I read this article today in the Washington Post about a family man in Oregon who rather suddenly became so disillusioned with America that he formed a “patriot” militia group, just in case the government, their own government, moves against them.
There are so many questions I’d like to ask the guy featured in this article. He seems like a family man, passionate, and concerned. But he also seems extremely misguided in how government works or is supposed to work. While I can understand his worry, he’s been heavily influenced by propaganda from conspiratorial fear-mongers and people I consider criminals for stealing from the government.
I wish I could ask him dozens of questions about how he thinks things should work in order to be fair for everyone in the entire country. But, I suspect our differing assumptions (and maybe different values entirely) wouldn’t allow us to find much common ground.
In this piece, I can understand why he is scared of the future in that he feels he must arm his entire family. But I do not agree with most of his conclusions and certainly not his actions. (Arming a 4-year old in this situation is irresponsible and unjustifiable.) These are the kind of people who support a know-nothing blow-hard showman like Trump. Their opinions reflect an over-simplified view of America, or perhaps they really are only concerned for their own self-interest. If so, that’s sad and the opposite of “patriotic” in my opinion. Also sad is that ignorance (and the deliberate action to remain that way) is going to tear the country apart.
Is this a fault of the education system? Do we not emphasize civic duty and participation? Is it to be blamed on the extremists on the Internet commenting on how awful things will be and making apocalyptic claims on YouTube?
What do these people want the government to do? How would we manage with no taxes? How does the budget get balanced? Is it worth environment ruin just to keep a segment of business going? We are a HUGE, diverse society here in the U.S. I’m at a total loss as to how these people think the world works and what to do to make it better. I’m afraid I wouldn’t like the answers they provide. But I’d still be willing to ask.
In another article, I found this quote:
Trump has consistently scored best with voters lacking college degrees, and that is again the case in the Post-ABC poll. He wins voters without a college degree by double digits; Clinton wins those with college degrees by a similar margin. Among whites, Trump does even better. He breaks even among white voters with college degrees and trounces her among those without degrees.
Ouch. Does this correlation to higher education reflect that those with college experience have seen more of the world? Does college force you to confront diversity, other opinions, take you out of your seclusion? Or does education foster a willingness to consider a more complicated scenario and understand that there’s no easy fix?
It all rolls back to education. Education means not only learning stuff from books but experiencing new things, asking questions, and considering all views. We’ve never been more educated as a species than now. But it’s not enough. How can we make people value critical thinking and reasonable efforts to get to the best conclusion? I can’t accept that having a rather ignorant, gun-toting rich white guy as a leader is going to be good for ANYONE but other ignorant gun-toting white guys. These guys in Oregon will have to explain it to me cause it’s making no goddamn sense.