As each day brings new actions, it becomes increasingly hard not to have an “us” vs. “them” perspective. One of my friends has already taken me to task in using the pronoun “they” when talking about people with different points of view. I’m not sure how to replace the pronoun, but I do agree that we need conversations in addition to confrontations. Facebook friends are being pared down as people unfriend previous acquaintances, and instead of talking to each other, people are not talking at all. As questions arise on the TV and in living rooms, here are some suggestions of what to say when talking to someone with a differing point of view.
A Side: Why didn’t all those marchers vote? [Kellyanne Conway actually said this]
The Other Side: They did. Remember Hillary won the popular vote and you were witnessing the 3 million majority coming out.
A Side: People should give the president a chance. You’re a bunch of sore losers.
The Other Side: The Women’s March and future demonstrations are to remind the administration that they don’t have a mandate. More importantly, it sends a message to Congress that constituents from Atlanta to Seattle are not happy with the agenda or tone set by the president. We the people expect our elected local representatives to put conscience and responsibility over party. We expect our duly elected representatives to represent us and they frequently need visual cues to remember how focused we want them to be.
A Side: You women were all over the map. There didn’t seem to be one theme.
The Other Side: The theme is that women, regardless of age or background, have similar concerns regarding family, economics, education, privacy, health care, and an ability to support themselves and their families. A nation rises in relation to its women. We deserve equal pay for equal work; access to affordable, quality health care; and an ability to be represented in Congress and Boardrooms around the country. We are a constituency with more than one issue and can hold two concepts at one time. We believe both in clean air and more jobs. We believe both in health care for our families, and better education for all families.
A Side: It was a march of privilege with Hollywood liberal stars trying to upstage the president. They don’t represent real people.
The Other Side: The march in DC as well as the sister marches were started by ordinary women who decided to take to the streets. Many rallies, such as the one in Philadelphia, had no stars. If you were there you saw men, women and children from all walks of life. The only thing they seemed to have in common was wearing comfortable shoes to walk the entire march route. Yes, some Hollywood stars joined the rallies, particularly NY and DC, AFTER the marches were started, but make no mistake about it — they were started by ordinary women who couldn’t sit home and be quiet anymore.
A Side: No one cares about Trump’s taxes except the media. (yes, Ms. Kellyanne said this one, too)
The Other Side: Not true. I care and so do many of my friends. In fact, there’s another demonstration starting on April 15, tax day, specifically to draw attention to the fact that many ordinary, everyday Americans care about his taxes. Check out all the tweets by regular Joes and Janes at the end of the Huffpost article. Why don’t you care?
A Side: The media lies. It inflated the amount of people who were participating.
The Other Side: If you were there, you saw the energy and crowd size. You knew it was historic while it was happening. This was bigger and something different from anything we’ve seen before. Never before were so many out in such force all on the same day in the same way. Rallies were in official red states from Texas, Georgia and Florida, to blue states like New York and Washington, as well as purple states such Pennsylvania. Rallies were held around the world, exactly at a time we might have expected the rest of the world to turn its back on us as we’re now threatening to do to them. Instead, they stood with us. Ask any person who was there and the numbers were under-reported rather than over reported. Women returning from DC and sister rallies were energized and motivated more than ever. A new generation of activism has begun. There has never been anything like it before including the Civil Rights and Vietnam war marches. In one day, millions around the world donned pink and hit the streets. Congress, the President and local politicians would do well to pay attention to the beginning of a long war ahead.
A Side: It was a one day, one hit wonder. Now it’s over and Trump can get back to business.
The Other Side: Don’t kid yourself about the anger of the American public, or their determination to have democratic government that works to represent them. Women are in it for the long haul. We know what it’s like to stay diligent, nurse sick family members back to health, and work two jobs to keep a family afloat. Now our country has a virus, and if it takes working at night on civics while working during the day to pay the rent and food bills, women have the fortitude to put in the long hours and stay the course. Don’t doubt them.
Have other questions or points that your mad Uncle makes at the dinner table and want help with a response? Put it in a comment below and we’ll work on it. Debate prep takes time and courage, but it’s not OK to let uninformed discussions or false facts prevail without introducing reality checks. The key is to stay calm, positive, and use facts to your advantage. The point is to keep the conversation going and get everyone’s brain cells recharging. As one sign said at the January Women’s March: Make America Think Again.