One of my correspondents told me that a member of a church choir, at a service in which the choir doesn’t wear robes (or, apparently, have a dress code) stood in front of the congregation wearing an “I am a deplorable” T-shirt. My correspondent wondered why no one objected.
This brought to mind an article a couple of days ago which addressed the question of why Trump's anti-Muslim remarks hadn’t been taken down by a social networking site since the site’s rules prohibit posts that denigrate anyone based on race, religion, etc. The site’s answer was that that taking down the remarks would have shut down an important debate among the site’s users.
The word "debate" has been coopted by people who don't know what it means, and who assume that the trash people sling at one another on line, and that the ad hominem attacks Trump has made on his detractors and his opponent constitutes debate.
If "Deplorable" had caused people to think, to debate, to question, I suppose the T-shirt is okay.
It is more likely, however, that those in the congregation who support Trump had their prejudices and biases reinforced and that those in the congregation who support Clinton had their prejudices and biases reinforced. Their minds are already made up, and there’s nothing likely to change them. Their hearts are hardened.
There’s an irony to this happening in a Christian church whose founding philosophy includes the story of how God kept “hardening the Pharaoh's heart” so that God could keep bullying the Pharaoh and the otherwise innocent Egyptian people. Yes, read the story (beginning in Exodus 7) closely. The Pharaoh was ready to give in several times, but God took away the man’s free will, made him change his mind, and sent another plague. If God were a middle-school student, today, he'd be suspended for the rest of his immortal life.
Should “churched” people support Trump? He did promise that if elected he would lift restrictions on non-profits and churches spending money on candidates campaigns and on making endorsements from the pulpit, opening up another avenue for elections to be bought.
On the other hand, Clinton has suggested she would attack “Citizens United,” the Supreme Court decision that allows nearly unrestricted anonymous money to be used to support candidates. It’s a nice thought, but it’s a “throwaway.” It's not going to happen. The Supreme Court almost never reverses itself. Congress might, if united, be able to do something to curtail “black money” in elections. But, since sitting congresspersons are the largest beneficiaries of that black money, it's not likely that they’d vote to curtail it. We're on the slippery slope, and gaining speed.
After writing this on Sunday, I wanted to find something in the news that was cheerful and upbeat with which to close.
Nothing from the UN News site except dire warnings and demands for more money.
"Discovery" reports Brazilian monkeys are making knives. Soon, they'll be killing one another with them (they already do so with rocks), and demanding a seat in the UN.
Nothing on "Spiegel" online... it's in German and I've forgotten too much. Wait... Google just translated it for me. Hmmm. Looks like the alt-right (Trump’s core supporters), the AFD, Le Pen, and others of that ilk are about to unite in a worldwide movement. Not good.
"Vietnam Breaking News" reports on an increase in global Daesh/ISIL attacks. Not good.
Checking Associated Press now... wait, please…
Yes! The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Go Cubs!
In a recent election, sociologists, talking heads, and politicians were bemoaning reports that young people were getting their news from television—not from the soi-disant news channels, but from a comedy show written around current events.
Today (2 August 2016) Dante Ramos in the Boston Globe bemoans the idea that people are getting their news from social media, and points out that Facebook’s software “shows people material that affirms their ideological instincts rather than challenging them.” (Please scroll down and read my 24 July 2016 blog on perceptual filters.)
Mr. Ramos also gives examples of misleading headlines and “news” from several sources, without taking sides in the current political debate. It’s a well-reasoned article. The link is below. Sorry, no short URL.
The greatest problem with the internet is that there are no gatekeepers. Anyone can say or post anything they want, and laws about slander and libel are often unenforceable with respect to public figures.
The second greatest problem is the one identified by Mr. Ramos: social media and search engines, in an attempt to show people what they want to see are reinforcing prejudices and shutting off real debate.
Where do you get your news? If you’re checking only one or two feeds, or watching only one television “news” channel, you may be putting your mind in a prison of its own making.
Where do I get my news? From the internet, but from a wide variety of sources ranging from the Boston Globe to Aljazeera, from the BBC to the Christian Science Monitor, from UN.org/news to seeker.com, and others including Google News.
Some of them make me uncomfortable. I’ll see a headline and mouse past it, because it’s not what I want to hear. As soon as I recognize this feeling, I’ll go back and read the article, knowing that it’s going to challenge my own preconceptions.
Which of these news and opinion sources is right? I have no idea; however, by reading a diversity of opinions and reports, I think I have at least surrounded the truth. And I know that I have opened the bars of my mental prison, at least a little bit.
Here’s the link to the Globe article:
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.