David Patterson writes in the International Business Times that thanks to a note he sent his long time friends he “no longer wakes up dreading emails”.
“Since the 1980s,” Dave writes, “seven of my high school classmates get together annually to watch the Super Bowl, play poker, and drink beer….We’re scattered about the country and across the political spectrum—from a left coast professor who donated to Obama to a right coast retiree who thinks the president was born in Kenya—so between games we’ve connected via email in a lively and frank discussion on a wide range of topics.
“In the past few years, the political exchanges have escalated to electronic Molotov cocktails. When I complained to my kids, they told me they admire our loyalty, for they disconnected from their classmates with contrarian views long ago.”
Dave was not willing to let politics get in the way of friendship, but he also didn’t want to stay silent in the face of inflammatory messages. Inspired by Joan, he sent an email that called them all to their better angels. “If you find something outrageous online that the other side is doing,” Dave advised his friends, “consider the possibility that it’s false propaganda intended to disrupt our nation that we all love. Please don’t help spread chaos.”
Dave hopes that others can benefit from his experience. “If you’re in a community of people and you care about facing similar disbandment, please imitate, forward, or plagiarize my exact response to a provocative political email that worked with my old pals,” he offers.
Inspired to write your own olive branch email? Read Dave’s full story.
LRC Question of the Week:
Were conversations about race a part of your upbringing? If so, how was the subject approached? How did people around you talk about other races?
A good question is a great way to connect with someone—and a way to understand yourself and others a little better. We want to help people build the habit of connecting with curiosity in our daily lives. So we’re inviting you to engage with a question each week—by answering the Question of the Week yourself or asking a friend, colleague or family member. With your permission, we can share your responses and hopefully increase people’s interest in curious connecting conversations. You can respond to our question of the week by replying to this email!
Our question this week is from our Race conversation guide.