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!
Facts and truth are essential. Donald Trump says he wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico. His rhetoric has created a wall in people's minds. This wall is a perceptual filter. People who favor him and the border wall will allow through that filter and into their minds only information (whether true or not) that supports their position. People who oppose him and the border wall will allow through their filter and into their minds only information (whether true or not) that supports their position.
We all build these walls, walls that surround beliefs we hold. A child who has decided he or she doesn't like broccoli isn't going to be swayed by a parent saying, “It's good for you.”
These walls work both to reject information that conflicts with our preconceived notions and to pass through information that supports our preconceptions.
A person who likes Hillary Clinton will dismiss anything said against her and accept anything, true or false, that favors her. A person who likes Trump will dismiss anything said against him and accept anything, true or false, that favors him.
Research in psychology and neuroscience has shown fairly conclusively that the walls we build in our mind to protect our beliefs not only are strong but also are not broken down by an attack but rather are strengthened by an attack.
Facts and truth that conflict with preconceptions are an attack, a frontal attack, on those walls. They are likely to strengthen people's walls. The goal of a writer (even a curmudgeon) is to create cognitive dissonance, a tension in people's minds between their preconceived notions and new ideas.
I see two ways of breaking down such walls: undermining them or creating a new belief that is non-threatening and which sounds plausible. In other words, I need to write in a way that allows the reader to willingly suspend his or her disbelief in what I say. I need to write in a way that either undermines without attacking or creates a new belief that might cause the reader to question other beliefs.
Sounds hard. Really hard.
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.