Monday, August 4, 2014

Those with a heart need not apply? Feelings and the world of politics

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

One of the more inane canards one hears in the world today is that liberals are not guided by facts and rational t5hought, but by “feelings” - as if this were somehow a bad thing when it comes to looking at issues that deal with humanity and the future of our world.

Folks whose contact with the dreaded liberal seems to largely be either haranguing them on Facebook (or other online forums) or simply just whining about them often seem to exhibit all the signs of Political ESP - the ability to instantly know what millions of people they will never meet or talk to think, read, know or believe.

It makes it that much easier when they feel the need to write something simplistic about people they despise, or suspect don’t have the values that they do.

Liberals want to destroy America!

Liberals want to destroy education!

Liberals all support the military/industrial complex.

They know this because other folk who view the world exactly as they do have told them so - not because they have actually heard it from any liberals.

And liberals, of course, rely on feelings, and not the human slide rule approach to life.

Sure.

We’ll just let that pass, and not go too deeply into the paranoid rantings of folks on the right who post bizarre quotes (which may or may not be genuine) and goofy pictures on Facebook or rants on Twitter. Cuz irrational fear isn’t an emotion, is it, Wall-eyed Reader?

I freely admit that my feelings have long played a part in my political evolution, just as they have with most people.

Especially in the early days, when I was making the transition from a conservative young man into a liberal young man.

When I saw an elderly man screaming at a young woman who may have been from India on a bus station platform in England (and who was simply minding her own business) that “We don’t want your kind here!” my emotions were engaged, as I saw bigotry on full display for the first time in my life, in all of its ugliness.

Even in elementary school, we talked about such things.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were gunned down in that awful, tumultuous year 1968, my emotions were engaged.

I read everything I could about them, and what they believed in - both pro and con.

When I saw riots on television, my emotions were engaged. I watched every documentary I could, and read every news magazine I could find, trying to understand what was happening to our country.

When students were shot to death on American campuses, their only real crime protesting a war, my emotions were engaged. My last vestiges of conservatism dropped away as I read more about the war, and talked about it with my friends.

The notion of a president (and his vice-president) behaving in an unlawful manner horrified me, and I read each and every book I could find about both Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

As a young man the women’s movement confused me, and left me feeling more than a little threatened. I was able to overcome that through lots of reading . . . and the help of some pretty amazing women.

Ditto for a whole host of other issues. My emotions become engaged, and then I seek information - lots of information - about what has gotten through my filters. I suspect that this is true for for most people.

People aren’t adding machines, human calculators, meant to clasp our lapels and pontificate on the basis of natural law, whatever the Founding Fathers may have read when they had indigestion, or look at Life as though it were nothing but a math problem.

Life is beautiful and messy, and we are meant to tackle it with both our intellects and our hearts.

The silly-ass line that “Liberals don’t rely on facts, just emotions” deserves to go on the trash heap of history, along with Black men just want to marry your sister, Catholic politicians take orders from the Vatican, Jews run the country, and Donald Trump is seriously thinking of running for president.

I don’t have Political ESP (though as a writer I’m supposed to pretend I do) but I suspect that most of those who come out with prattle like that don’t spend too much time actually reading current liberal thought, be it books or magazines.

And no, occasionally watching MSNBC doesn’t count . . . if those who carp about it actually do watch it, and aren’t just getting their information from wacky websites or certain other cable channels.

You gotta read, and then you’ll be qualified to talk.

******

Quote of the Day

Spock said coolly, “Captain, it is immaterial to me what any human being chooses to do with his or her emotions.” And then he added, “As long as you don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.” - The Galactic Whirlpool, written by David Gerrold

rsdrake@cox.net

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