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Listener Commentary: Ron Forthofer

Posted: April 21, 2016 at 3:06 pm by , in Featured, Morning Magazine

During the election season, there are many disagreements and heated political arguments. I am certainly no expert on how best to handle these situations, and I have had numerous failures trying to discuss political issues with family and friends who are intelligent and decent people.

I have learned a little from examining myself and considering what approach has the best chance of reaching me. When people begin by talking down to me, as if I am ignorant and clearly don’t understand the issue, I am put off by what I perceive to be arrogance on their part. I am more open when people try to explain why they have their positions instead of aggressively trying to convince me that I’m wrong. In addition, I want my voice to be heard. This means I must also really listen to what the other person is saying. In short, I want to be shown respect and I think that is something we all want. In order to deserve respect, I must treat others with respect — the golden rule.

This means I shouldn’t make snide remarks nor should I say that people who disagree with me are stupid or crazy. I must realize I am often wrong, that I don’t understand everything. For example, I think saying that people who vote for the other side are voting against their best interests is questionable. It seems to me to be suggesting that I think I know what is best for them. However, I don’t know how others prioritize their values. They may honestly think their position will lead to a better outcome.

I have often heard people insulting the intelligence and/or culture of people in other areas of the country. Stereotyping simply displays our prejudices.

In this presidential campaign, I am greatly concerned about the appeals to racism and Islamophobia. I think we must call out racism and discrimination whenever and wherever they appear. I applaud ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other groups that have strongly confronted discrimination.

Finally, it is also important to admit that many of Trump’s supporters are not racists. Some support Trump because they realize that mainstream politicians have implemented policies that have caused them to lose their position in the middle class. Trump is one of the few Republican candidates who opposes the horrific trade policies that have caused these people so much harm.