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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rigid Liberals/Rigid Conservatives

When Obama was running for president for the first time, my neighbor said to me, "My acupuncturist says that when people are tortured, it affects their brain. And after that, they're never the same again. They can't think straight, and they can't be trusted in a crisis. John McCain was kept a prisoner in Vietnam and he was tortured. That means he can't think straight. He should never be president."

I was not a McCain supporter, then or now.  I strongly disagree with many if not most his policies. But the idea that his experiences in Vietnam would rule out the possibility of his ever being president--?

I said, "Oh, I know. I know. Just like Nelson Mandela. And Martin Luther King. The way their jail time and torture permanently affected their thinking, too."

There was a long pause. Finally, "Oh," she said. "I guess you're right. But. . . " and she launched into another reason why McCain was mentally unstable.

I know plenty of rigid Conservatives, people whose ideas somehow preclude their ability to think. I met one of those last night, at a religious gathering, an older man who insisted that peanut allergies were fake, made up by helicopter parents so they could justify hanging around their kids. This was a man, who, when confronted with the reality of the dangers of peanut allergies, then insisted that "well, then, those kids should go to their own special school and not inconvenience all the other kids."

I had never, though, thought of a rigid liberal, but now I know they do exist. What is it about people that makes them want to stop thinking? Stop questioning? My neighbor was flattened with grief when her husband died. Would she wish someone else to say, "The brains of those who suffer from depression are never the same again?"

Why would this guy fight passionately for something he literally know nothing about--he had never met any child or parent with a peanut allergy, and I would be willing to bet, has no children of his own?

Why do so many people opt for black-and-white rather than stripes, or plaid or shades of gray?

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