News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
31st October 2008

Baffled by opposing views: do you hear what I hear?

posted in Just life, National issues |

These last few days, it’s as if I am slowly emerging from a self-inflicted burial, like a female version of The Awakening sculpture…  Blame it on family health concerns, turning 50 (UGH—did I actually admit that?), the imminent onslaught of winter, or the bleak fiscal environment that surrounds us. Whatever it is, I have been struggling to thwart this malaise, and one helpful distraction has been my preoccupation with the views of people I love and respect regarding the presidential campaign. How is it that intelligent people can have such divergent perspectives on the leading candidates? We watch the same debates but seem to hear different things. For instance, I hear Obama say he wants to redistribute the wealth by reducing the tax burden on those of us making less than $250K and make priority investments in areas such as energy, environment, and education. I like that. McCain’s response is that he will cut taxes for all people (Where’s the revenue to do anything?) and slash spending (What about vital services?) and provide a $5K credit for funding health insurance. (Good luck finding insurance for that $.)  Some in my family, many of whom also make less than $250K, aren’t comforted by Obama’s plans to help the middle class. They say he is inexperienced yet have no problem supporting Sarah Palin.

Perhaps it is because we are informed only by points of view that support and strengthen our preconceived ideas, so we don’t really hear anything except what we’ve already decided. In my family, we can’t even have a polite conversation about it. I tried at my birthday celebration last week; it lasted barely three minutes before voices were raised and accusations made about Obama’s alleged terrorist affiliations (oh come on!) and Palin’s cutesy ignorance—not much listening happened. Perhaps our voting choice is more about philosophical differences regarding the role of government, but even that seems an incomplete explanation. The fact is, most of my Republican family members share my values; apparently we don’t agree on which leader will take us there. For my part, I can’t understand how they can be good, smart people (which they are), yet so misguided. I just wish they would listen more closely…

There is currently one response to “Baffled by opposing views: do you hear what I hear?”

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  1. 1 On October 31st, 2008, Lynne said:

    Two words: Cognitive dissonance. :)

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