2 Responses

  1. avatar
    Stephen Bounds at |

    Nice article Bill. But especially in politics, I think it’s important to recognise that facts only get you so far. Emotion is a form of knowledge too, often a very powerful and primal one. That passion drives action at the individual and group level, often far more so than “unemotional” intellect.

    I think Van Jones really clearly illustrates this dynamic in his story about working with the Trump administration on prison reform. From The Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/06/van-jones-cnn-faces-of-2020-joe-biden-romantic-idealist):

    “… if you can see a moment where you could get something done to help the people at the very bottom, I felt the responsibility to do it. I worked with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform. We got a bill passed and signed by President Trump, and I was in the Oval Office when he signed it – he handed me one of the pens. That bill has helped people behind bars … I also have a very different view on the administration than people who just stood back. I saw Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump trying to get something very hard done against the objectives of many in their own party, and came to admire their role and the strength they showed in that fight quite a bit. And it doesn’t mean I agree with them on many other things. But on the issues that I saw them working on, I saw them doing some things that a lot of liberals and progressives didn’t want to give them credit for …

    There are people who feel that if you’re a Democrat or Republican, your side is always right and the other side is always wrong. I’m not subscribing to that point of view. I try to look at the issues, the opportunities, the bills and the candidates with more or less fresh eyes. With Jared Kushner I got 99 problems but prisons ain’t one. Jared’s dad went to prison. He understands. And so I’ll fight till the last dog barks. That used to be the way it worked in American politics. It’s only been very recently that, if you say one positive thing about the other side, you are a traitor. If you work with them on one issue, even an issue I spent 25 years of my life on, you are a traitor, and anything else you say can be dismissed. That is a new phenomenon. And I just don’t subscribe to it.”

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  2. avatar
    Bill Kaplan (author) at |

    I understand your viewpoint clearly. Sometimes emotion trumps (no pun intended) evidence which often ends up with outcomes different than desired.

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