On New Day this morning, CNN’s lack of self-awareness was obvious as they complained that political discourse in this country had reached “toxic levels” because of the 'Let's Go Brandon' joke. On screen it read, "Juvenile rhetoric: Liberals, conservatives fight over 'Let's Go Brandon' insults." No one seemed to remember “comedian” Kathy Griffin posing with a bloodied, severed head of President Trump, or singer Madonna telling a feminist crowd in Washington D.C. that she wanted to “blow up the White House” right after Trump’s inauguration. But “F-Joe Biden” was a new low in our culture, according to co-hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar.
Berman noted, "I think it is safe to say that the political discourse in the United States right now is not kind." He then brought on senior political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers to plug her new book called “Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered, and Learn to Coexist with People Who Drive You Nuts,” which is pretty self-explanatory in its theme.
Powers, a professed Christian who’s also a pro-choice Democrat, told CNN how she regretted being “in a rage, hating half the country” and wanted to share her lessons of tolerance and grace with others.
"And I say it as a person who has been where everybody else has been where I hit the -- I just hit that wall and it said, this is unsustainable. I can't keep doing this. I can't keep being in a constant rage all the time and hating you know, half of the country and I settled on this idea of grace," she began. Powers argued grace wasn't about being a pushover or agreeing with everyone, but recognizing their humanity:
And so it is just the idea of looking at other people and seeing the humanity in them and you see that not because of anything they have done, not because you like them, not because they think like you do, but you recognize this is another person, who is allowed to not be me without being demonized. And so, you know, to me the opposite of grace is demonization.
This is a message that most people on the right completely agree with already. It's the left that has become militantly intolerant in recent years. But the really incredulous part of all of this, is having this kind of message come from CNN. The same CNN who spent all of the Trump years calling 74 million voters “racists.” The same CNN who was sued for vilifying Catholic teenagers in MAGA hats for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Among their daily barrage of attacking conservatives as white supremacists and domestic terrorists.
To her credit, Powers herself apologized in 2019 for participating in this same toxic culture she is now denouncing in her book. Perhaps CNN could clean up their act and admit their own role in this toxicity before complaining about it. But then what would Brian Stelter have to talk about?
CNN’s one-sided concern for civility was paid for by advertiser AT&T, whom you can contact at the Conservatives Fight Back page linked.
Read the transcript below:
CNN New Day
JOHN BERMAN: All right, I think it is safe to say that the political discourse in the United States right now is not kind. Right?
BRIANNA KEILAR: Not kind.
BERMAN: There is a lack of kindness.
KEILAR: The opposite of kindness.
BERMAN: There is a rise in toxicity. It is just there and the question is what do you do about it? What do you do about it as a person? How can you live your life when there is so much rage flying around everywhere? We're lucky to have a friend who has written a book on this subject, Kirsten Powers, CNN’s senior political analyst and USA Today columnist. She is author of the new book out today called "Saving grace: Speak your truth, stay centered and learn to co-exist with people who drive you nuts." I've been waiting for this. I remember talking about it two years ago and I was so excited to get my hands on it and read my way through it. Because I feel like we all need some help here on how to navigate this.
KIRSTEN POWERS: Yes, yeah.
BERMAN: You say the answer is grace.
POWERS: I do. And I say it as a person who has been where everybody else has been where I hit the -- I just hit that wall and it said, this is unsustainable. I can't keep doing this. I can't keep being in a constant rage all the time and hating you know, half of the country and I settled on this idea of grace, which I think a lot of people have a lot of misunderstanding -- they have -- a lot of people when they think of grace, they think of rolling over, being nice, letting people do whatever they want, and that's not what grace is. And so I use the Christian paradigm, but you don't need to be a Christian to use this, which is unmerited favor. And so it is just the idea of looking at other people and seeing the humanity in them and you see that not because of anything they have done, not because you like them, not because they think like you do, but you recognize this is another person, who is allowed to not be me without being demonized. And so, you know, to me the opposite of grace is demonization. So when you use grace, you look at the person, you discerningly say, this is not okay, I am not saying we shouldn't be calling out things that are wrong. I am not saying that we can't be angry. Angry -- being angry is good. You should be angry when you see injustice. You should be angry when you see people doing things that are harmful. But what do we do with that anger? I think that's what a lot of people are wrestling with.
KEILAR: You have this journey you talk with a lot of different people about how to come to this point. I will say is just in time for Thanksgiving, right? Where so many people come together and they will be with family members that maybe they don't agree with. How can they put this perspective into practice?
POWERS: So I tried to make the book very practical. Because when I settled on this idea of grace, I said, how do I get from here to here? What are the actual practical steps? And I think when you think about a Thanksgiving dinner, one of the things that I found was the ultimate tool is boundaries. And so rather than going down the road of demonizing the person or maybe even dehumanizing the person, which we see a lot in our culture, it is to use boundaries, it is basically to say maybe you're going to set some boundaries around dinner. Maybe you're going to say ahead of time, like here are the things we're going to talk about and here are things we're not going to talk about. Or let's talk about it. But here are some boundaries about how we can talk about it. You can't speak to me with contempt. You can't yell at me. You can't generalize about things and these kinds of things. I also think if you adopt a posture of grace, you see your family member as more than the thing that they believe, right? That they're not just that. That they are other things. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't be upset about what they believe, it just means that there are also other things and, you know, your mom who is saying some things that are upsetting you is also your mom who, you know, taught you all of these wonderful values, who was at your Little League games and all these other things. So if we can try to see the humanity in other people, that can lead us to having better conversations and I have a whole chapter on embracing healthy conflict, how do you have these conversations in a way that is healthy and that both sides can walk away and say we may not agree, but I felt heard and I felt seen and maybe someone actually does change their mind at some point.