20 November 2018

Life In A Bubble

I am well aware that I live in something of a bubble that insulated me from Christian conservatives. I'm aware that they are out there and I have no desire to interact with them socially. I think that their morals are deplorable and their lifestyle is self-destructive.

I've unfriended conservative on Facebook except for a few extended family members.

I live and work in the central part of a major central city in mostly affluent, liberal leaning neighborhoods. I rarely rub shoulders with farmers or blue collar workers in my personal life (although I do often enough in my professional life and do have cousins who are part of that world).

When I get news, I get it from the New York Times, CNN, the Denver Post, NPR and other bastions of the "mainstream media" which the right avoids because they think these sources have a liberal bias. I don't rely on Fox News, the least accurate of the big television networks which has a conservative slant.

When I watch entertainment programming, I am more likely to watch Marvel than D.C. Comics (the more liberal of the two major comic publishers). I am more inclined to watch the Santa Clarita Diet than I am NCIS. I enjoyed Remington Steele and Miami Vice more than Walker Texas Ranger.

When I listen to music, it is rock, or classical, or jazz, but almost never country music. I prefer a nightclub with house music or EDM to country line dancing or square dancing.

I am repulsed by the Confederate battle flag and Confederate monuments, even though I eat grits, biscuits and gravy, chicken friend steak, jambalaya, and other Southern foods (at least when I'm not on a diet). 

I drive an SUV or a small city car, not a pickup truck or a muscle car.

I have no problem if my children end up having relationships with someone of another race or the same sex, but would have to bite my tongue if one of them ended up with a conservative Christian Republican (something that fortunately appears to be a remote possibility given the friends and more than friends whom they have let us know about so far).

When it comes to sports and outdoor activities, I'd rather watch cricket than car racing. I'd rather hike than hunt. I prefer sailboats to motorboats. You'd have to pay me to watch WWF Wrestling, but I've spent time swimming in the ocean at several different Mexican resorts.

I am highly educated in both STEM and law, and trust knowledge obtained from academics and scientists. I even read scholarly journal articles in both science and non-science fields on a regular basis.

Almost all of my relatives went to college and most people that I know attended at least some college. My father went to graduate school at Stanford. My mother went to graduate school at the University of Chicago. I attended a top ten law school, and both my wife and my sister in law have master's degrees. Both of my wife's parents are medical doctors. My brother and I and our wives and my sister in law all attended selective liberal arts colleges, and my daughter is attending one right now. My sister in law's husband is a college graduate from an upper class New York City family. 

I do have friends from high school and before who didn't go to college including a few who went into the military. And, my father and his brother both served in the Army, I have a step-niece who is in the military, and my father in law served his required tour of duty in the South Korean military (all of them in peacetime). My best man at my wedding served in the National Guard (again, without being deployed). But, military service is mostly outside of my world and I specifically opted out of having military recruiters contract my children. The only extended family member who died in a war was a distant cousin who died in Vietnam. My patriline ancestor who came to the U.S. from Europe did so to dodge the draft in 1847. I couldn't identify someone's military rank by looking at their uniform, although I know far more about the military than most liberals of my social class.

I've never been arrested, but have been let of with warnings after traffic stops where I could have been ticketed or arrested several times. I've never bailed anyone out of jail. My entire legal experience with the criminal law first hand involves a few minor traffic tickets that were pleaded out and an appeal of a dog ordinance sanction from a municipal court. I don't fear for my physical safety when I walk around my neighborhood at night, even though I've been robbed at gunpoint right in front of my house, had a bike stolen off my front porch despite a bike lock, and had my car broken into two or three times. I usually lock my doors, but not without fail. The only people I knew growing up who have ever been to prison were school bullies. One was a rural poor kid who together with his big brothers beat up me and my friend in junior high school, he later went to federal prison for stealing social security checks. Another was a peer for a college professor father who went to prison for dealing drugs.

I would never report someone for drinking alcohol underage, using illegal drugs, being an adult prostitute or patronizing one, or an immigration violation, unless that tool were necessary to remove someone who was also a violent threat from my life or the life of a loved one. I don't consider any of those violations of the law to be in any way immoral or wrong, except for that fact that doing those things exposes you to law enforcement scrutiny.

My family has never been without health insurance, although we've had to pay dearly for it at times. We've never gone hungry. We've never been homeless. We've always had computers and books in our home, and we've had high speed internet access at home for as long as that has been a thing. We've always had a car. We've never had to share our home with extended family or another family for any extended period of time. I've never smoked tobacco and never had a drinking problem or a drug addiction.

I am an atheist who hasn't attended church except at Christmas for about nineteen years, except that my wife and I had briefly tried a Unitarian-Universalist church when our kids were elementary school aged (I maintain an affiliation with the American Humanist Association which historically emerged out of the Unitarian-Universalist denomination). I attended a church that was part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) when I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado for a few years (mostly the evening service), the Korean language services at a Korean Presbyterian Church when I lived in Buffalo, an Episcopal Church in college, and an ELCA Lutheran Church (and some of its pre-merger antecedents) growing up. Basically, my upbringing was in mainline Protestant churches, although the Korean Presbyterian Church had a bit of an Evangelical flavor culturally and a bit of a Confucian ethical substrate.

My interactions with the Roman Catholic Church have mostly been in scholarship (religious and secular), music, art, weddings and funerals. I've only attended Pentecostal Churches once or twice, once at an Assemblies of God Church that my in laws belonged to. Likewise I've had only rare and sporadic direct encounters with Evangelical Christian churches, the Mormon religion, and black Christian churches. My kids have probably spent as much time as Jewish religious services (bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, and funerals, for example) as they have at Christian ones (mostly Christmas with my grandparents). I am not unaware of Muslims in my community and have some sense of what goes on in Muslim religious rites (in part from a couple of classes I took in college), but I haven't had much contact with that either. And, I likewise have little contract with Hindu religious practice, something that I mostly know about through television, movies and anthropology.  

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