I just had a conversation with someone who said that President-elect Trump’s intended cabinet appointments so far indicate that he is “reaching out to the opposition”. Initially, I though that was a particularly funny comment, and congratulated them for their sarcastic humour.
Except they weren’t making a joke. They apparently actually believed that. Which left me speechless.
They then went on to explain how they were reasonable, and thoughtful, and in way of example of their reasonableness, gave me a short list of their horrific beliefs. They concluded with, “We all want the same things, just have differing opinions as to how to get there.”
I replied, “I strongly suspect that you and I do not want the same things.”
“What do you want?” they asked.
What do I want? That’s a good question. I want zero-calorie, 80-proof rum. I want a reliable 200 Mbps Internet connection that costs less than $100 per month. I want every movie and TV show ever made to be available on, at most, two or three Roku channels, and for them never to be removed. I want a house where I can look out my window and see nothing but trees, and live in peace with my wife and my cat. But that’s small stuff. When it comes to the world outside my window, what I want is less easy to define, so it took me a few minutes to distill it down. So this is what I said:
I want a world where people who are decent and kind can live their lives in peace without fear of being deported, or having their basic civil rights denied because they love the wrong person, or being hooked up to electrodes to shock them “straight”, or being put into internment camps because they picked the wrong invisible friend, or being harassed and driven away because they have the wrong ancestors.
They replied that they considered themselves a realist, and they considered me an idealist.
I replied, “I consider myself someone who doesn’t want their friends treated like sub-humans by people like you.”
Which was probably not the most constructive thing to say. So it goes.