My father was very liberal, and my mother was very conservative. Growing up, I didn’t sort them (or others) into categories like that, and they didn’t talk about politics to me. I just knew them as mom and dad, and I loved and respected them both — even though they were extremely different from one another.
They were both brilliant people. My father was left-brained — a globally-recognized civil engineer — while my mother’s right-brain dominance helped her experience the world through emotion and art. He taught me to analyze serious questions from every possible angle, and she taught me to listen to my heart.
Between them, they inadvertantly taught me that it’s okay to have differing views — even VERY different views — and that someone who sees the world differently from me is not evil. I often think people are wrong (really! often! haha), but I rarely think they’re deliberately trying to harm others. (Note: There ARE a few exceptions to this.)
I live in a nuanced world. There is no single answer to most questions, and all points of view have at least some merit, even when I don’t ultimately agree.
It’s become a very lonely political space, and every day I feel further removed from my friends and neighbors who so easily attack those who don’t agree with them.
Last night, I zoomed the school board meeting, where townspeople (and even people from other towns 🙄) voiced their opinions about a book in our high school library that had been challenged. There were two microphones set up for their views: one in favor of keeping the book available to all students in the school, and the other wanting the book removed from the high school library entirely.
Many of the people who spoke, whether in support or against, addressed the book itself; its value / merit / flaws. Some got lost in the weeds. But one spoke instead about his neighbors and fellow townspeople with whom he did not agree.
He called them fascists.
Yeah… okay. There’s always one or two that can’t help themselves. They are so consumed by political hyperbole and dogma — so far down the rabbit hole — that they’ve lost the thread. But he was supported by applause. And that, to me, signifies that a lot of people in that room last night agreed that disagreeing was fascism.
I was, and remain, appalled.
People voicing concern about young teens’ exposure to more sexually-explicit content than they are ready for is not fascism, people, anymore than supporting that book as appropriate for 14 year olds is pedophilia.
Here we are in the Information Age, but nobody can use an ordinary dictionary?
“Pedophile!” “Groomer!” “Fascist!”
None of these are accurate in terms of how one views that book’s appropriateness in the high school.
They do share something in common, though: they are vicious and divisive.
I was on zoom last night instead of in that auditorium because there was no microphone for me. There was only room for up or down, yes or no, “good” and “evil”. Nobody seems to realize (or care) that there are non-polarized points of view.
I’m starting to think I’m alone on the planet. I have no voice.
Nowhere is there a microphone for me.