My Old Article Is Going Viral
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My Old Article Is Going Viral

And it doesn't matter.

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My Old Article Is Going Viral

I've refreshed my phone the last week or so, in the wake of Donald Trump's impeachment hearings and inquiry, to see that an old article of mine on Medium has gone viral. I have refreshed my phone to scathing comments that completely misunderstood the satirical nature of the article, as well as thoughtful feedback agreeing or disagreeing.

That article, titled "How To Make Trump Supporters Change Their Minds," possibly went viral by complete accident, or possibly by the timely nature of Donald Trump's impeachment. I have been too busy at work of late to respond to most comments, and I'm not going to deny that glad that the old article is getting attention.

At the time, I wrote the article as a reaction to the ridiculous discourse among some of my liberal peers in the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 election. I am a staunch liberal. I believe every person has a right to health care and as an inner-city educator in a school district that is underresourced, I believe all politicians, Democrat and Republican, have left underprivileged communities and schools behind. I believe in tighter gun laws, a higher minimum wage, reigning in big banks, and the elimination of private prisons.

Yet I grew increasingly frustrated at liberal methods of persuasion that sought to demonize, insult, and shame Trump supporters. Within a highly liberal university environment, I found myself constantly at odds of PC, woke conversations that called Trump supporters Nazis, hicks, rednecks, and casually tossed around the word "racist" like it was a term exclusive to Republicans and people who voted for Trump.

I have said this before and I will say this again: I don't believe I'm any less racist than the average Trump supporter. Just because my prejudices are implicit does not mean that they are less dangerous. Just because I teach in an inner-city environment, where I have to be self-aware and racially conscious, doesn't mean that that implicit and structural racism isn't still a problem.

And so, in a frustration at shouting matches online and echo chambers where I felt that my impulse to say "chill out" and urge my liberal friends to treat Trump supporters like human beings would be stifled, I wrote a satirical piece documenting all the ineffective and regressive liberal persuasion techniques that weren't going to make Trump supporters change their minds.

"First, make sure to let Trump supporters know how stupid they are," I wrote.

So the article was never meant to be taken seriously. But it was meant to highlight those liberal persuasion techniques that are not civil and devolve into complete self-righteousness. I understand my fellow liberals who react this way because Trump supporters or voters themselves have not been civil themselves, but you control how you act and respond, not anyone else.

You have a choice over your civility and decorum. Michelle Obama herself said that "when they go low, we go high." Our choice in response is a common talk I have to give to my middle schoolers with poor impulse control, who hit each other because "she hit me first" and often whose choices only escalate whatever conflict is going on.

And so many of us are not middle schoolers. Perhaps social media and the Internet allow us to act like it, but it's still our choice to

It has been three years, yet I can't deny but to feel some disappointment that the article is still relevant. If I told you that an article I wrote three years ago would still hit home so hard for so many people now shows that we have not come far in our political discourse and divisiveness. One commenter, Boyce Brown, even made note of the fact that "this was written in 2017. Funny how nothing has changed. It has only gotten worse." It has been even more disappointing that some people have taken the article seriously, not as an indictment on them as individuals, but as a sign that people actually do speak and think of Trump supporters in the tone I wrote with.

I'm currently watching CNN news coverage of Donald Trump being impeached for two articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Yes, CNN is one of my primary news outlets. As is the New York Times, two news outlets Trump has demonized. I'm watching high-profile figures, some I recognize, some I don't, go back and forth in the same divisiveness I saw in 2016 and 2017.

And yes, it's a sign that not much has changed. It's a sign that the news and media have been manipulated in some sort of reality TV horror show like an episode of "Black Mirror", and you know who that helps the most? Do you know who is the topic and center off these conversations? Trump. And that's exactly how Donald Trump intends it, even when he recently made a derogatory joke about Rep. Debbie Dingall's late husband.

The solution to me not going crazy was simply not paying as much attention as I used to. I was occupied with a variety of consuming events in my personal life that made me realize that day-to-day interactions were far more important than whatever Trump just tweeted.

Perhaps my far-left views do not resonate with Medium's center-left, libertarian bend. I have accepted that, but what I cannot live with is that calling someone an idiot, deplorable, and insulting them is an effective way to make them change their minds. Forgetting that someone is a human being, with friends and family, is no way to talk to someone.

I said that then. And I stand by it now. The article was a plea for decency and decorum. Having a viral article inherently means that you're going to be misunderstood. Having a viral article means that people are going to have harsh things to say.

And you're going to have to live with that, because the pros outweigh the cons, because at least people are talking about the topic you want them talking about.

One commenter, Elaine Campbell, said that I didn't focus on a solution in the piece, which is a valid complaint. I would say that focusing on our local, day-to-day lives, interacting and having conversations there is important. Follow what's going on there, in your community, and be part of the solution there rather than pointing out all the problems.

I came to Baltimore because I wanted to help an education system that has often been maligned as mismanaged and underfunded. I came to a city that has averaged over 300 murders the past three years, and the past day saw 10 people shot and three people killed.

And while I see the problems that seem insurmountable, I can live with myself at the end of the day knowing I did everything I can to do something about it. I give to Baltimore's homeless people and squeegee kids, and spend most of my days planning, grading, and figuring out how to best teach and reach my students. On Sundays, my church puts a heavy emphasis on the community, because a church is supposed to exist within a community and be the city on the hill.

What being a part of the solution in our communities looks like is different for each and every one of us. But do you know who doesn't factor into those conversations? People like Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and all the conversations on mainstream media outlets.

They don't know what goes on in our community, in our schools. To them, the problems of Baltimore are invisible until Donald Trump decides to pay attention on Twitter due to political beef with the late Elijah Cummings.

To me, our national politicians are distant and out of touch with what's going on in this city. Heck, even local politicians seem to be more concerned with lining their pockets. Politicians aren't coming to save us: we have to learn to survive as a community, by ourselves.

So an article I wrote three years ago is going viral, but that doesn't matter, because the biggest problems in my life, in my city's life, are within.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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