Wednesday, June 28, 2017

EXCELLENT ESSAY: An insider explains why rural, Christian white America will never change

Anyone who has tried to reason with a Republican voter wedded to racism, fear and right-wing propaganda ("they're going to take away our guns!" "the Mexicans are taking our jobs!" "the blacks are lazy moochers!") knows you cannot break through the barriers they have put up to facts that are recognized and accepted as truth by everyone but them.  No matter how much logic is used, no matter how much factual evidence is presented, their small-box barriers will not allow truth to penetrate.  And so--stuck in a deep groove of a stultifying belief system--they go on, year after year, voting against their own interests and the interests of their families and fellow citizens. Though Donald Trump cares nothing about them or their problems, he is using their entrenched beliefs against them, in order to gain further power and wealth for himself and his family. Right now his strategy is working with these voters who still cheer him at his rallies, but the clock is ticking on Trump and his band of thieves, as truth is beginning to catch up with them. 

Clicking on the following link will take you to an intelligent assessment of why these people vote as they do, written by an author who has lived it. He speaks of the people we all know--the ones who will defend Donald Trump unto death, even when (as is happening now) their own GOP Congress is either deserting him or are just not paying attention any longer to what he says or does. He has now even lost credibility with them. He is proving to be the obstructionist in their midst while they are the obstructionists in the midst of our country, tearing down the benefits and shredding the rights we Americans have sought to preserve in our democratic republic over the centuries.

These poor deluded voters, manipulated by their fears and unable to discern truth from lies, consistently vote against their own interest. Unfortunately, their votes affect us all, giving us presidents and Supreme Courts who take us backwards instead of leading us to greater good. This sad, frustrating story is wisely understood and brilliantly presented by the author:

Fundamentalism, racism, fear and propaganda: An insider explains why rural, Christian white America will never change

EXCERPT:  Are rural, Christian, white Americans scared? You're damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Hell no. The problem isn't understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don't have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears.

I don't have a good answer to this question. When a child has an irrational fear, you can deal with it because they trust you and are open to possibilities. When someone doesn't trust you and isn't open to anything not already accepted as true in their belief system, there really isn't much, if anything you can do. This is why I think the whole, "Democrats have to understand and find common ground with rural America," is misguided and a complete waste of time. When a 3,000-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.

Do you know what does change the beliefs of fundamentalists, sometimes? When something becomes personal. (We can only hope!)

...What I understand is that rural, Christian, white Americans are entrenched in fundamentalist belief systems; don't trust people outside their tribe; have been force-fed a diet of misinformation and lies for decades; are unwilling to understand their own situations; and truly believe whites are superior to all races. No amount of understanding is going to change these things or what they believe. No amount of niceties will get them to be introspective. No economic policy put forth by someone outside their tribe is going to be listened to no matter how beneficial it would be for them. I understand rural, Christian, white America all too well. I understand their fears are based on myths and lies. I understand they feel left behind by a world they don't understand and don't really care to. They are willing to vote against their own interest if they can be convinced it will make sure minorities are harmed more. Their Christian beliefs and morals are truly only extended to fellow white Christians. They are the problem with progress and always will be, because their belief systems are constructed against it.