Debra Messing, left, and Eric McCormack participate in the “Will & Grace” panel during the NBC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Welcome to Unsolicited Advice, the weekly column where I give advice no one asked for to people I don’t even know.
Last week I advised parents who feel their best days were behind them to rethink that very sad position. This week I switch gears to address some celebrity offenders.
The internet was abuzz with cheers, criticism and ridicule for Will & Grace stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack when they tweeted requests to out every Hollywood Donald Trump donor at an upcoming Beverly Hills fundraiser event. Messing said “the public has a right to know” and McCormack seemingly suggested a sort of blacklist, saying the attendee list should be released so “we know who we want to work with.” Debra and Erick, I have some advice for you.
Widen your circles.
You see, your level of outrage directly correlates to the level of your social isolation. People who have a diverse group of friends may feel disdain or even hatred for the man in the White House, but they don’t feel like everyone who doesn’t think like them is an enemy. That’s because they can look at the people they’ve cultivated relationships with and see that despite their differences those people are neighbors, not adversaries.
I’m going to crib this thought from my friend Kristy Swanson and tell you that if you two didn’t live in such a bubble you wouldn’t even a need a list because you’d already know who they were.
It is hysterical that you seem to think you don’t already work with Republicans, don’t already interact daily with Trump supporters. The walls of your bubble are so thick you don’t even question for one moment that your politics aren’t shared by everyone. You feel free to talk to everyone around you as if they already agree with you. If you’d ever stopped to really get to know a wider range of people you might have discovered there are quite a few who don’t.
Not only that, those people aren’t the monsters and bigots you’ve imagined them to be but most likely hard-working, caring people. You probably already think some of them are hardworking, caring people…you just don’t know they’re Republicans.
You may be saying right about now, “I’m standing for justice and righteousness so if that’s a bubble, I’m all for it!”, but let me posit this to you. People who deliberately and self-righteously close their ranks in the name of justice typically end up being bigots. It’s what marks white supremacists. It’s what marks you, too.
But this isn’t just advice for you, Debra and Erick. This is advice for every adult out there. We should all be at least willing to expand our circles. There is a comfort in intimately knowing people who challenge your ideas and make you angry. It conditions you to understand that differences can be overcome. It prepares you for the myriad of trying relationships you will have in your life, be it work, family or otherwise. It softens you.
You don’t have to change your mind about your ideas. You just have to be willing to change your mind about your neighbors. You just have to decide that everyone has something interesting and positive to offer you, until they prove otherwise.
Don’t live the rest of your lives so narrowly focused on this one man in this one time that you miss all the good people around you. Open your mind a bit, and maybe even your heart. Lead with curiosity rather than rage and see how it changes your view of those you think you could never love.
Debra, Eric…get out of that bubble. You guys must be smothering to death in there