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The other day on social media someone asked a very earnest, polite question about a left issue and a commenter jumped in and said: “It’s not her job to do that intellectual labor for you. It’s not the job of the oppressed to educate you. Google it, if you’re curious about our issues.” It was hostile and it was totally self-defeating — and I’ve seen it a million times. It’s a small-time power play, a short-sighted assertion of dominance (via victimood) in place of a lucid and helpful explanation that will win people to your side. The next day I heard Republican Sen. Ben Sasse on the radio taking caller questions and he was smart, forthcoming, friendly, serious, tried to engage with each caller on a personal level. I disagree with Sasse on almost everything, but I found myself actually thinking about his ideas because he was explaining them so clearly and openly. He was getting to me. He and others who understand how to engage and persuade (and charm) are going to win unless we get past: “It’s not her job to answer your questions, Google it.”

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