You Can’t Change This Hatred—You Have to Outnumber It

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

There’s an old saying: “When the horse is dead—dismount.”

It’s time to stop beating that horse, America. It’s not going anywhere.

I’ve tried for three years now.
I’ve tried to understand them.
I’ve tried to listen to them.

I’ve tried not to assign motive to them, not to speculate as to why they voted the way they voted, not to believe they consented to every cruel thing their vote birthed and enabled.
I’ve tried not to caricaturize them; not to make them into one-dimensional stereotypes, not to treat them as some fictional other whose presence posed a threat.

I’ve tried appealing to their sense of decency, to their capacity for compassion, to their faith in Jesus.

I’ve quietly endured thousands of their racist outbursts and homophobic rants on Twitter and at neighborhood picnics and across the Thanksgiving dinner table—in the hopes that I could find some vulnerable place beneath their fear to access later.

I’ve tried buoying pep talks and firm tough love and expressions of kindness and straight-talking challenge and attempts at affirmation.

I’ve tried discussing theology, tried sharing stories of oppressed communities, tried to offer facts in the face of a million lies generated by their President, tried to show the lessons History has already taught us about the slope we’re currently sliding precipitously down.

They have all failed to reach fertile ground.
Nothing has worked.
It’s all been fruitless.

I think it’s time to stop saying that we need to understand these people. I think we do understand them:

We understand that they have dug in their heels so deeply, they will not be moved by anything—not facts or data or truth or their own eyes.
We understand that there is no political scandal massive enough, no tweet reckless enough, no legislation predatory enough to alter their allegiance.

We understand that the past three years of viciousness and ineptitude haven’t tempered their passions but ignited them. 

We understand that the image of an angry white, American male God is so burned into their brains, that they see no conflict with a religion devoid of love or a world absent diversity or a theology made of malice.
We understand that infidelity, dishonesty, obscenity, and cruelty are no longer liabilities to those they would have lead them.
We understand that the FoxNews poison has so fully circulated through their systems that truth is no longer necessary.

We understand that white supremacists in the Cabinet and Russian infiltration in our elections and children separated from their parents are acceptable collateral damage to winning.
We understand that their capacity to rationalize away human rights atrocities now borders on complete delusion.

People have warned that we should treat these people with kid gloves; that explicitly expressing anger or pointing out criminality or vocally opposing injustice right now will only drive them deeper into their entrenched positions. That’s a fairly dire assessment.

If adults are that fragile in the face of reality, that willing to deny country and humanity simply because they’re offended, that thin-skinned and prone to mutiny—their dispositions aren’t really a burden the rest of us should or could bear.

We don’t come to this understanding with any joy or self-satisfaction—we come to it with sober despair and the deepest grief, because we know practically speaking that right now they are unreachable.

It’s one thing to have held out hope for them on November 9th, 2016, but at this point, I’m not sure any miraculous moral awakening or conversion of the heart is possible. 

If their consciences and compassion and reason have not been accessed and unearthed by now, I’m concerned those things will never be forthcoming.

And since these people will not be moved, the rest of us need to move together.

Democrat, Republican, and Independent,
the deeply devout and the passionately irreligious,
people of every pigmentation and persuasion—we need to move in concert, to affirm our shared regard for one another, and to vote to restore balance in something we all love that is teetering wildly.

This isn’t a battle to change the minds of the few who refuse to be changed. That horse is dead.

It also isn’t a test to see if we can manufacture the same hatred and vitriol for them as they dispense toward us.

This is a golden moment for the vast, sprawling army of good people who believe in the beauty of diversity and in a fully accessible America to speak unequivocally—on our social media profiles, at family gatherings, in our church meetings—and most of all, in the voting booth.

We don’t need to convince or coddle or win over hatred, and we don’t need to outdo it either.

We need to outnumber it.
We need to outlast it.
We need to outlove it.
We need to outvote it.


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56 thoughts on “You Can’t Change This Hatred—You Have to Outnumber It

  1. Pavlovitz is right on all counts. You cannot reason with unreasonable people, and I’m through trying. The Trump lovers can have him. As for me, I’m going to do all I can to thwart the hypocritical right-wingers and their regressive agenda. And I’m starting with voting. I hope everyone will vote, because that’s how we start to change things for the better.

    • This whole article is a bunch of BS. If you were referring to the left it makes sense. The left is closing down free speech with Antifa and BLM. Maxine Waters is calling for violence against conservatives. Scalise was shot by a progressive. Your party is more communist than ever before. Conservatives are for smaller government, securing our boarders, and fiscal responsibility. You can’t handle the Trump win. We endured 8 years of the liar in chief. Suck it up like we did.

      • Jonny you are sad, angry person. You talk about communism, but dt sucks up to Putin, you mention smaller government & fiscal responsibility but trump pays off $12 billion to farmers for his ignorant tariffs that will backslide the country into an economic depression pit. Trump’s father, business and taxes are illegal, phony and fraudulent. God help you if you believe this repugnant, immoral, racist, misogynst who is pathological liar. Whoever you are get some help, hate will eat you from inside out.
        No bank in America would loan money to him, so he turned to Russia. He is indebted to Putin and oligarchs.
        Stop listening to faux, fox news, and you might learn something.
        Keep your nasties to yourself.

      • Oh Please, conservatives are for smaller government yet Trump has blown up our deficit to outrageous numbers. You people have to stop watching Faux news and you also need to educate yourself to understand what communism means. Or, you can just choose to remain one of those ignorant, hateful deplorables. Years to investigate a non issue on HRC’s emails, one week to fake investigate a supreme court nomination of a chump who showed how unsuited he is to the role. You trump supports are truly disgusting in the way that you will continue to stand by as there repubs destroy our country. I truly hope the responsible adults show up to vote this next election. When we show up, you nuts are definitely outnumbered.

      • How the hell is wanting affordable healthcare, a living wage, decent housing, a secure retirement, and clean air and water ‘Communist’? You sound like one of those Cold War era twats who hollered ‘Communism’ at every turn.

        Waters isn’t calling for violence. You only think that because your side defaults to violence when faced with the smallest disagreement.

        Just admit that you want a return to the Gilded Age and that you are convinced that you would be one of the wealthy rather than an overworked, abused, laborer in that world.

      • So much for fiscal responsibility when it came to the big tax cut. It added at least a trillion to the deficit. As for free speech that sort of thing happens on the right. Read this book. He wrote 2 other books on the subject. You might want to read them. You can’t blame all liberals for one dope. I am guessing the person who shot Gabby Gifford and killed Dallas Green’s grand daughter was no liberal. Dylan Randolph who shot up the church and killed at least nine people was no liberal. Neither was McVeigh who bombed the the federal building. Nor is the guy who killed the Sikhs here in Wisconsin. That idiot was dumb enough to think they were muslims because they wear turbans. The Arabs who knocked down the towers were hardly liberal. I don’t even know that antifa are liberal. The hate fascism which is a good thing. So spare me about liberals.

      • I pretty much agree with you, Jonny. While reading, I knew he was writing about Republicans/Conservatives, but it sure sounded like descriptions of the Dems/Liberals. As usual, the Left sees themselves as righteous, decent, superior to all others while they pat themselves on the back for all those things. The hate I’ve seen by Dem leadership is beyond anything I’ve ever seen by any other adults in my entire life. What I witnessed during the confirmation in the 3-day interviews was indecent.

      • You just proved his point. There’s is no low too low, or truth too obvious, that would make you stop and actually use that thing that occupies the space between your ears. It’s called a brain, and it’s amazing. But you have to use it. If you just follow blindly you’re not at the wheel and you’re going wherever the crazy train takes you. And you don’t care.

        John is right. It’s time we stop pretending that you’re acting on principle and acknowledge you’re acting on autopilot. We need to talk to the programmers and not the obedient minions. You may be human, but you’re a bot.

      • Your party and it’s fascist leader increased the deficit by over a trillion dollars, made fun of a handicapped man, supports adultery and sexual assault, want to take away Medicare and Social Security ( it’s not an entitlement), allow our air, water and earth to become more toxic, offend our allies, promote global warming and promote racism etc etc etc… Really?! This is not the party of Lincoln…he would be saddened by our totally inferior and dangerous “leadership” and Americans who have forgotton our nations core values and have no moral compass. Vote Blue…Vote for freedom!!

      • You didn’t suck it up. You went on an eight year racist rampage. Your kingdom of lies is falling and your prince of lies with it.

  2. With you all the way, John Pavlovitz. Not only am I voting, but I’m actively involved in campaigns for progressive candidates. Onward and upward!

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  4. I commented on this several months ago. My comment hasn’t changed. There’s been plenty of crazy hated to go around. Just take a look at the left wing hate among the anti-Kavenaugh protesters. The Democrat tactics AFTER the Senate Committee hearing was as perfidious as any in the history of this country. Yes, the answer IS to vote it out. You will vote your convictions as I will vote mine. The sad thing is that it will turn out about 50-50. A painful testimony to the seemingly intractable division within the “United” States of America. Our enemies are overjoyed.

    What a magnificent country our Constitution defined. But now we are to believe that NOTHING is “defined”. Some want the Constitution to ebb and flow with their latest PC cause of the day. Some of us want the Constitution to be a firm FOUNDATION that can be trusted to guide us through difficult times. Come November I guess we’ll see who can muster 51 in the previous equation. And when the dust settles I’m afraid the divide will still be alive and well.

  5. FYI: There are a plethora of others who aren’t ‘old white men’ who are angry and want to kill you. In fact, they killed over 3000 people in NYC in the WTC buildings. With your stereotyping a group of people, you are a major part of the problem.

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