This was written by a friend from U of I who recently passed. Maren, you are missed, the world over.
So as I read over the posts I notice a trend. We Somers’ love to travel and see the world. This post is no different, but I believe that we can start a family dialogue on how to envision the world and empower ourselves with the knowledge to make an impact. Thus, we shall travel the world in our minds as much as in our physical lives. The reason I have for pondering this topic, as opposed to discussing my travels of the American West, would be our conversation yesterday between Peter, Maren, and Erin Robinson at Dressel’s in St. Louis yesterday.
As in any conversation between like-minded liberals discussing the politics of the day, we found ourselves asking the perennial question: How do we get people to change? The obvious prompt of this question being the terrible position America has put itself in on the world stage, and the power the right-wingers have snatched from the jaws of common sense.
My answer is education.
I don’t mean sending your kids to college or spending more money on public schools, although these are both important components. Neither of these provide a sufficient answer to keeping Americans from adopting radical right-wing points of veiw. In fact, I have happened upon many well educated right-wingers. They are college educated, intelligent, and well versed in many fields. These qualities, to my dismay, do not naturally lead to liberal thought processes. They only serve to reinforce previously held beliefs. This to me provides evidence that better schools and college educations will not be the answers to our problem.
The answer to our problem is the formation of beliefs and how people come to form these opinions. People’s education consists of the mental environment in which they are surrounded. This is a very simplistic definition of culture, and I believe therein lies the answer. Our culture is, and has been for many decades now, programming itself to churn out conservatives. We are insulating ourselves from any understanding of our place in a larger world community. Isolation and misunderstanding of our place in the world, and even more importantly in the environment, have led to a worldview of ourselves as removed from these key elements of belief.
Well I believe for right now I’m out of time. I can elaborate on this later. Peace.