Today’s song is ‘Exposure’ by Peter Gabriel, a quirky little song off his second solo album. Notice the scratches on the album cover. That’s kind of how I feel right now.
I’ve had quite the ‘exposure’ to new ideas over the past week. Being an avid Trump supporter, I’m encountering more and more moderates coming over to his side, and it’s exposing me to different ways of thinking that clash with my existing thinking.
That’s always a good thing–note my blog’s tagline, ‘clear thinking’–but sometimes it’s overwhelming.
Here are a few mindsets that I have encountered that have challenged me over the past few days:
- Immigration. On the Today Show the other day, Trump was asked if he would deport someone’s family member who had been in the country for 25 years. He said yes. (Tinfoil hat time: I don’t think she actually has a family member, because Trump’s answer didn’t faze her one bit. I suspect she was a plant.)On the one hand, how would I feel if that were my family member?On the other, what does the law say? And why would someone be in the country for twenty-five years and not bother becoming a citizen? Do you really have so little love and respect for this country that you would stay unregistered that long? Becoming a citizen costs around $10,000-$15,000 if there are no legal problems. Save less than $1,000 a year and you can become a citizen in no time.Tough questions.Build the wall.
- Transgendered people. I’ve run into a wall here, where my evangelical beliefs have been challenged. Are these people monsters? Are they child molesters in disguise? Are they mentally ill? What are they?Turns out not all of them are monsters. A lot of them look like the gender they identify with. Is that fine? Well…I don’t know how to answer that. It makes me want to cry. Do these people think that God making them male or female was a mistake? I don’t have an answer.I liked Trump’s answer: he said he would not have made a law. He would have left things as they were. I kind of agree with that. Making a law has caused more problems than it’s worth. We’ve already had instances of peeping Toms and troublemakers coming out to test the law. I think this probably kicked over a hornet’s nest that shouldn’t have been bothered with.Rules and laws don’t cause people to change their minds and hearts.But I’m still boycotting Target. Again, make a rule, people will take advantage of the rule, and until the hubbub dies down or they discard the rule, they don’t get my business.
- Israel. It turns out that it’s not simple to lump anti-Zionists into a single category. I thought they were all antisemitic, but now I wonder. Some claim that Palestine was taken from its rightful owners and Israel doesn’t have a right to exist.Post pro-Israel stuff even on a forum that says it’s politically incorrect and it turns out that this opinion isn’t very popular. But where does this opinion come from? Evangelical conditioning, of course.I liked Trump’s AIPAC speech–he made it clear that he supports Israel, but didn’t promise them aid, which is actually OK with Israel, apparently–our $3B a year is only a minor part of their budget, and they could get along fine without it.
So I thought that was interesting.
- Burning the flag. Again, conditioning: I grew up in Boy Scouts. I know how to respect and take care of the flag.
The Supreme Court says burning and disrespecting the flag is free speech, and…I don’t know what to say about that. It makes me angry that people are allowed to do this, but once you make one law, you establish a precedence, and other rights can be taken away based on precedence.So the only thing I can really do is put this in my mental box of ‘things that make me angry but can’t do anything about.’
The reason I’ve come to think about reasons two through four above is Reddit, through getting downvoted because of posting my unpopular opinion. It makes me come back and think, ‘okay, why do I have that opinion?’ And the answer is almost always: conditioning. Life isn’t black-or-white as I was taught by the church.
It’s good to have your viewpoints exposed and challenged. Sometimes it’s exhausting, though, and I have to turn off the news and Reddit and just do something else. I’ve picked up World of Warcraft again, but only as a part-time distraction instead of an obsession. It helps me get my mind off the real world when I’m immersed in a different world. Then I come back to the real world, refreshed. I’ve been able to balance things out over the past few days. It’s been kind of an emotional roller-coaster ride at times, though. Alas, life.
I think I need a book on clear thinking.