Taking the bait

For the last few weeks we have lived with a fervent Trump supporter under our roof. I didn’t know this until I called Trump a clown; that’s when all the buttons got pushed– first his, then mine, when he called Hillary a criminal.

Before I realized what happened my reptilian brain had taken the bait and we were off to an awful confrontation that left me shaken for at least 24 hours.  I don’t think I can do door-to-door canvassing for Hillary because I learned how easily I take the bait and how dumb my reaction was of trying to reason with a Trump supporter.

I reacted with too much vehemence, just like my now adversary (even though he is a member of Axel’s family). As a result I was no better in my defense of Hillary than he of Trump. We reacted kind of similar, in a direct confrontational way, quoting bogus, cherry picked or fantasy statistics and pushing forth statements that neither one of us could back up right there and then in a convincing way.  It was a ‘yes/no’ and ‘either/or’ kind of  discussion (the word discussion is related to percussion as our Dialogue colleaugues will remind us – hard and unyielding).  Each one of us quoted sources that the other considers without merit (The New York Post against The New York Times), an exercise in futility.

Later Axel had me read the New Yorker article and I recognized pretty much all the words, ‘facts’, names that my trump supporting cousin had used. I should have read that article first, be prepared for the Trump lingo and assertions.

Later, during my commute, a great time for mulling things over, I realized that I had let myself go and did not practice the Aikido turns that I learned years ago and still preach (and sometimes demonstrate) in my classes. Theory is so much easier than the real world. Our word (and heart) fencing over Trump versus Hillary was a sobering experience. It reminded me how little the the current divisiveness in American politics has to do with reason.  Right now reason doesn’t seem to have any role in this election – although I hope at some point it will.

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