Like many Americans, I was shocked when Donald Trump clinched the presidency, making it clear that our country is not as united as I once thought. In the days following the election, I heard the same sentiment repeated: both sides need to connect and try to understand each other. I’m eager to heal the divide in our country by putting our differences aside and hearing the other side out—as long as I get to do all the talking.
I’ll admit I’ve existed in an echo chamber, blind to the experiences and concerns of millions of Americans. As a city-dwelling woman, I don’t always understand the struggles of Middle America. How could they not support my gay friends’ right to get married? How could they be afraid of my Muslim friends who are just like any other American? I never realized so many people like that lived in my country. That’s why I want to hear what those who voted for Trump are thinking, but only if they hear me out first and eventually recognize that I’m right.
That’s what America is all about, after all: coming together.
We all know it’s unfair to generalize voters on either side, and need to listen to their specific concerns. Even if those views can be problematic, there are valid reasons why Trump voters wanted an anti-establishment candidate. That’s why I want to hear from those people, and why I will talk at them for 45 straight minutes about why they were wrong and then leave in a huff without them actually saying anything.
Admit it: We all need to step out of our echo chambers and then all meet inside my specific echo chamber.
I can no longer deny that our country has deep problems and ignoring them won’t fix them. We need to open our minds and hearts to hear from people who are different from us and try to understand what they need. I, for one, am totally down to do that—so long as I don’t have to listen to your side because it’s wrong and I’m right.