22 June 2020

Why Are They This Way? What Can We Do To Change Them?

On Facebook someone said
Try to think about how people became this way. Why do they think it is right? What can we do to respect people and talk across the divide? 
in response to this post:

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, shoes, beard and outdoor
PucktographyJune 2 at 1:22 AM ·

This evening the town of Coeur d'Alene Idaho heard rumors that the same people who rumored to come in white vans into Spokane Washington last night were headed there. It was said these were the instigators that ruined a otherwise peaceful protest, broke into local business and vandalized. The local militia men and women responded with arriving all over downtown guarding all the major intersections. Store owners were boarding up their windows in preparation, while sentinels stood guard and others watched or enjoyed the local food and drink. There were some peaceful protesters there as well that were not bothered or hurt by the armed guards. North Idaho will not put up with Antifa or any group that threatens their towns. As always feel free to share and regardless of your political affiliation or viewpoints I hope you stay safe and enjoy the photos.
My response was as follows:
"What can we do to respect people and talk across the divide?" 
"We" in the general public can't talk across the divide. The gap is too wide and there is a metaphorical soundproof wall between us. All messages from the mainstream media, scientists, academia, school teachers, government officials, and "liberals" has been put on "blocked/ignore" status. Any talking to change their minds has to come from within - their extended families, or their own clergy, or people they do business with, or former members who have second thoughts.  
In the big picture, people in these communities are driven to this kind of movement and evolve culturally into this (1) through decades of economic stagnation and economic insecurity for non-college educated white men since the early 1970s that has left them with daily struggles and impaired their ability to have stable marriages, which they are seeking to blame on any scapegoats that they can (mostly the wrong ones like gays, blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants, rather than big business and government indifference), (2) the development of a white supremacist prison gang movement initially as a way to unite in response to minority street gangs that extended into prisons, that has continued to be a part of their lives after getting out, and (3) encouragement from sources like Fox News, less mainstream far right media and social network sources, clergy, and GOP leaders. This has also been plugged into a pre-existing anti-intellectual, law disregarding mountain man ethos in places like Idaho.  
Policies that would increase economic security for working class men, and that would reduce mass incarceration, would prevent prison gang formation when people are in gangs, and would encourage reintegration after getting out, and focusing on taking down demagogues in the GOP and corporate support for forces like Fox News, would help end these movements. 
GOP leaders know this in their bones even if they don't consciously understand things in those terms, which is why they are so adamantly opposed to universal health care, social services programs, minimum wage support, paid leave, and labor unions would would take away the economic stagnation and insecurity and fear that drive conservative political movements.


neo said...

off topic but coronavirus cases are going up in some places in summer, despite predictions of going down due to heat and humidity and UV sunlight like the seasonal flu and cold

andrew said...

Noted. I discuss COVID-19 trends a lot on FB which is more "in the moment" because the posts quickly seem dated here.