I am not as concerned as Leonard Pitts Jr. that no activist on the right is reaching out. Divisiveness is their strategy. I do not need to reach conservative columnists. I want to reach out to my conservative neighbors.
MoveOn.org co-founder Joan Blades and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof understand division cannot heal division. If our goal is a resilient America rather than an America made brittle by whom we exclude and demonize, a strategy of exclusion and demonization cannot succeed.
My conservative neighbors cannot be easily stereotyped. We disagree passionately on some things and agree on others. I trust and depend on them for many things, yet we have fallen into the trap of avoiding topics that might cause tension. That has made us vulnerable to the divisiveness which erodes the trust we need to help each other thrive.
We need to relearn how to share our disagreements as well as our tools. The dividers will then be less successful in setting us against each other. This work will be slow, messy and grass roots. If it takes hold and conservative columnists and activists cannot successfully sow division, they will either have to reach out or lose their influence.
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