The Echo Chamber


I’m constantly surprised at how insightful my kids can be, although by now I should be used to it.

I mean, they are all adults. They are all intelligent and thoughtful. I should be used to learning from them by now.

But I am still surprised when they make observations that catch me off guard. Especially when those observations make me stop and think about my ideas and beliefs.

My family is made up of a whole bunch of wicked lefties.  Paul and I, all three kids, our son-in-law; we are all outspoken progressives. We share a common belief in all things liberal. We believe that the government exists only at the will of the governed, and that its primary purpose is to provide protection and safety to its people.

We believe in equality. For everyone. All the time. Everywhere. We drive around in cars that have bumper stickers spouting ideas like: “God Bless The Whole World: No Exceptions!”

We think that we are smart and kind and thoughtful and good. We are pretty sure that we are on the right side of history.

So after a Mother’s Day dinner that was filled with political jokes, comments about the Trumpeters, and even a few videos of “The Liberal Redneck“, it was a little bit of a shock to get a message from one of my kids that gently called us out for our closed minded reliance on stereotypes.

At first I was taken aback. I got a little defensive when my child suggested that we have begun to rely on a sort of “echo chamber” where we can share our prejudices and not have to bother with those who disagree.

Then I thought about it for a few minutes.

Eventually, I understood what he meant.

So I answered him, honestly.  You see, I am proud that he trusted his family enough to point out his discomfort. I am doubly proud that he is this thoughtful and deep.

But I don’t totally agree with him.

I think that it’s one thing to try to convince others of the correctness of our liberal views. When that is my goal, I try to use facts, statistics, truth. I try to leave emotion, stereotyping and sarcasm behind.

But when I am relaxing in the comforting embrace of like minded lefties, I think its OK to laugh.

I do NOT believe that all conservatives are cold hearted bigots. I do NOT believe that all Republicans are money grubbing ogres.

I know, love and respect a whole bunch of conservative Republicans who are thoughtful, smart, knowledgeable, kind, generous and fun.  I know, dislike and disrespect a whole bunch of liberals who are narrow minded, rigid and ignorant.  I try very hard to get my information from the most neutral sources that I can find.

With that said, though, I do think that its my duty, morally and intellectually, to call out those who I know are dangerous, xenophobic, dishonest and ugly.  I won’t ever promise to stop speaking out about them.

But I will be more careful of my words and my tone when I talk with my lefty family.

Once again, I owe thanks to one of my kids for showing me that there is more than one way to view every situation in life.

 

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