Where I Direct My Empathy–And Where You Should Too
A reader writes:
This article gives me a lot of empathy for people, especially older people who have been sucked into the Trump cult, I’m sure this is something you’ve thought about, so don’t take this as a critique, but my sense is, you are too hard on people that are in this lie, and in my experience, you catch more flies with honey, than vinegar, but candidly, I’m not 100% sure about that, I was with two close friends on Saturday night, who still believe Trump was cheated, and they won’t listen to well thought out reason, even though I’m delivering it in a measured tone, so I’m not even sure anymore myself, its frustrating, anyway, this is a very good piece on this very topic
My approach to the Cult is Matthew 7:6. I am not trying to catch any flies. Beelzebub is the Lord of the Flies. Nor do I buy the idea that the Cult is primarily poor or disadvantaged. The data I keep seeing is that these are primarily white and middle-class and racist. Stupid and ignorant, yes. But made so by their wilful refusal of truth, not by being disadvantaged.
I think it is a fundamental mistake to place these people at the center while relegating their victims to the fringe, which tends to be the approach of conservatives horrified by MAGA. The tendency is to treat them as straying sheep who must be saved by reasoning together. I think our duty lies with their victims: the poor, the weak, the brown, the COVID victims, the people they trampled in the Insurrection and whose policies continue to trample. It is the least of these, not the people who rob, harm, and kill them, that Jesus puts in the center. With those who have willfully rejected the good of the intellect and who hug spite to their breast, Jesus urges us in Matthew 7:6 not to beat our heads against a wall. That doesn’t mean God forsakes them. It means that God, not us, is their Savior and we should use our energies doing some good for their victims, not waste it on them. He will see to changing their minds and hearts. So I write to encourage, nerve, and educate their victims so they can see how the lies, deception, trickery, manipulation, and abuse works and find the courage and vocabulary to call it out, expose it, fight it, and defeat it.