Brandon Stanton, the guy who runs the digital empathy farm “Humans of New York,” recently decided to go public with his very brave belief that Donald Trump is bad. He was reluctant to do so, however, because he doesn’t like to be political—so reluctant, in fact, that he talked to the New York Times all about it.
“I saw my decision as a trade-off between upsetting people and making a strong moral statement,” he told the Times. “I was nervous...But eventually I closed my eyes and hit ‘post.’”
“I think there was a power in speaking directly to Donald Trump, rather than writing a think piece about him, ” Stanton said, betraying a very unusual understanding of what it means to speak directly to someone. “It also gave people who I think feel very strongly about him a chance to speak directly to him.”
More than 2 million people “liked” Stanton’s post, and more than 1 million “shared” it. (It went, as they say, “viral.”) He’s not in it for attention, though. Just ask him!
“It’s impossible to do this job without a strong sense of humility,” Stanton said. “That’s what it takes to be able to intensely listen as if each person’s viewpoint was as valid as your own.”
He interjected, with a kind of perverse pride, “I’m the only person with a New York Times best seller that gets treated in the street like a homeless person every single day.”
What a thing to say! Also:
At Starbucks, he projected a similar intensity, reddening from time to time, describing his work with a missionary zeal. He grasped this reporter’s arm repeatedly to hammer home a point, and from time to time clamped a hand over hers, lest she somehow misinterpret him.