May 19, 2024

Conflicting Political Opinions

Yesterday I happened to run into an associate from my former job. He and I worked together at a company very similar to The Incredibles’ Insuricare for at least a decade or so, and we both quit at about the same time. Amusingly, we’re about the same age, and the last couple of years have been much the same for both us. He and I both traveled to a number of different countries, albeit advocating opposite messages. While I was speaking at various secular and skeptical conferences, he was an evangelical minister on a mission.


This is someone I like. I see him as one of those naturally good-hearted people who connect with religion only because they were conditioned to associate goodness with godliness. He’d still be just as compassionate if he did not believe. Knowing him, it seems to me that his humanitarian efforts and concerns for humanity are laudable because they stem from his innate humanism. He thinks that comes from believing in God. I think he believes in the Bible because he’s a good guy who was duped by religion and doesn’t know any better. Regardless, he’s always been very friendly and respectful with me, and I’ve consequently never seen much need to argue with him.

Well, there was that time when my granddaughter was dying of leukemia. He tried to comfort me by offering to pray for us. And I asked him whether he could feel comforted by a grown man offering to write a letter to Santa Clause on his behalf. Then there was the only time we ever spoke about science. He asked me how I can ignore or dismiss the evidence of creation. So I sent him a brief explanation proving there is no evidence of creation, but that I can show him all evidence of evolution that he would ever need to see. He said he would get back to me eventually. But that was back in 2012, and he never said another word about it. Thus I can guess that he doesn’t want me to challenge his beliefs.

That said, he told me yesterday that he doesn’t watch mainstream news, ever since he came back from Vietnam and saw how that war was misreported and misrepresented. He said the problem with CNN and the like are that they’re biased. But he says he watches Fox News instead, which is about as biased as it gets. So he still isn’t seeing any actual news. I told him I was inspired by Bernie to run for office, but he reacted the way I’d expect a Fox News viewer to react. He said he disagrees with Bernie, but that disagreement seems to be limited to a misunderstanding of both the meaning of the word, socialism, and its relevance in this case.

We were both out doing our business and couldn’t talk more than a couple minutes. So I sent him the following email explaining how I would like to better understand his position and see if he cares to understand mine–since he lives in my district and could actually vote for me.

One of the platforms of my campaign is an attempt to reach out to moderate Republicans. I doubt very much whether the common worker’s top priority is prohibiting where trans people can pee. I think they have more serious concerns that cannot and will not be addressed by the current administration. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk policy yesterday, and I’d like to try that with you.
My disadvantage is that I can’t understand how anyone could side with anything the GOP ever says. Nor have I ever heard a legitimate complaint against Bernie’s policies, which are very close to my own. Instead the GOP is now systematically undermining or reversing every step of progress we’ve made in decades, not just by overturning or minimizing human rights advances for women and minorities and abandoning the environment to promote war over fossil fuels at the cost of all that is sane or sensible; they’re undoing every good thing we’ve ever done. They’re taking us back to the “good ol’ days” of 100 years ago, when poor children had no compulsory education and worked in heavily polluting unregulated factories with no unions or health care, and no regulations for housing, food, natural resources, or anything else. Every time Republicans are in charge, they reverse the economy too. They’re still promoting the failed system of Reaganomics, from which we’ve still hadn’t recovered.
Whether we’re talking about foreign or domestic issues, jobs, crime, education, health care, or the standard of living that actually made America great, I think all the data now shows that the solution to so many of our problems is to do the very opposite of whatever the Republican party is always trying to do. So it would be to my benefit if I could have that talk with you: to see how you interpret what is going on, and find out why you’re not seeing the same things I am.

I’m not going to wait for his reply. Nor will I post that reply if it ever comes. Instead I’ll see whether anyone reading this can offer reasonable explanations to help me understand the concerns of mainstream moderate Republicans, while being unafraid to understand my position at the same time. Just know that if the comments aren’t civil and rational, don’t expect me to respond to them or consider them either.

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