Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Limits of BART

The other day, I rode on BART train (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to Pittsburg, CA to give an in-service workshop, about an hour ride. At one point, I noticed a young African-American woman talking to a young bearded man, helping him get oriented about what stop he would get off. The conversation was friendly and convivial. But there was one thing that bothered me. The man was wearing a Trump 2020 hat. 

Now I know to some it sounds arrogant that I feel that this person—and others like him— are completely deluded. Brainwashed by FOX News, ignorant of important real facts, blind to important stories in our history. And yet here he was and here I was and I was wondering what I would say if I wanted to open a conversation and listen to his story.

But let me be honest. The only point in listening to his story is to take any understanding of “where he was coming from” and use it as a springboard to widen his perspective and see how much harm this lying, callous, murdering narcissist is doing to people—including people like him. I have simply never heard a single story from a Trump supporter that wasn’t either filled with illusion that this pompous greedy businessman cares about them and is trying to improve the quality of their life or else simply affirmed that their worldview of blame, fear, prejudice and downright hatred had found their champion.

I was telling this story to my neighbor who was telling me I should have talked and listened to him. I excused myself saying it was only an hour ride and the only point would be if I could show him with real news, historic examples, reflective thinking and logical connection that it’s the people with compassion and kindness and intelligence who really care about our present and future. Everybody’s present and future. For we all benefit when the moral arc bends towards justice.

And my neighbor, in a brilliant repartee, replied: 

“BART doesn’t go that far.”

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