Sunday, January 25, 2009

Searching for the Truth

Three years ago, we moved from Philadelphia to Kentucky. I sensed a fundamental change in prevailing opinions. The simplest explanation I can think of is, we moved from a "blue" state to a "red" state. We moved from the "east coast" to the "bible belt". We moved here to be closer to family. It's good to be close to family. We can get together without getting on a plane. We see much more of family than we did when we lived at a distance. It is interesting, though, to listen to the conversations around the dinner table. I know there are many others who share this experience; I have read about it on other blogs. When you vote for Obama and the rest of your family favored the McCain/Palin ticket, things can get a bit bizarre.

Last night we had dinner with family. I was hoping the subject of politics wouldn't come up. But of course it did. Someone I love stated that they are very frightened, and everyone else agreed with that. I wanted to know "why"? Why are they frightened? Their explanation in so many words: "Obama wants to take control of our 401K accounts and put them in a big pot with Social Security. Then, instead of getting two checks a month I will get only one, it will be less than what I am getting now, and someone else will get the difference."

WHAT? Where did that idea come from? I had not heard a word about this plan before. I haven't heard of anything in Obama's plans about seizing our 401K accounts. Have you? (I do know that mine dropped 50% in value when the prior administration was in charge.) I think I know where they got this idea. They watch Fox News. They listen to Rush Limbaugh. They trust these sources. They believe the things they hear.

What can we do? How to get people to look at the facts? It's not that I think I'm right and others are wrong. But I think some extreme ideas are being put out there. I meet many people who embrace those ideas. They think we Dems have "drunk the Kool Aid" fed to us by the "liberal press". I don't trust the media they trust. How can we close the gap? It's something I worry about. Where is the truth? Maybe this is just the way the system works. But it seems divisive to me and I see it in my everyday life. I would love to see true bipartisan efforts to get things done in our country, but I wonder if that is possible.


Jenn Jilks said...

Aren't gossip and rumours a horrible experience?

In our small town people hear and pass on information that simply isn't right or relevant.

I ask people where they get their information. I refuse to accept opinions as facts. Good for you for refusing to accept crap like this!

Robin said...

Okay, where do I start?

No, really. It's a good question.

I'm from Lexington and my dearest friend, an Episcopal priest is still there.

I don't know where you are (forgive me- I've only yet read this one post) but it doesn't really matter.

He's dealt with worldly-wise bishops who have come there and been in awe at the ignorance....stayed in awe long enough to leave.

He was a priest in a small town, and the situation you describe is one he lived through day in and day out- for years.

There are pockets of people who are independent thinkers and remain there because it is a gorgeous part of the planet. (Years ago, it was so beautiful as to be almost magical.)

But in my almost 53 years on the planet, most of them have not changed. In small towns, especially, minds remain closed- and though you might fall for the southern hospitality for a while- once you've been there a bit, you'll find closed doors and a lot of meanness behind the smiles.

I know this sounds bitter but I also recognize my roots. Regretfully, you won't be able to bridge the gap.

You simply have to find your own place with your own people and enjoy it.

Susan said...

I suggest when having dinner with these folks and the topic of politics or religion comes up - Smile like a Stepford Wife and quickly retreat to your Happiest Place - it's the only way. It's like me trying to defend the coyote at the post office counter - Ya just can't win, and it's waaaaayyyyy to taxing to try. Smile + Happy Place = Peace

Natalie said...

It leaves me shaky and confused, & asking similar questions. Why all the seething rage and blind hate? And another blogger reminded me that the hate and rage seems to come from both extremes... something I recall after '04. I hope that we can find calm, confidence, reason and a peaceful way to bridge gaps.