A Warning to My Fellow Liberals

By Annafi Wahed,
from The Wall Street Journal,

Burying our heads in the sand and hoping everyone we disagree with goes away is not an effective solution.

It was an unseasonably cold night, but I made the trek from Harlem to a meetup in Brooklyn. The organizers promised a night of big ideas and freethinking; the group thread included a quote from David Bohm about the virtue of free dialogue. But as with many such meetups in New York, I was quickly disappointed. Instead of open minds and lively debate, I found dogmatic progressive ideology and groupthink. One attendee told me that I, a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer, am “no better than Roger Ailes” because my company aggregates both liberal and conservative commentaries and thereby is “pushing a right-wing agenda.” Someone else said: “Trump supporters are so stupid . . . they think the tax bill was a good deal because they got back—what, a few thousand a year?” I don’t claim to have the answers. I am, after all, a card-carrying member of the liberal elite.

Still, I know that burying our heads in the sand and hoping everyone we disagree with goes away is not an effective solution.

I am a bleeding-heart liberal, a patriot and an optimist. I refuse to believe that 63 million of my fellow Americans were “duped,” that exposing people to different viewpoints is betraying “the cause,” or that liberals have all the answers. For all our smugness, we liberals have little to show.

I never thought I’d have to explain to people why understanding the other side is vital for a functioning democracy, or that someday I would feel alienated in a roomful of fellow New York liberals. We were once the party of hope and change, the party of tolerance and inclusivity. From one liberal to another: Can we stop the ideological purity tests and admit that there are more ways than one of solving a problem? Can we please stop being such jerks?

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