How to Talk to the Misguided

Last week I posted these 4 minutes of bad-assery by Greta Thunberg at the UN General Assembly. You’ve probably seen it by now; if not, it’s worth a watch before I share an interesting followup below, wherein I make a case for ditching snarkiness in favor of being nice. (Yes, me!)

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Little did I know that after I posted the video, Greta’s diplomat-busting would go viral. I’d gotten it from the UN website shortly after it happened, but it was speedily shared on YouTube by the Washington Post and others. And my eyeballs got highjacked by the truly weird responses that ensued . . .

Ya know how awful comments get between people who disagree online — esp between left and right — whether it be on YouTube, Twitter, or who knows where? I’m always wondering if I could help educate the misinformed by actually being respectful, and empathetic to their circumstances.

I’ve been told, “No, Deb. It’s a waste of time with those people. We just need to get more Democrats to the polls.” I don’t think my open-minded, dear friends realize how prejudiced they sound when they say that. “Those people” are people, same as “those people” in any era of “othering.”

They’ve just been #InFoxicated by too much right-wing news.

So I’ve started experimenting with my replies. And I’m finding that I’m right.

One of the first posts in the Comments section for the Greta video was from someone called “Lazor Wolf”:

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It goes on, but in the sake of space, here is the first (snarky) reply, and Lazor’s reply back:

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Clearly he’s articulate — he’s just horribly misinformed. (And yeah, I’m assuming Lazor Wolf is a guy; do with that what you will.) So here’s what I said — and I think the most important part is the last bit, about him having a positive impact himself — followed by his surprising reply:

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Well! I actually exclaimed out loud when I got the notification of his reply! And I got a similar reply from another person:

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Whether or not they were just trying to call me out, or whether or not they were willing to let go of their conspiracy theories, they were at least asking for info. Meanwhile people were posting the usual digs, like:

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And (about Greta):

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And even:

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Ugh. But I kindly replied to “Lazor” and “misterkel”:

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(I just noticed that my post to “misterkel” above says “Highlighted reply” — not sure if that’s good or bad.)

I also added this:

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Anyhoo, on YouTube, the links I included are live. And I know I’m only affecting a few people here — if that. I didn’t get replies from either of them (maybe they were busy reading the facts about climate change??). But what if . . . one by one, two by two . . . we helped people understand the reality? By being respectful? And they impacted their friends, and so on?

I witnessed something similar on Twitter in July.

It was when the four Congressional women known as The Squad got under Trump’s skin, and he tweeted his now infamous diss. It was during my week-long artists retreat in Woodstock (to be covered in my summer vacation report), when I wasn’t online much — but it squeezed its way into my consciousness one day.

A Trump supporter replied to his tweet, and I replied to that person’s reply with, yeah, something snarky:


On a side note, can we talk about how I got 258 likes on that?? I’ve never gotten more than a handful. But the next reply put my sarcasm to shame . . . and I watched in awe as the next comment completely turned the conversation around:


It’s good stuff, right?


“Hazam” continued…


And here’s where I was really impressed . . .



Aw. My final reply:


I really did feel so heartened by their exchange. I don’t know if @Hazam_13 is a man or a woman, but their bio says “Study of religion, culture, women/gender issues. Interested in everything.” Needless to say, I’m now following her (heehee) on Twitter.


A smattering of poisons in my parents’ garage . . .

Again, I’ll be posting my “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” report here soon. But if it’s not soon, it’s because I’m heading out to California tomorrow to be with my Dad, who is in the hospital after his cancer took a major turn for the worse since I’ve been writing this. It’s bad. I blame Monsanto and their Roundup herbicide, among others

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