Your Neighbors (Probably) Don’t Hate You - Living Strong Television Network
Your Neighbors (Probably) Don’t Hate You

They might not even know you’re there. When paranoia eclipses our witness, here’s what to remember.

This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.

Some colleagues and I happened to be meeting in New England this week, so we drove a little bit north to a small village in Vermont called St. Johnsbury, right in the line of the totality of the solar eclipse.

Even before the sky darkened, I was mesmerized by the people gathering in the town square, each with a sense of anticipation and excitement over the shared experience. We ended up standing on the front lawn of someone’s house, eating sandwiches while we waited for the sun to hide. The homeowners sat on their stoop and were not only unperturbed by our camping out on their property but seemingly enjoying the chance to welcome people to their place.

Several articles this week noted how the eclipse seemed to have the effect of bringing out kindness and connection, almost the way a natural disaster would, except in collective wonder instead of in common suffering or fear. Not only that, some studies are showing that this sort of neighborliness and openness is far more common than we think, eclipsed behind the maelstrom of division we see on social media and on cable news.

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen describe our sense that the country is hopelessly and irreparably divided as “America’s reality distortion machine.” Most people aren’t fringe-right Christian nationalists or fringe-left campus activists. Those fringes, though, are amplified not only by the nature of our media but also by the incentives of politicians to cater to the extremes.

A couple weeks ago on my podcast, I asked social psychologist Jonathan Haidt some of the questions I’d received from listeners since the last time we’d talked, one of the …

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