My dialogue with a Trump supporter who was at the capitol

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Alice Maher

Mar 22, 2021, 9:14:57 PM3/22/21
Hi all,

Those of you who know me know that I've been talking about the need to talk across ideological divides for, like, forever. I wrote a book about it, and I've developed multiple projects with that goal in mind.

Yesterday, I put my behavior where my mouth is.

The link below will take you to a youtube dialogue that I had with a libertarian Christian Trump supporter. He was at the capitol on April 6 (as a journalist; didn't go in).  He has a youtube channel, The Truth Is Viral, with a large number of listeners.

Bob and I met when a mutual friend introduced us on Facebook. When my friends realized that he had been at the capitol, they reported him to Facebook and the FBI. he disappeared for 30 days, then reappeared, pleased that I hadn't unfriended him. We started to talk, and he discovered that I've been hosting Dialogue With Dignity projects. He and I decided to do one together.

If you choose to watch it, you can join a discussion between Bobby, me, and our audience, on the Dialogue With Dignity page on Facebook. Ask to join and we'll let you in.

If you'd rather not do that, you can discuss it here. I'm looking forward to hearing your reactions - to the idea and/or the dialogue.


Brian D'Agostino

Mar 22, 2021, 9:39:31 PM3/22/21

We cannot understand the psychology of people who stormed the capitol (which doesn't entirely apply to this person if he attended the rally but didn't breach the building) without recognizing at the outset that they believe the election was stolen.  If someone believes that, it is not irrational to engage in civil disobedience, and to even destroy property, which I don't consider "violence," a term I reserve for the use or threat of force against persons.

The question for psychohistorians, in my opinion, is why some people gravitate to media outlets (such as Fox, OAN and Newsmax) which lie systematically, while others gravitate to media outlets that adhere to traditional standards of journalism.  If someone thinks that CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times have a liberal bias, they can read the Wall Street Journal or US News and World Report, which have a conservative bias but still adhere to standards of journalistic integrity.  When someone trusts media outlets that purvey right wing content with no respect whatsoever for journalistic integrity (and Fox, OAN and Newsmax certainly belong in this category), there is something wrong with the person's choices that needs to be understood psychohistorically.

This is not to minimize the value of what Alice is doing.  It is just to say that we cannot abandon the notion of shared facts, even when we don't like some of the facts, or we end up engaged in solipsism and nihilism.  Alice, maybe you would agree me on this point, but if not, so be it.


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Alice Maher

Mar 23, 2021, 5:11:19 AM3/23/21
Brian, I agree, but it's beside the point that I'm trying to make. Talking AT, ABOUT and AGAINST these people, using our own partially accurate and partially inaccurate assumptions, will fuel flames. Talking TO them, I believe, is essential.

I hope you watch the video and engage in dialogue with both of us. He's heard it all and he's remarkably open. My first question directly asks if he is a racist and white supremacist, or if there is a different way for us to understand his perspective."

Brian D'Agostino

Mar 23, 2021, 7:09:08 AM3/23/21
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My own time is all accounted for, sorry Alice.  But I think you're doing something innovative, and maybe it will be the right use of time for others on this list to join you and go deeper.

Paul Elovitz

Mar 23, 2021, 8:52:07 AM3/23/21
to Cliospsyche Google listserv
Thanks for doing this Alice.
Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, Historian, Research Psychoanalyst, Professor, Director of the Psychohistory Forum, and Editor, Clio's Psyche
Author of The Making of Psychohistory: Origins, Controversies, and Pioneering Contributors (Routledge Publisher) 

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