Rush Limbaugh, Slayer of the Non-Empathetic [...]

Hochschild shared similar stories in her book. In one example, a woman tells Hochschild about her love for conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh because he stood up to people — feminists, environmentalists, and other liberals — that she felt belittled her and her lifestyle. As the woman explained, “Oh, liberals think that Bible-believing Southerners are ignorant, backward, rednecks, losers. They think we’re racist, sexist, homophobic, and maybe fat.” She felt that these accusations overlooked many of the problems that rural white Americans faced — growing up poor, struggling to get a better education, and so on.

Because Hochschild, who’s liberal, didn’t immediately dismiss the woman’s comments and insult her, the two managed to have a frank conversation to reach a better understanding of each other. And the two continued talking as Hochschild wrote her book. From one simple exchange of empathy, it was possible to have more frank conversations. (Source)

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