Readers Respond

Letter to the Editor:
I learned so much by reading Tikkun’s analysis of the left’s condescending attitude towards working class and poor Americans.

I have to admit that I ,who had parents that were anti Vietnam war activists, environmental activists, feminist activists,etc, recognize that they had a feeling of being on a higher plane, just as you put it. Even though I have been a very low income earner, I’ve managed to enjoy rural living and growing my own healthy food, I have been subjected to the overt disapproval, and big egos, from wealthy back-to-the-Landers!!!!!
So I know how it feels to have scorn heaped on me by others on the left, for not being “more successful” by many people,of the privilege class. So I find myself understanding how the more uneducated white folk feel about the “higher plane” left, as you state in your writing, having been victim of the privileged left myself, but since I had parents on the educated left, I’ve accepted some of their way of seeing things, and as a result cannot accept the working class or poor voting for the right.
Even though I understand why people vote for the right,I have little luck bridging the culture gap or trying to steer friends who vote for the Right towards the left candidates . .. It is an unfortunate situation left, right!
Thanks for your work and insight, JK (name withheld at author’s request)

Editor’s response:
In our view, a section of the Right (those who are not deeply racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic and/or anti-Semtiic) can be moved to identify with the liberal and progressive forces (many did in 2008 when they voted for Obama, and others did in the presidential primaries when they voted for Bernie Sandsers but then moved to the Right and supported Trump). However that won’t likely happen until the Left itself changes, overcomes its shaming and blaming of all men and all whites as “privileged” (true for some, not true for many others), stops assuming that the only possible reason people have not yet voted for the liberal or progressive forces is that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. (some are, but others on the Right are voting for the Right out of outrage at the Left’s demeaning of those not yet with us), rejects the deep religio-phobia that permeates much (not all) of the liberal and progressive world, and apologizes publicly and repeatedly for these sins (including publicly disassociating from Hillary Clinton’s infamous dismissal of Trump voters as “a basket of deplorables”). So this is a 2-step strategy: 1. change the culture of the Left in the ways just mentioned, and then 2. reach out to the section of people who didn’t vote at all in 2016 or did vote for Trump out of distaste for what they experience when they connect with liberal or progressive activists and movements but who are already seeing the destructive and hateful elements of Trumps program can also have very negative consequences for their own lives and the lives of their children or grandchildren. The good news is that Tikkun’s outreach arm The Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP) has created a training program for activists in the Trump years that is giving people the skills necessary to engage in this process–details at www.spiritualprogressives.org/training

 
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