On Fox News Channel’s Gutfeld last night, guest Dennis Miller asked frequent guest Emily Compagno if she didn’t just feel hopeless about the way things are going in the United States. One of the things that had led to this was her denunciation of some pro-Palestinian protestors saying “shame on you” to people at a hospital for cancer patients. It was pretty disgusting.

The conversation that followed was one of the most interesting I’ve seen on Gutfeld and hard to replicate.

Miller was clearly saying that one should feel hopeless about the future of this country.

I’m not so convinced. It’s easy to find, in a country with over 300 million people, thousands here and thousands there who just act horribly. But what does that really say about the country?

I’ve been at two local events in the Monterey area in the last two weeks that attracted people of divergent political views. I live in a heavily Democratic area and I’m a libertarian who, right now, is registered Republican.

The first event was a Braver Angels event. It was dominated by people on the left. But what I noticed, besides that, was the good will among pretty much everyone. An economist friend who was there pointed out that you would expect that because of self-selection. Who goes to such an event when the explicit purpose is to have people of divergent views talk civilly to, and try to understand, others? People willing to do that.

But the second event was not at all guaranteed to have people select for reasonableness. It was a meeting with a local politician named Kate Daniels who is running for the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. She got to speak but people at each table got to speak also. She’s clearly a big-government person. One of her ideas that I disliked the most was to subsidize renters who are having trouble paying rent. Subsidizing demand while not allowing more supply is a bad idea.

Daniels faced a lot of pushback from various people. It got particularly heated when she was talking about a state requirement that, implemented by a local government agency, required Pacific Grove, the city where the event occurred, to allow the building of 1125 new housing units. Someone in the audience yelled out that he or she (I can’t remember who) wanted no new units. About 5 or so people (out of about 35 people) applauded. But Daniels argued effectively. She pointed out that it’s hard to find a doctor who will take you because even doctors who are starting out find the price of housing in the area daunting. That interaction was actually my favorite moment. It reminded me of my favorite moment in the movie Jerry Maguire. It’s when Cuba Gooding’s character, Rod Tidwell, says to Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, “You think we’re fightin’ and I think we’re finally talking.”

There were lots of differences among the various participants. But the discussion was totally civil. It’s one sample point, I know. But so was that horrible behavior outside the New York hospital.