Why are So Many People Closed Minded??

If you don’t appreciate this article, you are BLIND.
WSJ 4/23/2018 By Annafi Wahed

It was an unseasonably cold night, but I made the trek from Harlem to a meetup in Brooklyn. The organizers promised a night of big ideas and freethinking; the group thread included a quote from David Bohm about the virtue of free dialogue. But as with many such meet-ups in New York, I was quickly disappointed.

Instead of open minds and lively debate, I found dogmatic progressive ideology and groupthink. One attendee told me that I, a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer, am “no better than Roger Ailes” because my company aggregates both liberal and conservative commentaries and thereby is “pushing a right-wing agenda.” Someone else said: “Trump supporters are so stupid . . . they think the tax bill was a good deal because they got back—what, a few thousand a year?”

I don’t claim to have the answers. I am, after all, a card-carrying member of the liberal elite. I went to high school on the Upper East Side, graduated from Bryn Mawr, and once made a six-figure salary at a Big Four accounting firm.

Still, I know that burying our heads in the sand and hoping everyone we disagree with goes away is not an effective solution. TheFlip-Side.io has received lots of positive and constructive feedback from liberals and conservatives. But the most unconstructive criticism we’ve received comes from the left:

• “We need to convince the Trump supporters they’ve been duped.”

• “Trump supporters are not the norm; they are an aberration.”

• “You’re a traitor to the cause.”

• “Some ideas do not need to be engaged with, they need to be ridiculed.”

Burying our heads in the sand and hoping everyone we disagree with goes away is not an effective solution.

I am a bleeding-heart liberal, a patriot and an optimist. I refuse to believe that 63 million of my fellow Americans were “duped,” that exposing people to different viewpoints is betraying “the cause,” or that liberals have all the answers.

For all our smugness, we liberals have little to show. Republicans control the White House, Congress, and 32 state legislatures. Yes, polling data suggests we may be in for a “blue wave” this November, but we’ve gotten overconfident about polling numbers before.

Let’s assume the pollsters are right this time, and Democrats win the majority in 2018. Then what? Follow Mr. Trump’s example and undo everything from the last two years? What happens the next time Republicans regain control? Unless we hatch a plan to stay in power forever, we’re going to need bipartisan support for our policies so they can survive the pendulum swings. How is that possible if the left refuses to engage with viewpoints from the right?

When I launched TheFlipSide, I had no idea it would provoke such strong reactions. I never thought I’d have to explain to people why understanding the other side is vital for a functioning democracy, or that someday I would feel alienated in a roomful of fellow New York liberals.

We were once the party of hope and change, the party of tolerance and inclusivity. From one liberal to another: Can we stop the ideological purity tests and admit that there are more ways than one of solving a problem? Can we please stop being such jerks?

Ms. Wahed is founder of TheFlip-Side.io, a daily digest of liberal and conservative commentary.


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