Evil Voodoo Celt (evcelt) wrote,
Evil Voodoo Celt

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"Listen with an open heart, and try to understand"

So, today was the last live broadcast of the Diane Rehm show.  For thirty-seven years this show has been one of the best things in radio journalism.  She was and is a model of integrity, compassion, kindness and insight; she welcomed the whole range of opinions and viewpoints onto her show and was a model of fairness and open-mindedness.  But there has always been a core of steel to her- she insisted on truth, politeness, and forthrightness from her guests and callers- one of her signature lines to an evasive guest (often delivered with increasing asperity) was "But you still haven't answered my question!"  Her show was the epitome of hospitality, with rules for host and guest alike- and as the show's motto said, one of her guests was always you.

She expressed a lot of hope for the country and our democracy, but it was predicated on her belief that we should engage with each other, recognize that, no matter how much we may disagree with each other, we should "listen with an open heart, and try to understand".  I think that's vitally important. Yes, we need to fight, but we also need to remember that our opponents are people too.  Not everyone who voted for Trump is in the "basket of deplorables".  Demonizing and "othering" people you don't agree with- that tactic poisons everything it touches.  Disengage from the "Internet Outrage Machine".

Of course, sometimes our understanding will be that we need to walk away.  Trolls, hateful people, conspiracy theorists- some people are wasteful to even engage with.  Compassion and understanding doesn't have to mean acceptance or indulgence.  We have to choose our fights.

And (to use another of her favorite phrases) stay curious.  Get out of your silos- read, watch, and listen to things that challenge your assumptions.  Beware of confirmation bias and epistemic cocooning. Learn to recognize fake news and refuse to spread it.

I'll miss her on NPR, but I'm glad that Ms. Rehm will be continuing to be active with a new podcast; and she will no doubt be involved with other causes.  I have great hopes for 1A, the replacement show.

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