Saturday, November 19, 2016

Willful Ignorance

One of my biggest annoyances from this last election cycle was everybody who'd say, "I don't know much about politics, but..." and proceed to spout off about what they thought was going on and how they "excused" their vote.

This or that candidate would give them this, primarily because they thought/wished/needed them to. No checking on actual factual history or patterns of behavior. That candidate was awful because somebody else said so and that was good enough for them. Either way, either candidate, it all amounted to willful ignorance.

If I haven't made it clear yet, I have absolutely no patience for that. I don't give a shit how busy you are. It's your civic responsibility not only to vote but to make informed choices.

I recently had somebody slither up to me after I mentioned something about Minneapolis and start spouting about those awful radical Somalis who were congregating there and conspiring gawd-only-knows-how. Well, I used to work with a whole lot of those Somali immigrants. We had occasions to chat about customs, religious practices, how families were typically run. There was a corner set aside for prayers and cubbys to tuck prayer rugs into in order to keep them clean and handy. There was a foot washing facility in the unisex restroom (since there was only room for one restroom in the waiting area).

My only comment to her in response to her offensive comments was to inform her I had worked with many Somalis and had found them to be really good family people. She couldn't get away from me fast enough. I doubt she's any less willfully ignorant today than before. I'm willing to bet that if she bothered to vote her choices were made from fear of "those others".

I demonstrate twice a month with a group of folks (Grandmothers for Peace), holding up a variety of signs against war. Any war. We sit, we talk, we wave at the folks who honk their agreement as they pass. We discussed the upcoming election. More than one of them proudly announced their choice to vote for a third or fourth party candidate because they believed that was the best route to ending wars.

I was raised to be too polite to challenge them with, "How in hell can a candidate with absolutely no chance of winning be able to effect one iota of the change you/we want? Are you too stupid, or too willfully ignorant, to realize that the only way to make a positive difference is to vote for one of the top candidates, one with an actual chance, whose position is closest to what you want even if it's not absolutely perfect? Once in office, they can be lobbied with everything you've got to work on getting your goals met?"

I didn't go demonstrate today. Only part of it was due to an early medical appointment. (Yes, on a Saturday: eye sonogram.) Or even how much I needed a nap afterwords.Mostly I wanted to chew out a bunch of them, asking how they liked all the hawks being put into cabinet positions for the upcoming administrationjust because they, and so many like them, were too willfully ignorant, or just plain willful, to understand that failing to vote for the lesser of what they think are two evils is the same as a vote for the greater evil?

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