      • Belle says:

        This is not true for every Trump supporter. I have plenty of people in my extended circle who don’t like those things about the President, who have stood up against his comments many times, but still wouldn’t have voted for Hillary.

        And to those who say, well I’m cutting off these people who voted for Trump, what about all of the people who just didn’t turn out to vote? Don’t they bear the same responsibility? Aren’t they just as culpable? But they get a pass either because they weren’t motivated by hate (just apathy and ignorance), or because they lie and say they voted?

    • M says:

      Thanks for this. I was thinking it but didn’t know how to say it. If having a conversation means listening to more comments about Hilary’s emails, the liberal media, the ‘War on Christmas’, football players taking the knee, etc etc – then I just cannot. I have well-informed friends across the aisle that I often have healthy debates with on policy and principles. But those who just repeat Facebook click-bait, conspiracy theories, and other ignorant ill-informed opinions… I’m at a loss for action.

    • e says:

      Yea this is tough, but I agree. This argument was fair to make when Bush was elected (or, for conservatives, when Obama was elected) but Trump supporters elected an unfit man who consistently displayed sexist, racist, and xenophobic behavior. I find the policies he is advocating for deeply offensive, not just different. As I find out that (former) friends of mine are actually sexist or racist, defriending them is a reasonable step. As (Republican) Senators Corker and Flake made obvious recently, we can’t keep talking about things like they are normal. This is not normal.

      • Belle says:

        If someone says racist and sexist things, that’s different. But there are still a lot of people who didn’t think those things were a big deal because the news, their party, and the influencers in their family were telling them “locker room talk” wasn’t a big deal. And since many of them loathed Hillary like no other, they thought of everything under the lens of “look at the Clinton behavior.”

        As I said above, I have many people in my friend and family group who voted for Trump, have stood up against his tweets and racism and conflict-baiting, but would never have voted for Hillary. How am I going to slowly, painfully, deliberately bring them back into the real Republican fold if I can’t communicate with them? But every time I get one back, I am one voter closer to a GOP nominee like Kasich or Sasse.

    • Belle says:

      Then you remember that their opinion, whatever it is based on, entitles them to the same voting rights you have. People have been casting ballots based on personal opinion, wrong information, and emotion since the dawn of time. Only this time, they didn’t pretend there was another reason.

      You work for the policies you believe in, and you endeavor to make sure that next time, the people who agree with you (who didn’t show up to vote last time) show up. But just because you believe they are wrong does not mean you get to treat them like zoo animals to be studied and laughed at. But half the reason most of these folks voted for Trump is that they’re angry and feel maligned, and if the mainstream “elites” continue to ostracize and mock them, it will only solidify their beliefs and probably create more of them.

    • Kelso says:

      Agreed. I understand that many people didn’t like Hillary, or generally prefer Republican policies to Democratic policies. And I understand that many people who voted for Trump are NOT racist, misogynist bigots. But by voting for Trump, they quietly said that racism, sexism, and bigotry were not deal breakers for them. At that point it’s no longer a difference in politics – it’s a difference in the fundamental decencies, and I have no desire to bridge that gap. None. I do not apologize for this stance. And lest you think that this makes me intolerant, I invite you to Google the tolerance paradox.

  5. Christy says:

    I like the HBR article, but I think it left off an important option for dual high powered couples– 1) have fewer children and 2) hire help- that you pay for jointly.

    • Denise says:

      I’m currently a part of a dual-working-spouse relationship that sadly is hitting its breaking point. We have help – a nanny (not live in), housekeeping every other week, grocery delivery – I am a champion at throwing money at the problem 🙂 I think where you can end up is in this tit-for-tat, ‘you got to travel last week so I get to travel this week’ scorekeeping situation that ends up slowly grinding away at your relationship and wearing you down. Instead of hearing ‘OMG I NEED ALL YOUR TRAVEL ON A CALENDER 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE SO I CAN WORK OUT MY SCHEDULE’, I’d prefer to hear ‘tell me more about your new project! That sounds awesome! The former, in my case, has been far more common. It’s just not sexy when you’re constantly arguing about roles and responsibilities. Choose wisely ladies. Look at your potential spouse and the family he grew up in and determine if he can manage to provide the kind of support you need – the kind you would give him.

    • Mimi says:

      Is hiring help really a solution? I grew up with parents who had very demanding careers. We had a nanny, cleaning service, etc., but there is still a lot left. My mom did 90% of it.

  6. C says:

    I’ve followed your blog for a while and I appreciate your thoughtful opinions on politics, although I don’t always agree. As someone who lives inside the Beltway, I actually do think that bubbles exist. I can honestly say that I do not socialize with a single person who voted for Trump, even though I have numerous conservative friends in this area. But when I travel back to Cincinnati where my husband is from, the majority of people we interact with were Trump voters. That doesn’t mean you should stereotype people from “Middle America,” but it is true that different regions face different realities and have different cultures that may influence the way people vote in that region. If I relied on the opinions of the people I know inside the Beltway to explain what happened in the 2016 election, I wouldn’t fully understand the motivations of voters living in places like Cincinnati, where politics isn’t as close to home, local news sources are different, and their view of Washington from the outside contrasts with the understanding or tolerance that many people who live here have.

    • Belle says:

      My old boss always used to say the coming fight wasn’t D vs. R, it was urban vs. rural. He was right. I don’t think he knew the rural folks could be convinced a NY-er who uses gold plated toilets and lies as easily as he breathes was their guy.

    • Lauren says:

      As a counterpoint to this narrative, I live in the suburbs of NYC. More of my neighbors voted for trump than voted for Clinton. These people are driving BMWs and working white collar jobs. Most live in homes much nicer than the ones they were raised in. It’s hard to believe America failed them. I’m a little tired of this storyline that blue collar Midwestern people are the only folks willing to support a racist sexual predator from New York. They aren’t. Maybe their support was the most understandable, but if we’re reflecting, we should all look in the mirror.

  7. J says:

    This post and comments remind me of the SNL Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks. Some on-point comic relief if you’ve never seen it 🙂

    I grew up in one of the most conservative areas in America and then went to a very liberal law school. I now consider myself moderate. If I didn’t ignore politics, I wouldn’t have friends anymore. That said, I do think us moderates are higher in number than it seems. We tend to be the ones who are quieter…

    • Belle says:

      Well, it’s time to GET LOUD. BEcause if Flake can’t get re-elected, then what Palin/Trump acolyte will they pick in his place? The party needs to know we’re still out here, we still have money, and we’re not going to be cowed into silence 140 characters at a time.

      • Allison says:

        Love this! Haven’t thought of it this way. I’m a moderate, tend to lean more Republican, and really horrified by what’s going on, but I can’t figure out where my voice fits in all of this.

        • M says:

          While I haven’t watched any ‘Safari in Trump’s America’ shows, and I definitely hear you, many liberals are at a loss for what to do and how to understand and getting outside of their physical city is an important element of this. Your comments have an even more important point, one quite frankly that I’d like to see actioned up more (is that even a word?! ha) – that is, moderate Republicans need to reach these people and take their party back. Liberals having conversations with die-hard Trump supporters is not going to have a significant impact on their views or votes. Moderates on the same team would have a much greater impact.

          • Sharon says:

            I completely agree. Moderate Dems need to talk to Dems. And moderate Republicans need to talk to Republicans. This is what the moderate Republicans have been failing at for a long time now. But Dems don’t need to do the Republican party a favor of talking it back to the middle – as if they could.

            • Belle says:

              We’re not the only ones with an extremism issue right now. I have Dems in Western states telling me some of the same things that Trump voters are saying, but with different solutions. I was at a town hall recently that was mostly Dems and they spent 40 minutes talking about how Muslims are trouble.

              Also, no one is asking you to pull the GOP to the middle or pull Dems to the middle. Most people agree that the majority of the public is somewhere in the middle. And the middle needs to start standing up for moderate ideas instead of staying silent and saying, “well, it’s not really my problem.”

              Extremism is bad for everyone. Allowing people to live in bubble-like echo chambers where they never encounter alternative viewpoints is a problem for everyone. This idea that by staying engaged with people who think differently you’re doing the GOP a favor is absurd. Last I checked, we all live in this country and we all suffer if it continues to pull to farther and farther poles.

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