Open letter to Daily Kos: No name calling; we may need your ‘morons’

Gail Sparks, a panelist chosen from the audience when Chris Hayes of All In on MSNBC and Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Trumpland Dec. 12, is a factory worker who had to drop out of college and blames immigrants for her low pay. She voted for Trump, but she’s not a moron. Bernie showed how, with patience, respect and careful listening, she and other Trump supporters could be guided to see they stand with Bernie on common ground – and even have grounds for collaboration.

Dear Kos,

I’ve read your posts frequently over the years, and even sent a donation. Thanks for all your good work. I’ve felt a level of smugness creep in, however, which especially reflects in your recent headline, “Morons who voted for Republicans now worry they will take away their health care—as promised.” You even name call a woman who voted Republican a “moron.” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment falls in this same category. It’s this kind of arrogance that contributed to Trump’s Electoral College selection in the first place.

Many people who voted for Trump are not hard core racists or neo-nazis. They’ve been hurt by years of job loss, downward mobility, and feeling left out, and they’re pissed off. Trump, the billionaire from Queens, directed his campaign towards them, appealing to racism and nativism, while Clinton ran as the establishment, with support from everyone from the Bushes to Beyonce. Look who won.

Many people who voted for Trump are not hard core racists or neo-nazis. They’ve been hurt by years of job loss, downward mobility, and feeling left out, and they’re pissed off.

Given the level of public education and media indoctrination, I’m not surprised that many people who voted for Trump out of anger, or as the “lesser of evils,” might not fully understand what they voted for. Isn’t it our job to point out the contradictions, instead of calling them names? If we’re going to save medicare, we may very well need your “morons,” because they are going to have to advocate with their Republican congresspeople to save it. It’s in their interest to do so, but unless some Republicans can be moved against making Medicare a voucher system, we’re in big trouble.

Given the level of public education and media indoctrination, I’m not surprised that many people who voted for Trump out of anger, or as the “lesser of evils,” might not fully understand what they voted for. Isn’t it our job to point out the contradictions, instead of calling them names?

Now is what we might call a “teaching moment.” Instead of just letting the Republicans make the shitty healthcare we have now even worse, we can demand something better. We can even appeal to Trump voters to join in. Most of them certainly don’t want to lose Medicare and Medicaid. They’ve been bamboozled, and some humility in approaching them might help them listen to what we have to say. Please. Stop the name calling, treat people with respect, and seek common ground. An apology might be a good way to start a dialogue.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie Hinton

Here are the Daily Kos “Rules of the Road” from their website:

“DO NOT …

“3) Insult the character, intelligence, or background of people with whom you are arguing. You want to win an argument? Then don’t engage in ad-hominem attacks.

“4) Use racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, ageist, able-ist language — or hate speech, generally. It is not acceptable at this site. We respect everyone.

“5) Make personal attacks or threats. This includes, but is not limited to: name calling, harassment or bullying toward any other site user. Also don’t follow users you don’t like from story to story to harass them.”

Charlie Hinton is a Bay Area-based activist, commentator, actor and playwright who performs the solo show “Solitary Man: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison.” He is a member of Haiti Action Committee and the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Committee to End Sleep Deprivation, and he works with DeWayne Ewing’s family to free DeWayne, an innocent man, from prison. You can reach him at ch.lifewish@gmail.com.