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Paperback – 208 pages
6 Inches × 9 Inches (w × h)

Weight: 331.13 Grams
BISAC: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865719170
Pub. Date: 2019-12-10

About the Author

Erica Etelson

Erica Etelson is a writer, community activist, and certified Powerful Non-Defensive Communication™ facilitator. A former human rights attorney, she has advocated in support of welfare recipients, prisoners, indigenous peoples, immigrants, and environmental activists. She has also organized for clean, community-owned energy as a solution to the climate crisis. Following the 2016 election, Etelson became active in the resistance movement and in red-blue dialogue initiatives.  Her articles have appeared in the San Francisco ChronicleChristian Science MonitorSan Jose Mercury NewsTruthout and Alternet. She lives with her husband and son in Berkeley, California. 

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Beyond Contempt

How Liberals Can Communicate Across the Great Divide

by Erica Etelson



American politics has become a nasty blood sport, and each side bears responsibility for its part in deepening and inflaming the divide. Liberals often come across as self-righteous, condescending, and contemptuous of conservatives, an attitude that has magnified the appeal of right-wing populism. This superior attitude, especially when infused with classist scorn, antagonizes blue collar conservatives and entrenches their loyalty to Trump.

In Beyond Contempt, Erica Etelson shows how liberal disdain strengthens Trump’s hand and how liberals can instead communicate respectfully and effectively across the political divide without soft-pedaling their beliefs. Using Powerful Non-Defensive Communication,™ liberals can express themselves in ways that inspire open-minded consideration rather than defensive rejection. Providing detailed instruction and dozens of examples of questions and statements on hot button topics, Beyond Contempt shows how to engage in productive dialogue that defuses hostility, builds trust, opens hearts and minds, and -- just maybe -- discovers common ground.

Beyond Contempt is the must-have guide for anyone who has long wished that political discussions, and Thanksgiving dinner, didn’t end in frustration and anger. Equipped with this guide, liberals can begin to build bridges and heal a nation that has become perilously polarized.

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