Connection-speech offers a ray of hope in the dark storm cloud that is internet vitriol, and vitriol in general. Because the fact is, we all say we don’t like this crap.
By Sally Kohn
It may seem surprising for a liberal commentator like myself, but from 2010 to 2013, I worked in the most prominent den of American conservatism: Fox News. During my time at the network I came to realize how condescending I’d been in my views about not only the people who worked at Fox News but the people watching at home. And condescension is just a snooty form of prejudice; we are only condescending to those we feel are inherently beneath us. The more I got out of my own liberal bubble, the more I met other conservatives who were neither stupid nor hateful — or at least no more deliberately hateful than I was. Those experiences really challenged my biases and assumptions. I’m not saying that Sean Hannity is the nicest person on the planet; his political views are certainly not anywhere near what I would reasonably call nice. What I am saying is that I realized that the person I’d thought of as entirely cruel, as the caricature of a horrific right-wing monster, is actually caring and kind, and a good dad and a supportive friend. Including a supportive friend to me.
Either way, the experience of getting to know and like many conservatives and at the same time receiving more and more hate mail from conservatives presented me with a choice. From here on out, was I going to believe that most conservatives were like the ones I’d worked with at Fox News, or was I going to assume that most conservatives were like the ones sending me hateful messages online? Which was the exception, and which was the rule? Honestly, I probably could have made a case either way. This was a decision that tested my core principles. I could either choose to hate most conservatives or not. I found my answer in my aunt Lucy. …