Anger and Mourning on the American Right

In “Strangers in the Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” sociologist Arlie Hochschild probes the emotions of America’s conservative base, to understand those who see government as more of a problem than solution, to “build the scaffolding of an empathy bridge.”

“We, on both sides, wrongly imagine that empathy with ‘the other’ side brings an end to clear-headed analysis, when, in truth, it’s on the other side of that bridge that the most important analysis can begin.”

I have spent the last eight years reaching out to people from other parts of the world — I lived in Turkey for two years, and have lived in the United Arab Emirates since 2011 — so surely I should be able to reach out and begin to understand my fellow Americans, instead of feeling such dislike and disdain for their political views, to the point of contempt. Like Hochschild, I feel like my homeland, the USA, is a bit of a foreign country.

NYT Review

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