At one point, I think I had gotten pretty good at provocative conversation, without being offensive, when it came to discussing progressive ideas. But since Toby died, I’ve had to work and continue to work very hard to build and maintain energy to get through a day. I don’t have the energy to rehearse talking points in my head, preparing for public council meetings, or the next social media spat.
But I still care about what I care about.
During my lunch today, I started chatting with an older gentleman. I’m not sure what sparked it, but he began to tell me every conspiracy-theory factoid you can imagine, smashed into one steaming hot sandwich.
I immediately felt my energy draining with every point he was trying to make that I wanted to refute. I wasn’t going to get through the day if I did so.
So, I listened, and something interesting happened. Every once in a while, he would say something that seemed to contradict what I would call a typical “conservative” narrative.
He asked about what I do, I mentioned how I work from home. He noticed that a lot of people had been moving north from the city. I mentioned how it’s become crazy-expensive in Toronto, and we both knew that Timmons, Ontario has some of the lowest real-estate prices right now. We both knew that would put pressure on cities to keep their people, and on Northern towns to build out infrastructure for more people.
He noticed that growing season has been starting earlier up north, and that Western Canada has been having drought that’s impacted food production. I mentioned about how the entire province is expected to get warmer because of climate change. And, I even got him to agree that carbon taxation isn’t terrible as long as it can be seen to be doing the work of offloading our reliance on carbon-producing products.
What do these things have in common? Money.
People will believe whatever they want. But take it from someone who no longer has the mental fortitude to argue, it’s not worth trying to break through the compacted layers of mistruths. But if you can find the money toothpick holding that mistruth sandwich together, you might just get someone to pause to think for a beat.