In keeping with my fight to overcome my human tendency toward confirmation bias, I have consciously been attending to both conservative and liberal sources of information to form my opinions. I encourage others to do likewise. In comparing the two I noted some interesting differences.

Conspiracy Theories. My analysis comes only from my experience and I welcome alternative evidence. In my reading, watching and hearing, at the present time, the Right offers and accepts more conspiracy theories than the Left. I recognize the Left has their conspiracies and I recognize that not all conspiracies are false. I am only saying at the present time, conspiracies are more prevalent in my experiences with the Right.

One of the more amazing conspiracies occurred in Comanche County Kansas, the county of my childhood. I was actually born in Clark County because there was no hospital in Comanche county. I lived my first four years in Coldwater. My paternal grandparents lived in Protection Kansas. Coldwater and Protection are the largest communities in Comanche County. I have many relatives living and buried in the county.

What caught my eye was an article quoting one of my cousins who lives in Protection. The article was about vaccination. It compared the likelihood of people of Comanche County taking the polio vaccination in the 1950s to the likelihood of the people getting vaccinated for COVID. He clearly remembers rolling up his sleeve as a young man and getting his shot along with the vast majority of the other people in the county.

However, for COVID he believes there is a real hesitancy and in part due to conspiracy theories. The worst being – the federal government invented COVID so they could implant a microchip when the vaccination occurred. I kid you not.

The amazing thing to me is that Comanche County is a very conservative county. To believe a Trump government invented COVID and a device that implants a microchip with the vaccine is mind boggling.

Equally mind boggling – as a joke, a young man posted he was a vote counter and threw away all Trump ballots. The post went viral as evidence of election fraud. It was a hoax, easily dispelled by the fact he was not a vote counter and he certainly was not going to publicly admit committing a federal crime.

Three Guesses. The following is a quote. I want you to guess who wrote it.

“The January 6 attack on the Capitol was characterized not only by vicious lies, deplorable violence, white supremacy, white nationalism, and wicked leadership — especially by President Trump — but also by idolatrous and blasphemous abuses of Christian symbols. The behaviors that many participants celebrated in Jesus’ name bear absolutely no resemblance to the Christian teachings or ethics that we submit to as faculty and staff of ??”

Which college or university wrote it?

California Berkeley? Harvard? Two bastions of liberal thought?

Not hardly because the quote refers to Christian teachings of the faculty.

Maybe Harvard Divinity, or a mainline denominational seminary?

Wrong again.

It is a quote from Wheaton College, a conservative Christian College.

The statement goes further: “In the days and weeks preceding January 6, many more leaders, including many evangelical leaders, could have spoken truth to the disillusioned supporters of President Trump — diminishing the prospects for violence and bolstering the witness of Christian love and the call for justice in our civic life. Some did. However, many wittingly propagated lies or were unduly silent in a just cause. Our Christian faith demands greater courage.”

I found the Wheaton quote in the January 19 Special Edition of the Washington Examiner, a very conservative magazine. It was in an excellent article discussing having Judeo-Christian principles without being a theocracy.

On the Left. As I have been comparing the two parties, I have been struck by the willingness of many conservatives to offer honest criticism of themselves as shown in the Wheaton quote. On the other hand, self-criticism on the left has not been readily evident. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness have been more evident.

The left seems to be in denial that 75 million people voted Republican; many for Trump, many for Trump’s policies and many against the left. The calls for unity by deprogramming Trump supporters seems arrogant at best. The call for unity because the Left has a slight advantage in elected power after four years of disunity also seems disingenuous.

I remember Hillary Clinton called the 2016 election a fraudulent election. To her credit, she did not call for protests or violence in regard to the loss, but the actions of the Left for the last four years could hardly be called unity.

In addition. I fail to read or hear serious condemnation of the continued destruction and violence in Portland and Seattle by the Left. I have my doubts about unity but I know there is no chance unless condemnation of leftist violence occurs with the same intensity as other violence and destruction. No chance for unity until calls for mob violence by people like Maxine Waters are condemned.

Unity is a two-way street or it is not going to happen.

Learning. A columnist in our paper continually finds fault and points to what is wrong. Such actions can make people feel superior but do not demonstrate a genuine interest in change.

If he were really interested in change, he would do well to understand learning is much easier and better if people are taught and rewarded for “what to do”, rather than being told “what not to do.”

In working with coaches as a sport psychologist, I stress the need to show athletes “what to do.” To merely yell at them for doing it wrong does not change behavior in the right direction. Showing “what not to do” may lead an athlete to inaction. If you want them to learn, you teach them the right action. Showing what is wrong is not as effective as showing what is right.

Recently we had a Black man drive to a major shopping center in Spanish Fort Alabama. He began shooting at people indiscriminately. When the police arrived, they were able to capture the man without him or anyone else getting killed. They handled it the right way. They did not come in guns blazing and take out a Black man.

I wrote the columnist of the need to teach and reward the positive ways to handle situations rather than just pointing out the mistakes. I encouraged him to write a column about police success in Spanish Fort. He has not responded.

Until next week,

Peace,

Jerry


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