Winning Over White Supremacists–One Hater at a Time

In the wee hours this morning, as I was trying to catch up and visit a few friends’ blogs that I had not visited recently, I came across one that gave me pause. Since the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, extremist white supremacist groups have been much on our mind. It is easy to lump them together and think of those who perpetrate such crimes as something less than human, but … sometimes they just need somebody to show them that love is better than hate. Please take a few minutes to read Annie’s excellent post … you won’t regret it! Thank you, Annie, for the time and effort you spent on this … very thought-provoking!

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Image from American Progress.org

I am writing this piece with images of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol still very fresh in my mind. It is a huge stretch to think of those brutal, sadistic, remorseless thugs and imagine summoning an iota of compassion for them. But others of their ilk–and many psychologists and researchers–say that’s precisely what’s needed.

They call themselves the “formers”: former Klansman, neo-Nazis, or generic white supremacists or other racial extremists who are now devoted to guiding those who’d followed similar paths to come to a better life.

Christian Picciolini is one of them. As a 14-year-old, he’d joined a violent group of white power adherents who became the “Hammerskin Nation.” As he described his feelings to Dave Davies in an NPR interview, the group threw him a “lifeline of acceptance…I felt a sort of energy flow through me that I had never felt before—as…

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Keeping Our Eyes Where We Don’t Want Them To Be…

Many of us have opined about the impeachment trial, the likelihood that the senate republicans will fail to do their duty to We the People, and more. But, just when I thought I’d heard it all, I came across Annie’s post last night and … my jaw dropped. Trump apparently believes that he is still president, has set himself up with an office, staff, and claims his office will address “… official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump administration …” All the more reason that he must be convicted, his lies must be paid for, he must be forced into irrelevancy. Thank you, Annie, for this thoughtful post!

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Image by Alexander Krivitskiy @krivitskiy; found via unsplash.com

I’ve had various gastrointestinal problems over the years: I come from a family of “gut” people, and there’s lots of scientific evidence about our gut-brain connection. But it took me about a week to realize that a lot of my annoying symptoms had dissipated.

I no longer had to make daily shakes with the fattening avocado I dislike to keep my weight stable, and I was eating things I’d abandoned in misery—like hummus. (OK, not thrilling, but when peanut butter on apples is the only lunch that sits right, a little diversity is most welcome.)

When I saw my gastro Monday morning, I told him how much better I was feeling. And the light bulb had gone off. My GI system almost instantaneously expressed its enormous gratitude and relief when Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the Oval Office. “You’re not the…

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Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Earlier today, I re-blogged a post from Annie of annieasksyou fame, and this evening I am sharing another. Annie has collected a series of observations made by International Analyst Michael McFaul that paint a picture that is … chilling. Please do take a minute to check it out. Thanks again, Annie!

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Michael McFaul, Stanford University

[Note from Annie:I’ve extracted from Twitter a series of observations made by Michael McFaul last week after viewing the Republican National Convention that I think form a compelling picture of the dangers we’ll face if we don’t remove President Trump from office in November.(The emphases are mine.)

McFaul served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012, and then as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The author of several books and an academic at Stanford, he cites his research interests as American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development.]

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For those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week…

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