In a recent interview with ProPublica, veteran White House correspondent John Harwood asked President Joe Biden for guidance on how Americans can engage in conversations with family or friends who support former President Donald Trump while discussing American values, particularly democracy.
The conversation revolved around Biden’s call for civic engagement and the protection of democracy. Harwood, referencing Biden’s speech on democracy, inquired about how individuals should approach discussions with those who are hesitant or wary about initiating potentially challenging conversations with a “MAGA parent, neighbor, coworker.”
In response, Biden stressed the significance of voting and highlighted his concern that there is now a time where people fear physical violence for voting against prevailing sentiment, likening it to a mobster scenario.
Harwood acknowledged that many people find such conversations difficult and may be hesitant to engage in them. Biden advised those who are hesitant to act in accordance with their convictions and not be afraid to initiate these discussions.
He encouraged individuals to reach out to others, start conversations, and foster two-way dialogue. He emphasized the importance of avoiding confrontations while sharing one’s own perspectives and actively listening to the viewpoints of others.
While acknowledging the challenges associated with these discussions, Biden expressed his belief in the decency, honor, and straightforwardness of the majority of Americans.
He underscored the necessity of making people comprehend the perils of not participating in democracy and encouraged active civic engagement by emphasizing the phrase “show up, show up, show up.”
In essence, President Biden’s advice centers on the idea that people should not shy away from challenging conversations about democracy and American values.
Instead, they should engage in respectful and constructive dialogue to bridge political divides and reinforce the democratic process through active participation.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: VOTE. VOTE. LOOK, I WAS SAYING TO MY STAFF. I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE A TIME WHEN SOMEONE WAS WORRIED ABOUT BEING ON A JURY BECAUSE THERE MAY BE PHYSICAL VIOLENCE AGAINST THEM IF THEY VOTED THE WRONG WAY. I NEVER THOUGHT I’D. I NEVER THOUGHT THAT WOULD HAPPEN. IT’S LIKE A MAYBE A MOBSTER CASE. I. I MEAN, THINK ABOUT THAT.
JOHN HARWOOD: BUT A LOT OF AVERAGE PEOPLE THINK THOSE ARE REALLY DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE WITH PEOPLE AND WILL BE RELUCTANT TO.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: WELL, THEY ARE. AND I THINK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO ENGAGE, YOU JUST ACT. YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT. AND PART OF THAT IS JUST SHOWING UP, SHOWING UP. BUT I ALSO THINK THAT WE SHOULD BE ENGAGING PEOPLE MORE AND AND NOT NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT OUR NEIGHBOR. TALK TO THEM, SIT DOWN AND SAY, WHAT DO YOU THINK? WELL, AND NOT GET IN ARGUMENTS, BUT SAY, THIS IS WHAT, YOU SAY THIS. BUT HOW ABOUT THIS? FORCE PEOPLE TO GET IN A TWO WAY CONVERSATION. BUT IT’S HARD JOHN. BUT THE BIGGEST THING IS, LOOK, I REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE DECENT, HONORABLE, STRAIGHT FORWARD. I MEAN, I THINK IT’S A MINORITY MINORITY. AND I THINK THEY HAVE TO, THOUGH, UNDERSTAND, ONE, WHAT DANGER IS IF THEY DON’T PARTICIPATE? AND TWO: SHOW UP. SHOW UP. SHOW UP.