There is no honest way to explain a peculiar gathering of people unless you go and walk among them yourself. Trying to report on their gathering without doing so is simply relying on your own prejudice and base instinct. To write about something you don’t want to see is like asking a blind person to describe a painting they know nothing about, yet this is how much of the news media is generated. So when a Moms Demand Action rally rolled into town, I took it upon myself to see what was actually going on.
I walked to the rally location, and the first thing I noticed was that there were mostly families. I had to keep this in mind because these people are obviously thinking of issues beyond themselves. This is key to understanding political discourse, as we should never forget the humanity of others.
I spoke with people ranging from teachers to photographers and to folks from all occupations in between. The general consensus was that they weren’t as gung-ho about banning all guns as some in the media will claim they are. They were just trying to find a way to end gun violence. These people may have been at a Moms Demand Action rally, but seeing them as individuals instead of anti-liberty activists helped me benefit from the genuine conversations I had with them.
The biggest takeaway I had from the conversations is that these people are part of social circles that generally don’t know much about guns or firearms in general. They take most of what they know from other people they associate with who know as little as they do.
When talking with these folks, I tried my hardest to just ask them why they believed the things they did and whether they knew what they were really advocating for. That way I could understand them instead of just trying to lecture them, or worse, shout at them and tell them why they were wrong about everything.
The key to constructive political discussion isn’t to just beat people in a debate but to genuinely convince them to change their minds. As is often said in the sales world- no one wants to be sold but everyone wants to buy. By showing these folks I genuinely wanted to learn about their stances, I even managed to change some of their views on firearms and gun owners instead of intensifying the anti-gun views they already held.
Pursuing civil and respectful discourse may seem like a tall order when the world around you appears to be going crazy, yet people generally just want to be treated like adults, so remember that the next time you are out of your element with people who think differently than you.