Let the Hate (and Love) Flow Through: Notes from Politicon 2018

 

Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the alphabets are entertainment. Watch these channels with the sound off, maybe after a whiskey, and you will see it clearly. These are trained actors who have perfected outrage by reading political lines under the guise of informing. Cable news benefits from dividing us, continually. This has led to folks on both sides to become more intransigent, more entrenched. Our anger is palpable. It’s cancer. However, once we leave our tv’s, and are removed from the Twitter-verse, facebook and other social media, people are people. We all live and breath the same air, send our kids to the same schools and root the same home team (Go Dodgers!) Yet at cocktail parties, or events where mixed political company attend, many of us head to toward like-minded souls where we can vent our frustrations about whatever outrage the other side did today.

Case in point: Politicon 2018. Charlie Kirk told me “Politicon is Twitter in real life.” It’s an annual event held in Southern California (the last three years in Pasadena and this year in downtown Los Angeles at the sprawling LA Convention Center). The two days of panels, debates, and raucous main events feature the leading politicos from both Left and Right. Where else in America can people come and watch (deep breath) Tucker Carlson, Touré, Dennis Rodman, Ben Shapiro, Alyssa Milano, Adam Carolla, Ben Rhodes, Charlie Kirk, Hasan Piker, Joy Reid, Ann Coulter, James Carville, Michael Steele, Cenk Uygur, Dan Bongino, Sally Kohn, Andrew Klavan, Ana Kasparian, Michael Knowles, Elisha Kraus, and even a handful of Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol, David Frum, Jennifer Rubin, and Ana Navarro. By the way, this is probably not even a tenth of the speaker’s list.

Waiting for a panel to begin (the gross Michael Avenatti and certifiable Kathy Griffin) I was seated next to a 50-something couple. The woman said something about “we need less testosterone at the top.” I was in a playful mood so I bit.

“So you will vote for the gender over substance?” I asked.

“Yes, we need women,” she replied.

I asked “So, if Nikki Haley was at the top of the ticket in 2024 you would vote for her right? She’s a woman”.

“Oh, no, no. A Democrat woman. We need to defeat the patriarchy.” Her husband sat silently, looking bemused at his wife telling the white man how it is (they were also white).

“So, you don’t believe in the content of character, but the color of skin, gender, sexual preference? You see, I don’t care what you are. Meritocracy will always get my vote. Don’t you think voting for someone because of gender is sexist? If I said that I voted for Trump because he wasn’t a woman, you would have a problem with that, right?”

She looked at her husband and said something about “mansplaining.” He just sat there being her husband. Not sure when he lost his testosterone, but it seemed more than acceptable to her.

“I’m a doctor,” she said “and I can tell you we need more women. They understand. Sexual harassment, the lack of women at the top. As a woman, I want someone who understands me.”

I replied (paraphrasing), “well that makes sense from an emotional standpoint, but you do know there are already a great many female office holders. But let’s say Hillary or maybe Kamala would win. What would you want them to do that hasn’t already been done? I mean, sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law right? You also can sue your employer and probably stand to make quite a lot of money. What else, besides the laws on the books, would a female politician implement that would make you feel better?”

“She would understand. She’s female. So, I want someone who understands.”

She was quickly becoming a cartoonish Leftist debating squad; Heavy on bumper sticker phrases, very light on actual facts. And she was supposedly a highly educated Doctor.

Side note: My friend Jeremy was cursed at by Kathy Griffin who had him kicked out because he simply replied to her comment about the Honduran Caravan with “Let Mexico Pay for It.” In front of a thousand people, she cursed and had security remove him. Some people can only perform for their sycophants. We saw Avenatti later, who’s truly a scumbag and thinks he can run for POTUS, but he said he disagreed with Griffin kicking him out. So we chatted for a few minutes, I thanked him for being in the media as it helps the Right and then took a picture. We’re not smiling, just laughing because we called him “creepy porn lawyer.”

Our good friend SABO quickly created this piece of memorabilia.

This was one of several conversations I had with people on the other side of the political divide. I walked away from each conversation somewhat stunned at the intransigence in peoples thinking.

On the second day, I was taking a break in the private VIP room where many of the speakers and some good friends would congregate. Here I was able to do several interviews. In between, I would rest and found a half-empty sofa next to a wall outlet to charge my phone. A beautiful black woman was sitting on the other end of the couch. I introduced myself and we started chatting. A friend came up to us asking if she was Tyra Banks. She could have been. Long story short, we started talking politics and she wanted to know if I supported Trump.

I replied in code because you never know who you are talking with, “I support his policies, yes.”

“Well, there’s nothing we can talk about. You support racism. You support sexism. You then are a racist and sexist.”

I’ve heard this before and didn’t take it personally. I could have ended the conversation, but I was tired of roaming the convention halls and watching panels, the couch felt good, not to mention had only 10 percent battery life.

I said “So let’s say I wasn’t. Let’s say I approve of his policies because I vote for economic issues. Let’s say I don’t like much of his tweets, and that I am one of the least racist people you would meet. Would you want to talk then?”

Forty-five minutes later, we were still talking where we had also been joined by one of her black female friends who was wearing “The Future is Female” T-shirt and a guy who introduced himself as a leader in the local chapter of the Democrat Socialists of America.

By the time we had finished talking, we covered everything from education, teachers’ unions, Trump’s economic successes benefitting all people, the reasons for the 2008 financial collapse (the DSA guy loved my point on Glass-Steagall as it confirmed his belief in government regulations) to the media causing us to not to want to even talk with each other. After all, once I was identified as a Trump Supporter, the conversation wouldn’t have happened.

We walked out together as almost friends. On Twitter we would have argued at each other for hours, calling each other names and probably threw in a few memes. Neither of us would have changed minds and only increased our vitriol.

Did I plant any seeds for their consideration? I believe, at most, they didn’t change their minds, but possibly opened them. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t fall into the trap of treating anyone with a different political opinion as evil.

When bombarded with the tribalism from our preferred media sources, it’s important to remember, if the space aliens landed and attacked tomorrow, we are all human.

*We are working on putting a series of short interviews together as well as highlights of some debates at Politicon.

There are 32 comments.

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  1. Richard Easton Member

    That was a great report. I look forward to listening to your interviews.

    • #1
    • October 23, 2018, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. The Reticulator Member

    Dave Sussman: “ She would understand. She’s female. So, I want someone who understands.”

    But I don’t understand why she wants someone who understands. 

    • #2
    • October 23, 2018, at 2:08 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. RufusRJones Member

     

    Dave Sussman: We need to defeat the patriarchy

    Dave Sussman: “I’m a Dr.,”

    Amazing.

    Dave Sussman: a guy who introduced himself as a leader in the local chapter of the Democrat Socialists of America.

    The DSA website is wild. IMO, it’s full communism. I haven’t been able to get anybody on Twitter to admit that they pay dues or that they go to meetings. 

    Apparently Ocasio-Cortez is a card-carrying member. 

     

     

    • #3
    • October 23, 2018, at 2:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Brian Watt Member

    I don’t know how you do it, Dave. You’re certainly made of stronger stuff. I think if I were to attend Politicon, I might have to be heavily sedated.

    • #4
    • October 23, 2018, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Dave Sussman: “I’m a Dr.,” she said

    Her way of saying, “I’m smarter than you, more intelligent than you (I have a PhD), so what you say doesn’t mean squat to me.”

    Okay, she’s telling the truth. Why bother talking to an intellectual (defined as someone educated beyond their intelligence) when she’s tuned out from reality? You had no way of knowing she was brain dead, or maybe you did and went forward anyway.

    Let it go . . .

    • #5
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:21 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman Post author

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    I don’t know how you do it, Dave. You’re certainly made of stronger stuff. I think if I were to attend Politicon, I might have to be heavily sedated.

    That’s what after-hours are for!

    I’m human. I did have to leave one panel because I just couldn’t deal, namely, Jennifer Rubin who really, really needs to have her ‘conservative’ moniker removed and buried.

    • #6
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:25 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  7. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman: “I’m a Dr.,” she said

    Her way of saying, “I’m smarter than you, more intelligent than you (I have a PhD), so what you say doesn’t mean squat to me.”

    Okay, she’s telling the truth. Why bother talking to an intellectual (defined as someone educated beyond their intelligence) when she’s tuned out from reality? You had no way of knowing she was brain dead, or maybe you did and went forward anyway.

    Let it go . . .

    I was seated next to them for 15 minutes before the panel began so found it entertaining.

    I’m sick like that.

    • #7
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. low key Inactive

    Had to do a double take, yes, that is Eddie Izzard third from the left on the top row. Scanning the line up there are a few other odd inclusions, Lou Diamond Phillips and Henry Winkler. Let’s toss in James Woods and William Shatner to see some more sparks fly!

    • #8
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher

    Dave Sussman: Case in point: Politicon 2018. Charlie Kirk told me “Politicon is Twitter in real life”

    Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

    • #9
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  10. Stad Thatcher

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman: “I’m a Dr.,” she said

    Her way of saying, “I’m smarter than you, more intelligent than you (I have a PhD), so what you say doesn’t mean squat to me.”

    Okay, she’s telling the truth. Why bother talking to an intellectual (defined as someone educated beyond their intelligence) when she’s tuned out from reality? You had no way of knowing she was brain dead, or maybe you did and went forward anyway.

    Let it go . . .

    I was seated next to them for 15 minutes before the panel began so found it entertaining.

    I’m sick like that.

    Not sick, Dave. More tolerant than I wouldv’e been. Thank Gawd we have professionals like you to do the heavy lifting . . .

    • #10
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. RufusRJones Member

    Why have an opinion if you can’t be cogent when someone asks you a question? It’s okay to not have an opinion. You can go to the thing just because you’re there to learn. Nothing wrong with that.

    My brother-in-law buys bitcoin because he’s paranoid of the government, he’s against socialized medicine because his health insurance is so good, but he votes for Bernie Sanders. Deavin Nunes makes him really mad but he can’t explain it to me. It’s insane.

    My other brother-in-law is a PhD neuropsychologist. He went absolutely insane when I asked him to define “assault weapon.” All kinds of anger and utterly no information.

    Don’t do that.

    • #11
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  12. RufusRJones Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Jennifer Rubin who really, really needs to have her ‘conservative’ moniker removed and buried.

    IMO, she’s got mental issues or they pay her extra to not be cogent. 

    In general, those types are revealing themselves to liking centralized power and they need it to work for their lifestyle or their living. They don’t care about cultural Marxism. 

    • #12
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman Post author

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Jennifer Rubin who really, really needs to have her ‘conservative’ moniker removed and buried.

    IMO, she’s got mental issues or they pay her extra to not be cogent.

    In general, those types are revealing themselves to liking centralized power and they need it to work for their lifestyle or their living. They don’t care about cultural Marxism.

    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    But JR is even worse on Twitter, with talking points that could easily be from Mother Jones. Benefit of the doubt and all that, so I listened to her, but in person, she’s no different. 

    • #13
    • October 23, 2018, at 3:57 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. RufusRJones Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    Seriously, I’m so glad you say that because I really don’t like not liking him anymore. 

    • #14
    • October 23, 2018, at 4:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I so envy your ability to hang in there. Once my blood pressure goes up, I’m incapable of being reasonable. I love hearing your bit of optimism, but my guess is that they figure you’re the sane exception to the rule of people who think anything positive about the Right (without owning up to their true credentials). I guess that’s why you’re a guy who does great interviews and I’m a shlub.

    • #15
    • October 23, 2018, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Dave Sussman Contributor
    Dave Sussman Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I so envy your ability to hang in there. Once my blood pressure goes up, I’m incapable of being reasonable. I love hearing your bit of optimism, but my guess is that they figure you’re the sane exception to the rule of people who think anything positive about the Right (without owning up to their true credentials). I guess that’s why you’re a guy who does great interviews and I’m a shlub.

    Susan, it’s sorta like talking with my kids when they were young. I’m not going to get anywhere if I yell at them (although that would temporarily make me feel better), so if I explain why things are the way they are, in a civil friendly way, maybe they will learn and think about it. Most people I meet on the Left are not bad people, they are just uninformed about the things we assume everyone should already know.

    • #16
    • October 23, 2018, at 4:19 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. The Reticulator Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    No, no, don’t tell me. I’ll figure it out eventually. Let me take my time.

    • #17
    • October 23, 2018, at 4:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    Dave Sussman: “I’m a Dr.,”

    Reminds me of one of my favorite exchanges in Sleepless in Seattle

    “She’s a Doctor”

    “her first name could be Doctor”

    • #18
    • October 23, 2018, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Richard Easton Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Jennifer Rubin who really, really needs to have her ‘conservative’ moniker removed and buried.

    IMO, she’s got mental issues or they pay her extra to not be cogent.

    In general, those types are revealing themselves to liking centralized power and they need it to work for their lifestyle or their living. They don’t care about cultural Marxism.

    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    But JR is even worse on Twitter, with talking points that could easily be from Mother Jones. Benefit of the doubt and all that, so I listened to her, but in person, she’s no different.

    I heard Robert Kagan speak last week and was not impressed.

    • #19
    • October 23, 2018, at 9:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Jon1979 Lincoln

    We walked out together as almost friends. On Twitter we would have argued at each other for hours, calling each other names and probably threw in a few memes. Neither of us would have changed minds and only increased our vitriol.

    Did I plant any seeds for their consideration? I believe, at most, they didn’t change their minds, but possibly opened them. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t fall into the trap of treating anyone with a different political opinion as evil.

    Reminds me of a few years ago when New York Times columnist Charles Blow went to Texas and had his brother take him to a gun show in the San Antonio area, and he discovered that the gun show wasn’t full of foaming-at-the-mouth homicidal gun nuts. He wrote a column about it, but once back in the progressive bubble of the Times’ offices on Eighth Avenue, it didn’t take him long to turn back into Charles Blow. Hopefully that won’t happen here, but between staying in an area full of like-minded people and being able to only hear concurring voices on social media, brief exchanges of ideas aren’t likely to stick, unless people continue to hear those contrasting ideas.

    • #20
    • October 23, 2018, at 10:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Columbo Member

    Images in your OP are not appearing for me. What was SABO’s image?

    • #21
    • October 24, 2018, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Columbo Member

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Images in your OP are not appearing for me. What was SABO’s image?

    They are appearing now … at least there’s no blood drenching Jeremy’s head held by Griffin!

    • #22
    • October 24, 2018, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. RufusRJones Member

    This is what you are up against: 

    The Roundtable Insight – George Bragues On How The Financial Markets Are Influenced By Politics

    The People’s Romance Why People Love Government (as Much as They Do)

     

    • #23
    • October 25, 2018, at 3:15 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. RufusRJones Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    My brother-in-law buys bitcoin because he’s paranoid of the government, he’s against socialized medicine because his health insurance is so good, but he votes for Bernie Sanders. Deavin Nunes makes him really mad but he can’t explain it to me. It’s insane.

    I just want to add, this brother-in-law is really smart too. He makes good money and he got accepted to Berkeley from out of state.

    The Democrat party just makes people feel good. They make everyone believe that voting for “smart people” doing a bunch of central planning it’s going to make everything better. Republicans and libertarians are hateful cavemen.

    • #24
    • October 25, 2018, at 3:20 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The Democrat party just makes people feel good.

    They don’t look like they’re feeling good. They’re not having a good time, at least. 

    • #25
    • October 25, 2018, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. RufusRJones Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The Democrat party just makes people feel good.

    They don’t look like they’re feeling good. They’re not having a good time, at least.

    That’s true. 

    • #26
    • October 25, 2018, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Jim Wright Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    No, no, don’t tell me. I’ll figure it out eventually. Let me take my time.

    Ahoy.

    • #27
    • October 25, 2018, at 8:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. The Reticulator Member

    Jim Wright (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Some people in the NT camp are actually more reasonable in person than they are on Twitter (BK for example, although his Twitter feed is insufferable).

    No, no, don’t tell me. I’ll figure it out eventually. Let me take my time.

    Ahoy.

    Aha! I believe I’ve got it. 

    • #28
    • October 25, 2018, at 9:33 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. David Carroll Thatcher

    In-person political discussions have a chance of being civil. 

    Rarely can we change a mind once the person returns to his or her tribe. That said, the two most effective tools in such an argument is to begin with common ground. “Well we both want the same things, don’t we? We don’t want deserving needy people to starve.”

    Of course, many people confuse ends and means. Such as, “No we don’t want the thing. We should have free food for all.” That is a means. Preventing starvation is the end. 

    The other tool, used by David Sussman is the question. Question are relatively non-threatening. They don’t sound like argument. But they can be very effective. They communicate that the questioner is just trying to understand, but they can be very persuasive when the other side can’t come up with a cogent answer.

    I also think it helps to identify the fallacy when encountered in a argument. Take name-calling. “Have you ever persuaded anyone to your point of view by calling them hateful names?” “Did your mother teach to you to insult people when you talk with them?”

    Persuasion is interesting.

    • #29
    • October 26, 2018, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. RufusRJones Member

    David Carroll (View Comment):
    The other tool, used by David Sussman is the question. Question are relatively non-threatening.

    This. Go in with the spirit of inquiry.

    I can get along with my brother-in-law pretty well because my views mostly come from Austrian economics and he gets how the financial system is unfair and regressive. That is ground zero for everything. 

    People on the left don’t see that and they don’t see that central planning is the only reason we need more central planning to fix the central planning. Nonpublic goods don’t add any value but they don’t get that. All government actuarial schemes are just systems of theft. They don’t get that either. That’s what you’re dealing with. Having said that, stay away from social issues, probably.

     

     

    • #30
    • October 26, 2018, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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