Challenge Your Assumptions

Tonight begins the final phase of the campaign.  I am sure the vast majority of you already have your minds firmly set, and I’ll be honest, mine is too.

But I have a request for those of you that are leaning towards Trump.  I’m going to ask you to grant the same courtesy that I did towards Trump supporters a couple years ago.  I ask you to take a step back, assume good intentions, and ask yourself why people on the other side think the way they do.  I won’t bore you right now with my reasons for opposing Trump, but I will say it’s not because he’s mean, or politically incorrect, or an outsider, or has moral failings in his personal life.

In doing so, I ask you to let go of your assumptions about people you disagree with.  When I was looking into why people support Trump, I was able to understand many of their reasons.  The problem is that I have found many of those reasons are based on bad underlying assumptions.  These are based on general beliefs and principles, not so much specific policy ideas.

Some of them are in fact true and I’ll grant you these:

  • The coastal “elites” have looked down on and dismissed middle, rural, small-town America for years. (I spent over a decade dealing with this attitude in LA.)
  • Both sides have catered to special interests; and an outside independent force could shake things up
  • Globalism of the past 25 years has been focused on corporate interests rather than workers, similar to above.

However, there are other, more critical underlying beliefs that seem to be common among many Trump supporters that I cannot accept.  If any of these resonate with you, I only ask that you step away for couple of weeks and consider the possibility that these assumptions might not be true.

  • “The mainstream media constantly lies and makes things up.” (While they may have a liberal bias, which I’ll discuss in a later post, and they are fallible humans that will make mistakes, journalists have a code of ethics and try their best to be accurate.)
  • “Democrats and liberals are stupid and/or evil and will destroy America.” (I know too many good and intelligent liberals to even consider this possibility.  While I don’t think their ideas are the best path for the country, they won’t “destroy” America.)
  • “White, Christian, straight, males are now an oppressed group and under attack. “ (Trust me, I have never once in my life felt oppressed. On the flip side, I have never felt “guilty” about that identity either.  I simply want all other groups to have the same rights, privileges, and opportunities I’ve enjoyed. And on a side note, I do agree that Christianity is under attack… but not from outside atheist forces. Rather, from internal modern pharisees that are more focused on earthly power and judgement than on following the teachings of Jesus)
  • “Bureaucrats and scientists are biased and you can’t trust them. They might even be conspiring against Trump and his supporters” (I’m not sure where to even begin with this. But I’ll just make two points… (1) lifetime civil servants and scientists go into their professions out of a love for what they do, not because of power and money… politicians, pundits, and business people are more likely to have those motivations.  And (2) the larger the conspiracy, the more difficult it is to keep it secret. So if you are relying on conjecture rather than a large amount of hard evidence and numerous whistle-blowers, there is probably a reason.

This is already too long.  My main request is that you please take a step back for the next few weeks and consider the possibility that your underlying assumptions might be wrong.  And try to view Trump and his actions with fresh eyes.  It might surprise you.