I could be wrong

Reader conversations, Frank Luntz, and Moore's Law. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Here’s a simple truth: Sometimes I’m wrong, and I have to change my mind.

I’m not saying that I’m constantly wrong. And I’m also not so convinced of my fallibility that I don’t have firmly held convictions. I do.

But remembering that I could be wrong about things I’ve come to believe, and even admitting that possibility to people I disagree with, usually makes life easier. It certainly defuses tensions.

The subscriber list for this newsletter seems to be really diverse—liberal and conservative, wealthy and not-so-wealthy, young and used-to-be-young. And a great benefit of that is the wide range of conversations I get to have with people.

Lately, I’ve had some really great discussions as a result of the last half dozen or so newsletters—via email and in phone calls. (I like doing phone calls with readers; I learn a lot.)

Some of these debates have really challenged me, pushing me in different directions all at once. I hope I’ve done some positive challenging, too.

We’ve debated things like the role of religion in protest, and separately about how people of different races can try to see things through each others’ eyes—and how to admit when we can’t.

We’ve talked about what “defunding the police” really means (probably fodder for a whole other discussion here at some point). And, another reader has pushed me hard on whether the last 10 days or so will truly prove to be the watershed moment that I suggested it will yesterday.

On that last point, time will tell, I suppose. Conveniently, it will probably tell pretty quickly.

Here’s Frank Luntz, a rather renowned and controversial GOP pollster.

After reviewing a survey that suggests 57 percent of people now believe police are more likely to use excessive force against African-Americans—up from 33 percent after the death of Michael Brown in 2014—he wrote:

“In my 35 years of polling, I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.

The consequences politically, economically, and socially are too great to fit into a tweet.

This is big. This is ‘Beatles on Ed Sullivan’ big.”

Literally, as I was digging up that tweet, I came across something else.

After decades of insisting it won’t consider renaming military bases that are named for Confederate leaders, the U.S. Army suddenly changed its mind, and now says it will look at changing the names of Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, and others.

I keep seeing people debate whether we’re enduring a more or less tumultuous year than 1968, which was 52 years ago.

Last weekend marked the anniversary of RFK’s assassination that year—two months after the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Fortunately, we haven’t seen that kind of political violence in 2020.

However, we have a speed factor now that didn’t exist then. Information just moves faster now. People are being challenged. Statistically, many seem open to changing their minds.

It feels like the equivalent of Moore’s Law, which observed that computer processor speeds would basically double every two years. Same thing now, only with social history.

If Luntz (the pollster) is right, we’re all sharing one of the greatest times of upheaval that most of us will ever see in our lifetime. For better or worse, now is the time we’ll decide what we want our society to be.

Of course, I could be wrong. But this time I don’t really think I am.

7 other things worth your time

  • The city of Los Angeles says it’s decided not to prosecute protestors who were arrested purely for curfew violations. (ABC7 Los Angeles)

  • I reported recently that the Oakland Athletics had decided not to pay their minor league players a $400-per-week stipend during the pandemic. Now, the A’s say they’ve reversed course. (Athletics Nation)

  • A 49-year-old finance marketing executive was incorrectly identified and doxed as a biker who allegedly assaulted a young girl for posting George Floyd posters in Maryland. A state official and the person who spread his name first apologized. (New York Magazine)

  • Here’s a detailed chronology of how the entire NFL did a 180-degree turn on the question of player protests, racism, and police brutality. (Axios)

  • The opinion editor at the New York Times resigned after controversy over whether the paper should have run an op-ed by a U.S. senator. (New York Times, $)

  • All of a sudden, wealthy homeowners are reportedly in a “mad rush” to leave San Francisco. (Bloomberg)

  • Least surprising news: the U.S. economy is officially in a recession, dating back to February — before lockdowns in the USA. (NPR)

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