«If people feel that their motives are impugned, if they feel they’re not bad people but are being told they are—being told they’re racist or misogynist—it can foster a mentality of victimhood.
In the minds of a lot of conservatives, the left exists to impugn their motives, and the Republican Party regularly lied to them and said they would defend them and then didn’t. And that was the establishment.
I think everybody has the ability to be garbage. A big step is to accept that about yourself and then fight that part of yourself.
I don’t feel like a lot of people on the right do that. They’re very certain of their righteousness. That’s probably the thing I dislike the most.
I think we have a divisive political structure that encourages bad-faith arguments, and makes people view their fellow Americans as the enemy. That’s what creates a feeling of justice when you do something in the best interest of your “team.”
The idea of a culture war has to die. There’s cultural forces that oppose each other, I won’t deny that. But when this dynamic is described as a war, it invites a battlefield mentality, that a separate set of morals apply when you’re facing your enemy.
I’m talking to the individual who, by the end of the book, feels pretty certain they were right to be critical of evangelicals. And what I wanted was some kind of reminder that it is going to take unity to fix this.
Green: Something I noticed throughout our conversation is that you’ve struggled a lot with pronouns: “we” and “they”.
Howe: Oh, ugh. I switch back and forth because I feel like I’m a separated wife, but I’m not divorced yet.Green: Are you an evangelical?
Howe: I am.
Green: So why “they”?
Howe: Because when I’m saying “they”, I’m talking about people who support Trump in the way I’m criticizing.
Green: Are you a conservative?
Howe: I still am, yeah, …
Green: It sounds a little bit like you’re a man without a “we”.
Howe: Oh, I feel like I am. All I’m hoping for is that there are a lot of people who feel like me, who will start to rise up, so I can eventually call myself a “we” again. I think there are lots of people who think like me. I just don’t think we’re all talking.»