ust last night I had a Facebook debate with one of my friends on Facebook, Ziggy Johnson. And as we debated, very briefly, about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, over who we thought held the better vision for a future we could believe in….that would make America great again, I realized, that some of us will willfully ignore logical reasoning in order to maintain our biases.
When asked why he supported Donald Trump, he said, “I like his immigration and business views . Now don’t get me wrong he came come off as a little petty . And no I’m not a racist but i do think we should moderate the flow of immigrants coming here .! Especially Syrians . He is very business smart and we need to create more jobs . I also like his point about the military and the veterans”
Making sure to not come-off as if my preferred candidate, Bernie Sander was the superior choice….while, simultaneously, trying to foster an intellectual dialogue, I replied, “I see. I’m curious to know how he would curtail the fluidity of immigrants out of this country…..let alone, convince the general American republic to pay for their (Syrians) supervision? No, Ziggy, your not racist for thinking that, your just concerned that’s all. However, given that Mr. Donald benefits heavily from immigrant workers, both documented and undocumented, say, like, not having to pay them conventional wages and health insurance, I also wonder if getting rid of them or building a wall would be a smart decision?”
Instead of answering my questions, he did what most people do when they can not produce facts to support their arguments; deflecting and over generalizing. In his own words, “And yeah your right . I guess I like what he says and hoping it happens you know ? Ted Cruz is a phony and a liar to me and he approved Obama care so I won’t vote for him . Kasick is to weak for me . And on the other side Hilary is a liar and I can’t vote for a liar who lied to our men and women’s families . And Bernie sanders is as close as communist as you get. Low and middle class taxes will go up under him and he says free college ? Let me ask you something lou, do you really think most kids don’t attend college because it cost money! No they don’t attend because they’ don’t want to . Agree or disagree ?”
Although, in his opening statement he agreed with me, but then continued to avoid all logical reasoning…..effectively drawing his line-in-the-sand further away from me, that’s when it became clear that Ziggy and I would never find a common ground.
The phenomenon of Donald Trump is that his rhetoric forces people to fear, hate and have distrust for other people. People, that may very well be our neighbors and potential allies. Fortunately, as ignorant and problematic as Donald Trump might be, he is not our worst enemy. Donald Trump is emblematic of the collective frustrations of diminishing wealth and lax opportunities for a decent upward-mobility…..for ourselves and for our friends and families. At a time when we should be focusing on helping each other, showing sympathy and love to the less fortunate, and having meaningful discourse about inequality, racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc., the phenomenon of Donald Trump distracts us from all of that. In layman’s terms, our enemies are those who amplify hate, spew lies and convince us to fight wars that benefits the few and not the many.
Say what you will about Bernie Sanders, but at least his supporters are willing to abandon their fears and distrusts in order to have meaningful discourse. And that’s what my goal was with Ziggy Johnson….I wasn’t trying to create a “Wall” between the two of us, rather, I wanted to build a bridge….where the two of us could safely navigate and challenge each others beliefs and held convictions. But, I believe, that Ziggy did not notice that.
Furthermore, when answering Ziggy’s above question, I made sure to not allow him to trap me in his pretzel-logic thinking. I responded, “I neither agree or disagree…..for those aspiring to go to college the decision is not that black or white. I went to college, but now I have to pay thousands of dollars in student loans. In my case, I was able to afford it but for other people, especially those in the working-class, the money for that is non-existent. What Bernie Sanders is proposing is the opportunity for kids, unlike me, who cant afford college to be able to go to college. and it’s not a radical idea, countries such as Sweden and France has done it—made college free for all.”