Tobias Rose-Stockwell has an interesting piece on polarization. The main takeaway for me was "Contact increases empathy. Insulation Kills it". Though the insight that the brain sees "thousands of people believe something" and "millions of people believe something" as essentially the same thing is also important. Tobias talks about the dynamic which reinforces our dislike for one another.
I've seen quite a few reactions to the election which seem to amount to: 'I can't deal with racists' or 'I can't be friends with Trump voters [because they are racists].
A national culture is the dynamic product of millions of interactions between its citizens. We probably can't survive as a nation if we ridgidly divide ourselves into two camps that refuse to interact.
I grew up as a Republican voter, and with most of the sociological markers that would have led me to be a Trump voter. I grew up middle class, in a family that voted enthusiastically for Reagan, was stridently conservative, and very religiously evangelical.
That last one requires a bit of emphasis. I don't mean "church going". I don't mean "religious". I mean that I grew up in one of the early mega-churches, non-denominationally Baptist style, went to 3-4 services each Sunday, bible study at least twice during the week, choir practice and separate orchestral practice on 2 separate nights (2-3 hours each). I had done more church by the time I was 18 than most of you who think of yourselves as church going will do in your whole life. My father worked for a defense contractor AND taught seminary on the side AND was an elder in the church. As an aside this has made me hyper-concious of in-group political infighting which I can see from miles away. There is nothing in inter-office politics that even approaches the smiling faces of people who want things in a 3,000 person church.
Now it is possible to grow up in that kind of community and come out politically liberal. But it damn sure isn't likely. For the most part I did not. Luckily the church was not overtly racist (we had a fair number of Latino and Asian members) and I had a complicating relationship with my Grandma Kimi which meant that I didn't understand that races looked different until I was about 15 or 16. So I dodged the uglier side of the racism bullet. But other than that I came out a very typical conservative.
This meant that by the time I was in university I was definitely in the political minority. I went through a large number of transitions between now and then to become the temperamentally conservative (I think change should be slow, experimented with in small doses, and carefully dealt with) politically liberal (I believe that in most cases the question "does it promote freedom" is strong evidence regarding whether or not a policy is wise, that people ought to be allowed to do what they want so long as they don't harm others, and that concentrations of wealth and power can be dangerous).
I believed a lot of silly things 10 years ago. Even more silly things 20 years ago. The fact that I have often been wrong has made me a big believer in procedural fairness--the system shouldn't be designed to be unchangeable, it shouldn't be designed to systemically favor one tribe, and we should be very careful about ramming things down people's throats.
I also became very aware of how tribal we all are. We like to think we are so rational, but a huge part of how we justify things is "how would my friends react to this?"
I became the imperfect, but hopefully good, person that I am only by contact with people who disagreed with me. Left in the cocoon of my upbringing, I'm certain that I would have turned out much more like a Trump voter. But my upbringing wasn't wrong about everything. No tribe has a monopoly on the truth, certainly not for any long period of time. No tribe is free of deeply stupid or deeply wrong ideas, they just can't easily identify them without outside contact because they are so ingrained.
It is fine to say that you are too hurt at this moment to deal with Trump voters. But it is foolish to say you just won't deal with them at all, and don't want them in your circle.
I'm the Trump voter who didn't vote for Trump because of 20 years of interactions with other tribes. I wouldn't want to cast aside the younger me and cut off the hope of becoming the me I am now. I'm glad lots of other people didn't do that to me.