Bernie: Try to see the disagreement as a position that represents an underlying position or value. Start talking about why
people don’t want to talk about global warming. What are their
hopes and fears about believing in global warming? Then I can
talk about my own concerns and values. Arguing about the
facts seldom gets us very far.
Sharon: Our focus on feelings has led to people being
able to deny things that are clearly factual, such as where
Obama was born. Maybe we have gone too far.
Participant 2: I have so much grief and fear about what’s
happened, just thinking things I’ve worked for all my life, about
women’s rights and civil rights, seem at risk. It’s been very
important to allow time to grieve and to take action from a
calmer place, recognizing the sorrow and fear that I have. My
wife and I have made a monthly commitment to ten organizations we believe in as a way to respond. I am also volunteering
for some organizations I believe in, to train them how to manage internal conflict better so they can be more effective
advocates. One of my spiritual teachers poses the question, “Is
love possible even here?” Finding compassion for the people
who I think are doing terrible things helps me go on.
Participant 3: I want to see what we can do as a field so
that we can be upstanders for the children I teach and their
families. We’re scared, and realistically so. One teacher made
a sign saying I don’t care about your color, religion, gender,
etc.: “If you are my student then you are my child, and you
will always be safe and welcome in my classroom.” We need
to make such statements about acceptance.
Participant 4: I’m not close friends with anyone in the groups
that have fear today. I also experienced similar fears during
the Clinton administration and certainly had fears about what
would happen if Hillary Clinton became president. It’s important
to see that people have different lenses. Although I feel pretty
hopeful about what’s going to happen, it’s important for me to
realize that others have fears too. I need to talk with some of
them and maybe reassure them that they’re not going to be
deported or whatever. I respect ACR’s huge umbrella and am
happy we can all talk from whatever point of view we have.
Bernie: Can you give me some examples of your fears?
Participant 4: As a Christian there are some issues like abortion and same sex issues that go against my personal beliefs,
and I feared that some Supreme Court changes might force me
to send my children to schools that would teach things I don’t
Bernie: I don’t think reassuring people that things are going
to be okay really works. You need to understand their fears.
Sharon: I agree that telling people “don’t be afraid” doesn’t
work. For them to feel safe we need to help take actions that
allay their fears.
Bernie: That’s also how we change, when we get to know
people who we think are very different and find out they’re
much the same.
Participant 5: I was feeling like a voice in the wilderness
until the last participant spoke. This was obviously going to
be a meeting of anti-Trumpers. What happened is we had an
election and somebody won. That’s what happened. Just rec-
ognize it and stop fighting the fact of it. You may have fears.
We all do. It would not be a good thing to project that on other
people, because you don’t know what they feel. All fears are
legitimate. I was a little bit scared that Hillary was going to get
elected. That would be a terrible thing. Why is that? One rea-
son is that we are gradually accumulating a great deal of power
in the Executive. I hope a lot of the powers will come out of the
Executive and go back to the Congress where they belong
Bernie said “climate change deniers” after speaking at some
length about Holocaust deniers, which kinds of put those two
together, and that’s not a fair thing. I believe there’s climate
change. The climate is always changing. What I have a prob-
lem with is anthropogenic climate change, conflating the two
My academic background is management and marketing,
and one thing we overlook is that power is fun. Will Trump give
up some of the power, which he has inherited from Obama?
Well I hope so, and I hope the Congress wrests it away from him
if he doesn’t want to give it up. That’s something we should all
be able to get together on, since we’re all presumably in favor
of the division of powers.
Bernie: I think you make some really important points. We
have to accept the outcome and stop wringing our hands. I
believe there are structural forces that mean no president can
change the balance given the circumstances we live in. But
that’s just my viewpoint.
I believe there’s incontrovertible evidence that there is climate change, that it is man-made, and that it poses a greater
threat to a larger percentage of humanity that the Holocaust
did. That is my fear and I don’t think it can be explained away.
But I kind of interrupted you and I think you should have the
Participant 5: I don’t basically disagree with you. We have to
talk, we even have to argue, but I can’t argue with something
someone believes as a matter of faith, by which I don’t only
mean religion. That’s not going to work. Some people you will
not convert, and name-calling didn’t work for Hillary. You saw
T-shirts calling themselves “Deplorables.”