Where my "The Trolls Have a Strategy, What's Ours?" piece appeared on Huffington Post, a reader wrote:
This post just adds fuel to the fire of a shameful, hateful cycle of Us vs. Them. Don't focus on belittling people who don't agree with your views; seek common ground and understanding. Liberals cannot claim to be compassionate if they can't find compassion for their detractors. Be the change!
And here's how I replied:
The first entry in my series had the title, "#1 Many Liberals Don't Like the Idea of Battle, But the Alternative in America Today is Much Worse." You, [reader's name], are an illustration.
One tool does not fit all situations. So it is necessary to have a diversity of tools in one's toolbox: tools for building bridges, and tools for waging battle.
Seeking common ground is a good thing, and I've already told the story of my background in doing just that throughout the 80s and 90s. (See that history in the second part of this second entry.)
When one side insists on making politics into war, there is no good choice but to recognize that "us-vs.them" is the reality. That recognition is what made Churchill perhaps the greatest British Prime Minister ever (that was the opinion that a biographer, himself aligned with the Labor Party, came to), while Chamberlain -- who bent over backwards to see any "Them" that might require "Us" to stand and fight, is seen as one of the most hapless and disastrous leaders in history.