How to Talk to a Liberal

Young Man Thinking
Clearly, people in general have different ways of looking at things. 

Recently I heard a TED-X talk about political liberals and conservatives and how they talk past one another without hearing what is being said to them. The premise of the talk was that we have to use certain language to make ourselves understood, or our words will fall on deaf ears.

According to this speaker, when a conservative is speaking with a liberal, he must use words associated with


When a liberal speaks with a conservative, he must use words associated with

respect for authority,

Actually being able to achieve this in a conversation probably won’t be easy and might take some practice in finding the right words. The speaker in the TED-X talk didn’t elaborate much, maybe because of time restrictions, so we are on our own to work out the language that we use in trying to speak to our counterpart and actually be heard. In return, are we listening so as to understand this person’s worldview and its merits? In looking at these two different approaches, it seems to me that one is more emotion-oriented than the other, but the degree to which this creates tension may depend on the personality of the speaker and/or the listener. Be careful here….

If you give this a try, let me know what happened. Did the two of you actually connect in any meaningful way (arguing and fisticuffs excluded)? Are you still speaking to one another? On a more positive note: might you continue the dialogue again sometime?

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What Happened to Clara?


From Kirkus Reviews:

Halleson (The Origin of Fear, 2015, etc.) makes picturesque Wisconsin farmland the backdrop of disturbing crimes in this novel.

As Silje Reiersen grows from adolescence to young adulthood in the 1950s, she shares the same concerns as most of the girls in her rural Wisconsin area: her grades, her shifting friendships with female classmates, and her growing interest in boys.

Silje chafes at the restrictions in her life, such as the loneliness of existence on her farm and her Norwegian-American family’s taboos against showing emotion. She escapes into books, imagining the day that she can flee for good into the world outside of the farm. Her imagination also causes moments of paralyzing fear, such as when her mind runs wild with terrible possibilities on a night when her parents are late coming home from a trip.

But she has reason for her trepidation to be concrete. Children and teens keep disappearing from all over Wisconsin. Unbeknownst to their parents, or to the authorities, they are being kidnapped by multiple individuals who take advantage of their victims’ isolation and funnel the captives to larger child-trafficking rings in Chicago. As Silje ages, the abductions start hitting closer and closer to home, until it seems like anyone, even Silje, could be next.

Halleson clearly has a strong understanding of the Norwegian-Americans who populate her novel, and their depictions seem extremely authentic. She’s equally skilled at representing the criminal mind, and the passages from the perspective of a kidnapper are chilling….

Buy this book here.




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