Having difficult conversations with the “other side”

I’m posting this video interview with Karlyn Borysenko on “American Thought Leaders”  as a great follow-up to my last post, “Moving Away from Cancel Culture to Connection.” This is part of a series of posts I’m doing on how we might connect and have positive communication with people who oppose our views.

What makes Karlyn Borysenko so interesting and relevant is that she’s an organizational psychologist and longtime liberal Democrat who started exploring her political options after witnessing cancel culture firsthand and eventually chose to support Trump after he signed an executive order tackling Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Borysenko said that what got her attention was Trump’s policies. One in particular was when he banned CRT in the federal government. She said this was important to her because CRT had taken over her world of corporate training. She added that most people don’t understand the fundamentally dangerous ideology of Critical Race Theory—a theory that teaches that people are racist based on their skin color—and how damaging it is to the corporate environment wherever it’s put into practice.

Karlyn shares some of her thoughts from her first experience with people on the political right:

“We have to stop seeing each other as enemies. We have to start taking the time to listen to each other, to try to really understand people’s perspective, and to really connect on that human level. And, of course, in the midst of the contentious election that was 2020, there just wasn’t a lot of that going on, and I was making a proactive effort to try to break outside of this liberal echo chamber I had created for myself, to listen to people I really thought I would disagree with, and I ended up finding that I didn’t have as much disagreement with people on the right as I initially thought.”

Karlyn Borysenko speaks at the #WalkAway Rescue America rally in Philadelphia (Utreon)

From this foray, Borysenko went from someone who hated Donald Trump and thought he was the worst person ever, to being one of the people out there actively supporting his reelection efforts! How did this dramatic turnaround happen?  Borysenko found that people on the populist right have more in common with the people on the populist left than they do with Republicans in congress, and vice versa.

In fact, I would agree with Dennis Prager when he said we need to stop conflating liberals with the radical left, or conservatives with the radical right. Their values and ideology are not the same. For instance, Antifa and QAnon are just the flip-sides of the same radical and hateful coin. Most people you and I will talk to are neither, which means we have at least that in common. I will talk more about that next time.

Karlyn makes some good points to help us find common ground with people who may oppose us. Some of them are surprising. Here are a few examples:

  • It’s not about winning the argument but about sincerely wanting to understand the other person’s point of view and developing trust so that they will listen to yours.
  • What we have in common is not about political affiliation but what’s best for everyday Americans, instead of the crony career politicians in Washington or the globalist corporate elites who always put their own interests ahead of the American people.
  • There’s probably as many average everyday liberals who feel like forgotten Americans as there are conservatives who feel this way.
  • Understand that there’s a difference between the average liberal you will talk to and those who embrace the Neo-Marxist ideology of the radical left. Even many of those who do think they embrace socialism don’t even really understand what it is.
  • The average people you will talk to, like the Black Lives Matter supporters who protested all summer, probably aren’t like the avowed Marxist leaders of the BLM organization, or even understand what that is, and they don’t like the violence they see from the radical left like Antifa either.
  • You don’t have to get bogged down with litigating all the wrongs of the past election, trying to correct all the lies told by mainstream media, politicians, and pundits, just point out all the lies and hypocrisy going on right now.
  • Ignore the mainstream media altogether and don’t buy into their stereotypes. They have a vested interest in keeping us divided, angry, and fearful.
  • Be informed but move away from polarizing rhetoric and be determined that you are going to listen to people you may disagree with politically.

Jesus warned us against the political and religious spirits because they both separate us—from each other and from God, respectively (see my post titled, “Religion, Politics, and Scapegoating.”)

Karlyn Borysenko makes a compelling argument that I think can help us break out of our own confirmation-bias algorithms and reach out beyond our echo chambers to the “other side,” not just with political issues but anything we find ourselves at odds with the person we’re trying to talk to.

One thing we need to stop doing as followers of Christ is making everything about “us vs. them,” or worse, the “enemy,” and start treating people with grace, seeing them as someone Christ dearly loves and values. We don’t have to agree with their views in order to do this, and some may just get won over to ours. Just ask Karlyn Borysenko!

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Having difficult conversations with the “other side”

  1. Steve Sawyer says:

    You hit some nails on the head here brother. Did you read my post” He never took her to church?” I’ll send you the link if you want to read it

  2. Ahhh, now there’s a breath of fresh air! Well put, Mel!

    I like it all but I think this is the part spoke to me the most, “Jesus warned us against the political and religious spirits because they both separate us—from each other and from God.” That really is my biggest challenge, just slamming into those two spirits constantly here in my area. It really isn’t so much about “left,” or “right” it’s about people who just want to do what they want to do and reason, logic, or even intelligence be darned. To be honest, it’s the “good Christian spirit” that is often the worst, as in we want to feed people because caring for the needy makes us feel so good! So intentionally or not, we tend to just create more needy people so we can have an endless supply of feeling good about ourselves and all our alleged compassion. I want to help to set the captives free, to give them so much more than just a sandwich! In order to do that you have to invite people to church, invite them into the gospel, get rid of the distance between you and them. Many of us like serving others, in part because it helps to keep them in their place, and us feeling morally superior.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “Many of us like serving others, in part because it helps to keep them in their place, and us feeling morally superior.”

      Boy, ain’t that the truth! Some serve out of guilt, but it also makes us feel morally superior, as you said, which makes this kind of “social gospel” not much different than secular social work. I want to help you as long as I can maintain my power over you so you need me forever. Describes our welfare system to a tie!

  3. Pingback: Conservatives and Liberals Unite! | In My Father's House

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.