Reaction

Why Are We So Lonely?

If you try to describe the plot of Twelve Angry Men—all the action takes place in one room as a jury deliberates on a murder trial—it sounds mind-numbingly boring. I promise it’s not.

Somehow, I’d never gotten around to seeing the classic film until this weekend. After a slow start, the tension in the room and the unfolding clues grab your attention, and I found myself drawn in particular to Juror 9, the old man.

In my favorite part of the movie, the jurors are arguing about an apparent contradiction in the testimony of one of the witnesses. When asked what the witness would stand to gain by lying, Juror 9 says quietly, “Attention, maybe.”

And so he goes on:

“It’s just that I looked at him for a very long time. The seam of his jacket was split under the arm. Did you notice that? He was a very old man with a torn jacket, and he carried two canes. I think I know him better than anyone here. This is a quiet, frightened, insignificant man who has been nothing all his life, who has never had recognition—his name in the newspapers. Nobody knows him after seventy-five years. That’s a very sad thing. A man like this needs to be recognized. To be questioned, and listened to, and quoted just once. This is very important.”

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

And I thought: people shouldn’t feel this way anymore—but we still do.

Technology gives us a way to be recognized, questioned, listened to, and quoted. Anyone can post on Facebook, react publically to current events, upload a YouTube video, give unsolicited advice to the world, or write on a blog. (more…)

Some Thoughts Before You Post Strong Opinions

I’m not writing this to the trolls, who auto-share memes and fake news from their favorite sarcastic voices or share opinions in real life and on social media out of hatred or mean-spiritedness.

This post is for the ones trying to fend off the people I described above. For the ones who have (often painful) personal experience with a question everyone is discussing in the abstract. For the ones who are angry for a good reason about something that’s happening in the world and with those who are approaching that issue in a way they think is wrong.

To you, I say: be careful.

Please.

Here’s why. Over the past year, I’ve seen many statements, especially on Facebook, that contain lines like “if you have the audacity/stupidity/cruelty to believe [this usually-overgeneralized-and-extreme-version of an argument], then you don’t get to join the conversation.” Sometimes in those actual words or words like it.

“You don’t have the right to speak if you think…”

“I don’t want to hear anyone say….”

“Don’t you dare respond that….”

“You can just go ahead and unfriend me if you’re going to protest that….”

And the list goes on.

I think I know where this is coming from, because I’ve felt it too. We set up these challenges, not because we’re afraid of being proved wrong, but because we’re tired of interacting with views that offend us. We’re emotionally exhausted by the fact that anyone on Facebook can take a few seconds to dash off something racist or sexist or just plain stupid, that they are leeching off our platform to get attention their misguided view doesn’t deserve.

But we keep using social media because we still want to be heard. We want affirmation of what we believe. We want to be the loudest voice, and we want all of the comments to help others understand the truth or just tell us that we described the truth in a powerful way.

This isn’t about hate speech vs. free speech in public dialogue, just about how we conduct personal conversations and debates, especially when we announce which perspectives are acceptable and unacceptable on a particular issue. I can believe, sometimes, that it’s a well-meant desire, that we hope that this time, maybe, we can warn away the people who type before thinking or who dispense clichés or who just want to start a fight.

But there are consequences to silencing voices that disagree with us.* I’ve been thinking about them lately, and here are a few I see:

One: We start hearing only those like us.

By letting those who are different know they aren’t welcome, we pick teams and create our own ideological echo chambers. Among other things, this slowly chips away at our ability to feel empathy—to understand why people feel the way they do, even if we don’t agree. When we lose the ability to listen, even to the outrageously misinformed, we lose a lot of our humanity with that.

Two: We miss the chance to become smarter and stronger.

How are you going to get better at well-reasoned arguments if you’re only posting unchallenged monologues? Let me bring in my 19th century frenemy John Stuart Mill describing why he considered it “evil” to silence other views: “If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

Couldn’t our culture use a clearer perception of the truth? I know I sure could, and I don’t think it can happen if we chase away everyone whose opinions differ from ours.

Three: It forces us to make calls on who’s “in” and who’s “out.”

Klan members and Nazis might seem like easy targets, but after that…who gets to stay in the club? Whose disagreement is too extreme to earn a spot at the debate table? If you’re pro-environment, do you exclude the people who think proposed solutions to global warming aren’t worth the cost, or just those who deny that global warming is happening at all? If you’re pro-life, do you exclude people who believe that abortion is an issue of women’s rights, or just the people who deny that the fetus is actually a life?

There are voices that you may want to counter strongly, particularly if some crazies associate themselves with a group you’re a part of. (For Christians, I’d put Westboro Baptist and prosperity gospel preachers in this category.) But the fact that those voices can still be heard and engaged with makes for better debates with the best chance for getting at the truth. We can’t come to right conclusions if we have a mile-long list of biases and perspectives we are not willing to even consider.

And don’t forget: you can feel free to ignore or respond with polite dismissal to crazy opinions, which especially on social media, I would highly, highly recommend.

Me all the time.

Four: It gives an unhealthy weight to emotion in our decision making.

Before I go on, let me say this: if you’re a survivor of sexual abuse or a teacher who goes through shooter drills or a person who has experienced countless acts of racism, then you have a credible and emotionally impactful perspective on current issues. Your opinion is supported by experience. You can feel what other people are just talking about.

But I do think it’s a mistake to let even important, valid emotions take certain solutions off the table before they’ve been fully discussed. If you’re going to accept or reject a policy or opinion, acknowledge your feelings about the issue. Use them to add to your passion in explaining the best solution as you see it. But don’t let them replace careful research and analysis of responses to a problem. (I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs test, so I believe feelings are too often discounted as a weakness in debates instead of being leveraged as a strength…but I’ve also seen them used badly in logical arguments.)

To sum up: I’d rather see more people countering or ignoring stupid arguments on Facebook than telling those who hold them to shut up before they’ve even spoken, because I want to see all of us be a little braver, a little more humble, and a little more in love with the clear and lively truth than we are in being cheered by a crowd of those who already agree with us.

 

*Stuffy Devil’s Advocate Footnote for the Dedicated Reader: Let me think of the most extreme example I can think of: say you’re in a conversation about genocide with a Holocaust denier. She repeatedly cites false statistics and rejects all of your actual photographs and primary sources and war crimes court transcripts. You feel like you’ve reached the point where you cannot have any kind of productive discussion, and you certainly wouldn’t want to invite your Jewish friend to join in, because this view is not an opinion about how to interpret facts, but a deliberate distortion of facts, and also deeply offensive.

I’m totally fine with saying, “Look, we aren’t just using different logical arguments; we’re referencing a different set of facts. Because of that, there’s no way this conversation can move on in a way that is helpful to either of us.” (Basically, the nice way of saying, “One of us has to be misinformed or delusional, and if we keep talking about this, I may be tempted to drop-kick you all the way to Auschwitz.”)

To me, that’s very different than saying, “If you disagree with me about how to approach gun control/whether “safe spaces” are necessary/what to do with immigration, you are not welcome to express that” which is what I’m talking about here.

Let’s Talk About Cain Killing Someone With a Rock

Most people know the general plot of the story, whether they think it’s history or myth: Cain and Abel were the first brothers on earth, and because his offering wasn’t accepted by God like his brother’s was, Cain killed Abel in a jealous rage. (You can read the full story here—and you should, because source material matters, people.)

There’s something deeply disturbing about realizing the first death was a murder. Christianity teaches that because of sin, we all die…but also because of sin, we sometimes kill.

Which brings us to today. More than in the aftermath of past mass shootings, I’ve seen arguments from both sides that reference Cain. Here’s the most common one:

Full disclosure: I’m not a huge fan of discussing complex societal problems on the Internet, partly because I’m not an expert in basically anything, and partly because it’s not a good medium for listening and responding well.

But as soon as I see people posting Biblical verses or references to support their position, it’s like beaming the bat-signal into the sky. Time to break out the cape and exegetical utility belt. Gotham needs me.

Don’t worry. I always give myself a cooling-off period when I’m in one of those moods, so I’m not about to go all vigilante justice on you. By now, I know that I’m not the hero the world deserves or the hero it needs. I don’t have all the answers. I can’t solve all the problems. But I do have some thoughts.

If you had asked me a week ago what the story of Cain teaches us, before the memes and the rhetoric, I would have said things like “God deeply values right worship,” “God deeply values human life,” and “We are held responsible for the moral choices we make.” All of those are major themes of the story. None of these are referenced by the meme.

That’s your friendly reminder that the story of Cain and Abel isn’t actually about gun control. It exists in the Bible for much more important reasons than to get name-dropped on Facebook after a terrible tragedy.

Okay. So, let’s talk about the part that is directly relevant to mass shootings and what we should do about them. One of the themes of the story of Cain is…

We are capable of great evil.

All of us. Not just the mentally ill or the marginalized, not just the shooters and the psychopaths. Need proof? Later in the Bible, when John says, “Do not be like Cain”—referencing choices to hate others instead of love them—he’s talking to his fellow Christians. (1 John 3:12)

Have you felt what that means, lately? It means we could be like Cain. It means sometimes we are. Sometimes I am.

If you believe this, thousands of conclusions follow, some of which I think relate to the meme-ification of gun violence. Because I believe that all of us are capable of great evil, I also believe…

My friends on the political left are correct when they say it’s all too easy to let greed and selfishness blind us to potential solutions to this problem.

And my friends on the political right are correct when they say that no matter how many laws are made, people determined to break them will find a way to do so.

Some of my friends are wrong because, really, there is no such thing as a “good guy with a gun.” We are all corrupted by sin, and even our good intentions for gun ownership—protection or public safety—can be twisted by fear or prejudice or pride. (Ex: controversial police shootings and questions about “just wars.”)

Some of my friends are wrong because they put too much faith in rules, and maybe even in the government (made up of corrupted people) by being willing to trade freedom for security. It’s an age-old question of risks and gains that needs to be made carefully with an understanding that we’re just as bad, maybe worse, institutionalized into a group than we are individually.

So to the people talking about how Cain killed with a rock, I’d say yes, he did. But now we can kill with weapons that have more power and potential, and that changes things. That’s true of every new invention—guns are just one example. Technology shows both our capacity to create and progress, and our tendency to corrupt and destroy in more far-reaching ways. That’s the difference between a rock and a gun. And the point of the story of Cain and Abel isn’t to say we shouldn’t have laws just because we are lawbreakers at heart.

And to the people saying that Abel’s blood cries out for justice, I’d say yes, it does. But it cries out against us, in our confidence of our own rightness and righteousness. The references to Abel’s blood crying out in the New Testament (Matthew 23:34-36, Hebrews 11:4, 12:24) aren’t given as a reason why we should have more restrictions to prevent murder. The point of the story of Cain and Abel is not that it tells us how to respond to violence, but that it symbolizes all of our rejections of God since then.

All that said, the story of Cain and Abel does have application to the crazy, messed-up world we live in. The main one I see is in its honesty about the human condition. What you think about people’s goodness matters when you talk politics and policy…but it doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to talk about those things.

Let’s refuse to accept platitudes and easy answers as we try to find wise solutions…but let’s also remember our tendency toward corruption when we think about how those solutions will play out.

The Church’s Biggest Problem

If you’re ever bored with small talk and have a group of Christian friends around, try asking what they think the major issue in the American church is. You will almost always start a colorful discussion where everyone throws around serious issues like cynical confetti.

When it’s my turn, I’ve never been able to summarize the area I’m most worried about. That is, until I finished my latest read, which is actually not an examination of the church, but instead something much more personal: a memoir called Single, Gay, Christian by Greg Coles.

What I love about this book, the need I think it fills in the church, is that it isn’t a practical theology book (although there is a chapter that explains why Greg couldn’t interpret the Bible to allow same-sex unions even when he wanted to). It’s a story.

From the first lines of the book’s prologue, you get the sense of an invitation to empathy: “Let’s make a deal, you and me. Let’s make promises to each other….If you’ll listen, I promise I’ll tell you everything, and you can decide for yourself what you want to believe about me. Wait until you’ve heard everything. Wait until you know me.”

Greg

Seriously, read this book. It’s amazing.

As I read, the story became less a justification of Greg’s stance—why he uses the term “gay” to describe himself even though he’s committed to celibacy or what he thinks about the insistence that prayer can “fix” sexual brokenness—and more a challenge for me and the church in general. (Have you noticed that we’re much more open to being confronted about something when we feel like we know and trust the person saying it? That’s the effect this book had on me.)

When Greg said, “Obedience is supposed to be costly,” sure, I heard it as a reason why he felt he shouldn’t act on his attractions. But I also thought of something larger when he went on to explain, “In the Western world, lulled by freedom of religion and unprecedented opulence, we so easily lose sight of what words like suffering really mean. We begin to believe that ease and safety are the baseline experiences of humanity.”

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How Lee and Washington Are Different: A Response to Trump’s Comments

“This week, it is Robert E. Lee,” President Trump said in a statement today about the statue in Charlottesville that led to protests there. “Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop? George Washington was a slave owner. How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? OK good. Are we going to take down his statue? Because he was a major slave owner….You’re changing history.”

So, let’s think through the points Trump raised. I’m going to ask some questions and offer some thoughts on them, but remember, I’m not an expert. I’m an average Christian young woman who likes to promote gracious conversations on difficult topics. So let’s have at it, because I’m convinced that yelling and being angry won’t actually change anything, but engaging with ideas in a thoughtful way can and has.

Part One: What Are Statues For?

Most of the conversation about Charlottesville have focused on the violence and the hate groups, and rightly so. But a friend from college asked what I thought about the issue itself, stripped of everything that happened afterward: should Lee’s statue have been removed?

I listed Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee as my two favorite historical figures in eighth grade, mainly because even then I liked complexity. (Also possibly because I liked making people raise their eyebrows in surprise. It’s a problem.) Those two figures, the sides they represent, the conflict that follows…all very complex.

But, the thing is: statues are not complex. Statues say, “We celebrate this person and their actions.” They don’t have context, and they can’t convey nuance in a helpful dialogue. All they do is represent our values in metal and stone. That’s what we understand them to be as a culture.

I understand why people decided to remove Lee’s statue: because he gave marching orders to a group that would rather leave the Union than be told they had to free their slaves.

I see you there, Civil War buffs—yes, there are many things to consider, like economics and states’ rights and lots of fine print about motive and who shot first, but Lee and the Confederate flag are now indelibly associated with what they fought for and against, and I think that’s fair.

Part Two: Are We Changing History? If So, Is That Bad?

Trump and many others say that removing Lee’s statue is a denial of history, peer pressure by the left to be politically correct. Okay. I get that. Maybe that’s part of what’s going on, and it’s fine to dislike a culture that is easily offended.

But I think there’s a double-standard at play. Think about this: who have we decided, in America, is worthy of honor? Whose faces are on our currency, in our textbooks, mounted on plaques and busts and statues around our country?

A lot of white slaveholders…and very few men and women of color. We didn’t have to take down their statues to change history, because we never put them up.

I know that I’m now living in a time where this is the open-minded and “cool” opinion to have. If you’re skeptical, I get that. Just hear me out.

History is not objective. Never has been. We create it by what we put in, what we leave out, and the language we use, like a cinematographer creating mood and meaning through the light and angle of film shots. History changes, and when it does, that doesn’t mean it’s a shift from something inherently true to something false. It’s usually just that a different system, bias, or value is arranging and presenting the facts.

We’ve changed a lot of history, and things like Black History Month are a marginalized group trying to write important figures and events back in. In removing Lee’s statue, people are trying to stop the glorification of the Confederacy and what it was like, just like protests against Columbus Day are meant to challenge whether we should see ol’ Christopher as an explorer or exploiter. No matter what side you take, this is the natural process of recording history. You have to make value judgments along the way.

Here’s where I disagree with Trump that Washington could be next. I’m not suggesting we take Washington off the quarter, partly because his public achievements deserve celebration…and partly because we still associate him with those things and not the slaves he kept. To most of us, Washington means freedom and revolution and the Constitution. I think it’s important to note in books and classes that his rhetoric didn’t line up with his actions, but to us, Washington still stands for the ideals of justice and equality.

In contrast, Lee had solid personal character, but his public actions, the ones he’s most known for, aren’t worth celebrating, and he is deeply associated with oppression and evil.

In a simplistic way, Trump’s off-hand question, “What do you think of Thomas Jefferson?” is actually relevant to whether or not we should use Jefferson as a symbol of our country. When it comes to memorials and other symbols, perception matters. If it’s not the only thing, it’s the main thing—what most people think of when they see a symbol determines its meaning.* That’s why the cross no longer means “an instrument of Roman torture” but “a symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ” for example.

Part Three: Who Decides to Take Down Statues?

If representatives of a city or state decide, by listening to their constituents, that they want to make a value statement by replacing Lee Park with Emancipation Park, then that’s the exercise of democracy. If another group wants to peacefully protest, that’s also democracy. What actually happened at the protest was not democracy—it was hate and lawlessness. Mobs yanking down or demolishing Confederate monuments and statues are also examples of lawlessness. Both are examples of the occasional price sinful people demand from America for allowing freedom of expression and assembly.

But beyond the technical, tricky questions: “Emancipation.” That’s what the park in Charlottesville is now called. I don’t care what party you claim or who you voted for…isn’t that beautiful? That what we choose to celebrate is a moment of turning from evil and toward justice and freedom?

It was a long turning. Actually, it’s not over yet. Which is why what we celebrate and memorialize matters so much. That’s what will take the next generation from where we’ve been to where we’re going.

I love General Lee. His story is beautiful to me because it is hard, and I will memorialize him with my words, here and other places, because he was a good man facing an impossible choice, and because I can’t say with certainty what I would have done in his place.

But he chose the wrong side. No, the Civil War and its causes were not simple, and most of the North was just as racist as their brothers to the south. Still, when we evaluate the relative good or bad of large groups, we have to make a judgment somewhere. Based on my reading through the prophets and the way God judges the nations, including his own chosen people, I think the degree that they move toward justice and righteousness seems like a good criteria, and by defending the institution of slavery, the Confederacy did not do that.

Our actions have consequences. Lee, deciding whether to accept command of the Confederate army when he felt slavery was “a moral and political evil” and secession “anarchy,” understood that—felt that—more than most of us ever will. History’s judgment of Lee will go in and out, up and down, imperfectly deciding what to say about him. We’re trying to create meaning, trying to aim our country in the right direction, trying to say true things to our children.

Maybe Charlottesville got it wrong, but I don’t think so.

In the end, it’s not possible to separate the removal of Lee’s statue from the KKK and violence that followed. Academically, they’re two separate questions. Racism and hatred are pure evil and should always be denounced and decried, whereas I could make a case either way for whether Lee should continue to preside over a park named after him.

But they’re not entirely separate in practice. Symbols have deep emotional meaning and often lead to actions.

Simple things often get accused of being oversimplification, but I’m going to risk it here.

When asked what you think about the public display of symbols of the Confederacy, think about this: what do you want to celebrate?

 

*Stuffy Sociological Footnote for the Dedicated Reader: Another example: people were furious when an image floated around the Internet showing a can with “Share a Coke with ISIS.” Turns out, that can was available in Egypt the year before the terrorist group became well known, where Isis is a common female name. In Egypt, Isis meant one thing. In America, ISIS meant another. It takes time and distance for us to get rid of those associations. If America lasts another few centuries, maybe then racism will be disassociated from Lee. Maybe. But I don’t think so, because the association has nowhere else to go. We are drawn towards symbols and representative figureheads as a society, whether it’s team logos and mascots or the flag and the president. Slavery was such a defining event that it has to be symbolized somehow. The Confederate flag and leaders have absorbed that association, just like the swastika and Hitler absorbed theirs. It’s arguable that Hitler deserved it more, but the effect is still the same.

How Do We Respond to Radical Extremism?

NazisShort answer: without surprise, and with the courage to ask hard questions and act on the answers.

Long answer: Friends, if you’ve been shocked by news and images of violence today, now is the time to pray and mourn. It’s also time to think hard about your assumptions about what what your fellow human beings are capable of…and how doing nothing or very little about it might shape our country.

“It’s a terrible mess,” you might say, “but it’s just some crazy extremists throwing out Nazi salutes and racial slurs. An isolated incident.”

Maybe. But I’m afraid of what happens next if you’re wrong. Let me explain by talking through the books I finished this week.

In the conclusion of my nonfiction read, The Boys in the Boat, the author sets up the decent, loyal, hardworking Americans who believed in freedom and dignity for all in contrast with the Nazi regime. And while I loved the underdog sports story and beauty of the language, that idea fell flat to me.

Why? Because the fiction book I’m reading at the same time is All the Light We Cannot See, which shows the courage it takes for a decent, loyal, hardworking person to stand up to a corrupting evil that starts subtly and becomes your whole life. In that book, you feel the passion of those who were told that to gain glory and wealth and the awe of the nations—all they ever wanted for themselves and their country—all they had to do in trade was sort the world into “us” and “them.” You experience the desperation of a young soldier following orders when the stakes are too high to take a stand. You see the raw agony and shame of men and women just like us who didn’t just choose the wrong side, no. It’s worse than that. They made thousands of smaller, trivial wrong choices along the way that led to Hitler’s Germany.

Justifications came before gas chambers. Neighbors quietly turned away about business restrictions and revoked community group memberships before they turned in anyone to be sent to labor camps. They were silent before they cheered “Hiel Hitler” in unquestioning salute.

We use the Nazis and their imagery as general villain patterns in debates and video games and movies, in part, I think because we’re still trying to figure out how the Holocaust happened. It’s a great unsolved mystery of human nature because most of us like to believe we would have been brave enough. We are the Resistance, the heroes, the incorruptible.

Do you believe me when I say that, apart from the grace of God, you are deeply corruptible? So am I. So are my neighbors. So are thousands of Americans who are products of our time, warped by prejudices that only history will see clearly enough to point out to us, whether that’s racism or materialism or worshipping an ideology instead of God.

You’re not holding a torch this weekend. Good. Some of your fellow citizens are. What does that tell you? How bold have your prayers been? What small things have you turned away from instead of speaking up? Along what lines have you divided your world into “us” and “them”…and how can you replace that with love?

I ask because we Americans were on the right side of that world war, and we’re proud of it. History has vindicated us in that slaughter of millions…but don’t think for a second that we don’t have blood on our hands in hundreds of other ways. If the riots in Charlottesville surprise you, remember: virtue isn’t a passport stamp. America stands for freedom only as long as Americans stand for it.

I want to be a brave person. Even more, I want so badly to live in a brave country. But we have to remember: courage takes action when the stakes are low, in the small things, and those million tiny decisions make us who we really are.

Do you hear me, church, called to the radical love of Jesus? They make us who we really are.

Do you hear me, America, torn and battered but still trying to live up to the meaning of our creeds? They make us who we really are.

Do you hear me…you?

You and I, we are so very small. But that is the beauty to balance the terrible truth of All the Light We Cannot See. We aren’t heroes. No. But by the grace of God, we can be brave.

Donald Trump Is Not the Exception

Sometimes, people try to convince me that the human race is slowly progressing. “Think about it,” they’ll say. “At least in our culture, there’s no more human sacrifice or slavery. Women can vote, and minority groups of all kinds are fighting for and receiving equal rights. Repressive and outdated moral codes are fading in influence, and we’re working toward justice and love for all. Also, Wonder Woman finally came out!”

And some days, I can almost believe them. Yes, I think, I’m delighted that I live in a society where, even though someone in my apartment building has a wireless network called “Racist Neighbor,” (yes, really) at least no one I know is heil-ing Hitler or boiling and eating their enemies. Could we be getting better after all?

And then I go on Facebook or Twitter or the comments section of blogs or articles, and I remember: nope, people are not basically good.

Social media might be the most obvious way to see our true selves: unscripted and unfiltered. Most bad behavior trends in and out, making resurgences like fashion fads: are we cynically self-sufficient this decade? Maybe legalistic condemnation is more in vogue. Or is lawless abandon making a comeback?

Our selfishness takes different forms, chants different slogans, and gets a rebranding to change the packaging, but the content is still the same, variations on those ol’ seven from church tradition: pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

For a specific example, in some ways, I’m encouraged to see outrage every time President Trump is unprofessional or just plain mean on Twitter. It’s good to hold those in public office accountable to be thoughtful and deliberate in their choice of words.

 

That said, Donald Trump isn’t the first person to be rude, gossipy, and narcissistic on social media. There’s a greater shock value for what he says because we expect better of our president, and rightly so. But what we can learn from this is more bigly than just dissatisfaction with our current president’s behavior (sorry, couldn’t resist). It should remind us of something much more fundamental: our unrehearsed selves are not kind.

Not just Trump’s. Ours.

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