Tag Archives: politics

All the -isms

If you have to have an opinion about something, be cognizant of the fact that your thoughts and your perspective are not shared by everyone.

I’ve figured out the -isms:  racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Ready for this? It has to do with heuristics, bias, education, and mental flexibility. In fact, I would like to posit that avoidance of the discomforts of cognitive dissonance is why some Christians can justify hate and intolerance.

When a person grows up in a black-and-white world (and by this, I mean an environment in which there is only right and wrong–there is no gray area), he or she (or they or them–it’s 2017) consciously and subconsciously “sorts” things, ideas, and stimuli into either the “good” bucket or the “bad” bucket.

Let’s go deeper. Growing up in this type of environment means that good/bad (and right/wrong and heaven/hell) decisions are made on a very regular basis. As a child develops, he or she begins to automate many of these “sorting” decisions. In the absence of excellent (or even somewhat decent) education, these heuristics become engrained.

Follow this chain of logic:  crimes are bad things –> committing crimes is bad –> people who commit crimes are bad –> [turns on tv] that guy who committed a crime is bad –> people who look like that guy are bad –> black people are bad.

Even in the face of empirical evidence that what they believe is “right” is so very, very wrong, they will insist that they are correct in their belief, as their “beliefs” have become immutable facts in their minds.

When one blindly supports a political party and then, therefore, a particular politician, simply because that party’s ideals broadly correspond to their religious upbringing, any questionable act or outright travesty of justice calls into question the trajectory of their entire lives, and therefore, the deity they worship.

Because it is fundamentally uncomfortable to question one’s own ingrained beliefs, the least psychologically stressful option is to continue to defend one’s original right/wrong bucket.

Consider these quotes:

  • “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle
  • “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” -Robert Frost

Why talk about this now? At no time in my life have I found this to be more relevant. It hurts me to see people praise or decry a particular governmental action (or a general political leaning) without a rational reason to do so. I also can’t stand to see a person claim a particular Bible verse to defend or denounce someone or something–and completely ignore not only the context of the passage, but the totality of the contents of the Good Book.

Simply consider another perspective, as I have here. I recognize that many haven’t been afforded the educational opportunities I’ve had in my life, and I recognize that my life experiences have demanded that I be receptive to (and respectful of) opinions diametrically opposed to my own. Recognize that objective truth and subjective truth are one and the same for the vast majority of the populace.

Can we all be so open-minded? No, but we can try. We can explore cultures other than our own. We can talk to people with whom we wouldn’t normally converse. We can push our boundaries and expand our comfort zones. We can listen. We can read [something other than mainstream media]. We can question. We can learn. We can try.

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Office Ungifting

If you have to give a gift at work because it’s the fucking holidays and you’re one of those stupid-ass bitches who buys gifts for everyone in the whole office, don’t expect for one fleeting second that you’ll get one back from me. I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU, SHARON. DON’T BUY ME A STUPID PRESENT. Also, Barbara–fuck you. Fuck you and your fucking jelly beans. Jelly beans are not seasonally appropriate!

…And Jessica, I do not appreciate that you got me a thoughtful present that I actually like. I now have to expend the tiny amount of time and sanity and money I have left on buying you something nice and that clearly demonstrates that I give approximately one-half of an actual fuck about you. Stop being awesome, Jessica. It’s too much for me to handle during this ridiculous season.

Can we all just not? I mean, Tina needs to bring in her amazing cookies, and Brian can buy us all drinks after work on Tuesday, but that’s it. Let’s just say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘happy holidays’ or ‘pleasant winter’ or ‘seems like it’s getting a bit cold outside, huh Jeff?’ or whatever the hell we’re allowed to say these days. No presents.

Waxing Political

If you have to talk about politics, do it in your car. When you’re by yourself. With the windows rolled up.

In general, I don’t talk about politics. In specific, I never fucking talk about politics. Trumpeting your political views is one of the quickest ways to make my eyes glaze over. Really, all you’re doing is telling me about your feelings. I don’t actually have feelings, so hearing about yours irritates me. The overarching problem is that people are too emotional to actually hold a conversation in which there is any discussion about politics.

Political discourse digs at the very core of human nature. To remove the passion and the emotion from the conversation is impossible, so it’s my position that discussing politics should be outlawed because the interpretation of facts is skewed by one’s political leanings.

So… shh.