Listening is the way Forward

image from the Art of Listening

image from the Art of Listening

Two University of Texas graduate students spent the last ten days with me.  They are conducting a study in a nearby town of why poor and/or minority voters went against their interests and voted for Trump in the 2016 election. 

They couldn't say much about the interviews they conducted because of research protocol but they seemed surprised by the level of passion they encountered from people who live in a dying community with a water situation worse than that in Flint, Michigan, but because so few people live there, the town hasn't gotten much national media coverage

What struck me about the study is that these sociologists are going out into the field to do one thing, which is to listen. 

I hadn't thought much about purposefully engaging with my Red neighbors until this last week.  Hearing a little about this study's process and then receiving my next assignment from MoveOn's Summer of Resistance, which is to conduct a "Neighborhood Listening Project," I'm starting to realize the importance of engaging in a conversation with those who do not share my values or ideas.  Not so I can convince them that I'm right and they are wrong but just to listen to them.

I'm beginning to think that maybe if we all stopped talking and started listening, we might get somewhere toward solving this crisis.