Friday, October 17, 2008

When provided facts, why won’t Democrats at the very least-listen?

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

Have you tried having a conversation about politics with your Democratic friends and/or colleagues? Is there really a back and forth exchange of information void of emotional outbursts or some sarcastic remark? Are you able to get through three minutes of discussion before you get a “Yeah but …”? Have you ever timed how long it takes before you and your comments are dismissed “out of hand”-time it next time you try to speak with your democratic friends. Is it just my friends or have you noticed that no matter what facts or truths you present, your friends hold to their ground and almost with an attitude of “at any cost, we want someone different than Bush and your 8 years of Republicans? Ever asked your friends “Are things really so bad for you-have the last 7 years made life unbearable for you?” Their responses tell the story!

Why do people, when faced with facts contrary to their point of view, hold onto their beliefs? Why, when clearly the facts contradict a stated position held by another, are we so unwilling or unable to even listen and try on the “new information”? Sometimes I feel in my conversations with otherwise intelligent and amicable folks if I mentioned the sky is blue, I hear, “no it isn’t”! Such is the behavior of humankind.

I could dismiss this as a “human behavior” issue, why fight it IF this were not such an important election. Personally either party’s candidates do not thrill me and it is my civic duty to vote and this will be done. It comes down to, for me, what kind of America do I want to live in and what kind of America do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. By simply listening and reading each party’s platform there is a clear difference of opinion about the future of the USA culture and social behavior. I begin with a fundamental value-do I believe in personal responsibility? If yes, then of the two parties which one has economic, social and security policies consistent with my core belief-it is simple for me-it is the Republican Party.

“Successful families” seem to me operate with this simple strategy. Given our family’s beliefs, we make sure our child rearing practices are consistent with our beliefs. Why do some of us abandon this easy to understand principle when it comes to our national elections?

Here’s why. I find support by Mr. Obama’s legion of followers similar to a couple in the initial stages of a relationship. Have you personally experienced or had friends experience the following scenario:

“In the beginning stages all is wonderful-fact is we describe the new person in glowing and endearing terms. The person does “no wrong” and those slightly off target behaviors, aren’t they so cute or we excuse them by offering, oh, that’s just who ….is. After all, the person looks good, really speaks kindly to me and to others and always seems to know when ad how to say the right things to me-just when I need to hear something, boy, the words are soothing-I’m so lucky! TIME PASSES! Life continues, events, circumstances and situations arise-perfectly normal. However, our “partner” has changed, for some of us it seems like overnight; for others it is more subtle over time. Those once cute behaviors and/or words transform into annoying, disruptive and frankly intolerable actions. What happened to you? You’ve changed is often the refrain! Well, if one is willing to step back for a moment, take a few deep breaths and really analyze the “new situation” you find it is basically the same as it always was. Your perception of the words and behavior has changed. What you once tolerated you now find …! How can this be? We choose to ignore, we choose to dismiss words and behaviors that bother us early on in a relationship and we give the excuse “we are in love” –we actually rate them low in the total scheme of things. The truth is we don’t choose to look beyond the facade of the person we are attracted to-we even argue with others who contradict our view of our partner and dismiss out of hand anything someone offers-we are so caught up in the feelings, the desire to have someone in our lives who is so concerned about you. We fall prey to the old saying, “love is blind”-and so it often is!

Why then, when faced with the obvious do so many remain in the relationship and settle for something less than their original dream? Some but certainly not all do so because they have invested so much time, energy, and effort into the relationship. Some, not all, have invested so much of who they are as a person, they will not, cannot and/or chose to ignore the facts and turn deaf ears to any other position or point of view. How many people end up regretting this behavior, months, years later? Often it is to late, the damage has been done.”

I submit for consideration this is similar to Obama supporters today. If character matters in a leader –how can you ignore his relationships? If experience matters when it comes to governing, when it comes to actually demonstrating you have accomplished something other than eloquently speaking about it, how can you ignore this disconnect? If you tell us you believe in socialism and your tax plan is built upon this platform and you believe in capitalism and you have benefited from its practice, what allows you to look the other way?

I cannot tell you how many of my Democratic friends, intelligent and caring people, have become so dismissive towards information that runs contrary to their point of view. They tell me how open they are to change, to new ideas, how receptive they are to alternative points of view and then, in the next breath, dismiss Ms. Palin because of how she sounds when she speaks. They expose how they truly feel and how “deep” is their analytical ability-if you sound different, if you are not as “eloquent as our guy” then you need not be heard-and should not be heard so let’s demean you in order to discredit anything you might present as truth. They are so “caught up” in presentation and the attractiveness of Obama the substance of the talk does not matter. Is this true? All you have to do is listen and regrettably discover the most close-minded people you know are the ones who fancy themselves as the agents of change.

I say to my friends, you are better than this-please step back from the emotion, ask yourself what you want to leave for your family, investigate the facts beyond the current sources you use today. Allow yourself to hear the other point of view and then make an informed rather than an inflamed decision.

1 comment:

There is NO Santa Claus said...

The upcoming election reminds me of the 1976 election. Some of us saw through Jimmy Carter's phoniness. Others did not and permanently empowered an anti-Semite.

Jimmy Carter when he ran for President said he would "never" do anything to weaken Israel's ability to defend itself. Apparently Jimmy Carter doesn't know the meaning of the word "never".

The 1976 campaign pitted an imperfect Republican President with Watergate wrapped around his neck like a ball-and-chain against a Democrat who sold us on "hope" and "change".

Today, we have an imperfect GOP candidate with 8 years of the Bush Administration wrapped around his neck in likewise fashion. Once again, he's running against an eloquent candidate selling us "hope" and "change". A closer look at Sen. O'Bama shows him to be a candidate backed by Chicago machine politics with all kinds of Israel-haters hanging around with him and giving him encouragement.

Sen. O'Bama may turn out to be a fine President. There's no reason to think that can't happen. Yet, history shows us that there's good reason for concern.

And indeed, there are many partisan Democrats who do not want to listen to details that refute their world view.