There was a letter to the editor I read in Vanity Fair a few years ago, back when I did things like read Vanity Fair in print.

Sometimes I do this weird thing where something really hits me, really sticks, and I memorize it. I can’t do it on demand. I can’t etch textbooks in my mind before a test. But I still remember this letter to the editor, and I think I remember it word-for-word. My apologies if it’s yours, and if I’m rearranging your words accidentally.

This is what the letter said:

“The kernel of promise in free speech is discourse, but Americans have absolutely no interest in discourse. They react to perceived attacks on their deeply ingrained prejudices with vitriolic stupidity and this, to them, defines free speech.” 

The social media debates are raging on about the election, about the culture, about Chick-Fil-A.

And I wish Americans were interested in discourse.

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