Babble On


By Peter McConnell

The architects of our nation knew the critical importance of a maliable constitution, and the need to always challenge the laws that would govern an ever-evolving and progressive nation, without drifting from its core values. A liberal party served an invaluable role to this end, while honoring the fundamental tenets around which we would remain united. How often are we reminded of the “most important things” we still have in common? Today’s rhetoric makes me seriously question if we’ve taken this for granted. Do we actually want two very different countries? We no longer attack the issues; we now attack each other. Trump didn’t divide America. It’s been torn asunder for a long time now, and it’s merely beginning to manifest itself.

It’s so easy to hate. It’s our most primal instinct, and it has no regard for even our best intentions. It’s particularly easy when the rhetoric becomes personified as an object of our acrimony, since this base impulse expects an enemy against which we’re driven to fight and defeat.

I’m no anthropologist, sociologist, evolutionary biologist or historian, but it seems safe to say that the highest conflict and tension in the history of civilization were precursors to the advancement of ideas. If moral and intellectual progress is the present stage of human evolution, then competing ideologies and thought will collide with furious tension, and the victory will belong either to fate or the fittest.

As a man bound by no greater cause than reason, I feel utterly defenseless in this current battle over the hearts and minds of the masses. I often debate with those I perceive are intelligent, and with the assumption that we at least share common goals around the American ideal. But these conversations seem to be engaged using completely disparate dialects of logic, if not languages. They almost seem pointless.  It seems to me that our own nation has become the city of Babel.

I was asked a question on Facebook the other day by one of my oldest and dearest friends. She asked if I was actually defending Trump, since I had posted some articles I thought were more rational and comprehensive on the subject of one of his executive orders. I hadn’t the time to respond to her before I was unfriended, but this article is the answer to that question.

To the best of my ability, and with as much moral and intellectual integrity by which I strive to live my life, I defend truth, hopefully with objectivity and discipline, and without emotional prejudice.

I couldn’t defend Trump entirely. I don’t know many conservatives who disagree that Trump is too often indefensible. He makes me incredibly nervous, and, in my opinion, does great harm to this country with his reckless words and hasty, if not impetuous, decisions. Anyone who actually knows me will know that, NO, I didn’t vote for Trump. I’m a Libertarian LEANING independent who voted for Gary Johnson. But where fairness is warranted, and necessary to stem the tide of hysteria and dissension, I’ll speak my conscience and defend a broader truth, in hopes of, if nothing else, easing some tension.

The people in this country are scared out of their wits. Quite literally it seems. We have due cause for concern with Trump, and should absolutely appreciate the scrutiny of the press, who are afforded incredible liberties by proxy through our first amendment rights. But with that right comes a responsibility to deliver the facts in their entirety, and without prejudice. Whether to reinforce or reassess our beliefs through a broader context, we deserve to see the whole picture.

Perhaps there is, within the whole truth, hope for something less than apocalyptic, or perhaps of great alarm that should wake us up from our slumber and naivety. One way or another, we cannot possibly begin to understand another point of view by reading half truths, anymore than half a bridge can adjoin two sides.

We all deserve to know every story, and every damn side of each story from EACH of our preferred sources of news. The press is given incredible access to the Oval Office, as they are the trustees of truth for the American people. It’s a reckless and even immoral abuse of its systematic role to dispense only the truth that incites a preferred conflict, rather than to present an impartial account of the truth.

Are we HONESTLY that dissimilar in our ability to reason?? I hope the hell not. We’re in much greater trouble than I thought if we don’t share some common tenets of reason. I can only hope that the different accounts and perspectives lead to completely disparate paradigms, as “man prefers to believe (or read) what he prefers to be true.” OF COURSE I see the danger of Trump’s incendiary and seemingly impetuous statements and tweets. I recognize and often condemn the harm that comes through his voice. But don’t we all deserve to know more fully what the other side is looking at that brings them to different, hopefully reasonable, conclusions? Even if you conclude they’re wrong, how can it hurt to take more information into account? Shouldn’t we consider ALL the facts to help us make a proper judgement or defense of every action, policy or statement?

I urge those of you on BOTH sides of the red/blue divide to put  objectivity, impartiality, and unity above being right.  Thoughtfully defend your particular positions, but do so by examining the whole truth. For many of us on the right, we defend particular decisions of this administration, but it’s not necessarily  a showering endorsement and praise of his leadership. Take Ben Shapiro, as a great example, who hosts the biggest conservative podcast in America, and is a huge critic of Trump.  Neither is it coming from a place of ignorance, hatred, sexism, racism, or any other terrible place charged by simpletons. It’s coming from a hope that we can find unity in truth and reason.

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