Yoichi Funabashi on Tolerance

“If society becomes characterized by intolerant divisions, then democracy’s foundational principles, rooted in careful deliberation and compromise, will be rendered inoperable.” —Yoichi Funabashi (2017)

I find Yoichi’s story quite captivating:

I find myself returning to the words of a friend I met in Washington late last August: “I think there is a gap in the ways that the elites and the general public react to Trump. The elites don’t take Trump seriously, but they take everything he says literally. Ordinary people don’t take Trump’s every word literally, but they do take him seriously.”

What I think my friend meant by this was that the average angry American didn’t hang on Trump’s every utterance. These Americans were happy to support Trump simply because the elites feared him. This was what they took seriously. But the elites viewed Trump as a transient phenomenon; from the beginning, they never took him seriously as a political adversary. Elites were reluctant to accord any political legitimacy to the white supremacist undertones of Trump’s statements. They wanted to eradicate the power of his words.