The heartbreak of becoming a liberal in a conservative family (1 Viewer)

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    Optimus Prime

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    Very good article

    An example of the “indoctrination” some fear at colleges

    And I’ve said this before here many times, the religious rights total devotion to Donald Trump is truly baffling
    ==============
    In 2010, I knelt beside a family member as they cradled my laptop in their hands.

    We’d just spent 17 agonizing minutes watching the WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder video, which contained footage of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike during which US troops killed at least a dozen civilians, including two Reuters journalists, jeering as they opened fire.

    Tears welled in the corner of their eyes. The horror of watching US armed forces fire upon innocent people, laughing even as they injured children in the process, struck hard.

    For many, the Collateral Murder Video was a wake-up call. For others, like the person sitting next to me, it did the opposite.

    “It’s not real,” they said.

    The words hit me like a slap.

    “It can’t be real. I just … I don’t believe it.”

    I’d brought up the video in a last-ditch effort to repair yet another relationship fractured by political differences. Instead of building a bridge, however, it highlighted the widening divide between my past and present.

    I grew up in rural Indiana in a predominantly white, conservative bubble. I went to church three times a week and led prayer groups around my public school flagpole.

    I was desperately proud of my country, cheered when George W Bush won the 2000 election after “voting” for him in the middle school mock election, and viciously argued in his defense four years later when a classmate dared to criticize a sitting president.

    In a high school bracketed with cows and cornfields, I found belonging in my beliefs. This is what I knew – what my parents knew, what my friends knew, what my church knew – and nothing could convince me otherwise.

    It took attending a private Christian university less than an hour away to change everything. As a freshman, I eagerly signed the school’s “community life agreement”, pledging to abstain from all vices (sex, gambling, alcohol) until after graduation.

    I agreed to a campus-wide ban on R-rated movies and non-choreographed dancing. I attended mandatory chapel twice a week, went to a local church on Sundays and, instead of chafing in the sheltered environment, I thrived.

    Everything should’ve stayed the same, and for countless students it did. But after my first year, while my fellow students kept on finding answers, I started to find questions.

    I had a British academic adviser who taught outside of the American perspective, and whose classes challenged the gleaming American idealism I held so dear.

    I learned about how the US carpet-bombed Cambodia during the Vietnam war, dropping over 2.7m tons of bombs on the country over an eight-year period, and was shocked to learn this paled in comparison to the combined 2m tons of bombs the Allies dropped during the second world war, even when factoring in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Next, I learned about the My Lai massacre, in which US soldiers raped, tortured and killed hundreds of innocent Vietnamese people while several orders to stop the killings were systematically ignored.

    The more I learned, the more I realized that my Christian beliefs didn’t line up with the so-called Christian nation in which I was raised. The Bible told me to care for the sick, hungry and poor, while my fellow Republicans raged against universal healthcare, food stamps, and argued poverty was the result of laziness.

    As the veil slipped away, I realized American exceptionalism wasn’t some God-given duty to protect democracy around the world, but a delusion sold to the American people which fueled our military-industrial complex. And we were falling for it hook, line and sinker.

    The more I tried to share what I’d learned with my friends and family, the more they wrote me off as a lost cause. My parents joked that I had “turned liberal”, and couldn’t wait for me to leave my conservative Christian college so things could go back to normal.

    In person, the conversations I tried to have about religion and politics were stilted and brief. Online, they were vicious. Social media was particularly brutal, and the older members of my church were among the most bloodthirsty.

    No matter how delicately I tried to broach a conversation, share sources or ask questions our conversation ended in a bloodbath. Once the personal attacks started – led by friends, church members and even the occasional family member – I gave up…….

    One woman, Marie*, reached out to me after reading a lengthy conversation I had with another Republican on Facebook.

    A pastor’s wife in a moderately sized congregation in a conservative state and a lifelong Republican, she felt shocked by the growing support for Donald Trump.

    “I feel like Trump is using Evangelical Christians,” she wrote in her initial message. “[But] I don’t understand how a human can think these things are ok.”

    We reconnected recently, and she told me how she watched in shock as more and more people around her began to follow Trump with what she described as “cultish” fervor, with some going so far as to believe that only Republicans could be considered Christians.

    While she and her husband refused to express overtly political opinions from the pulpit, she described the anger she saw in some people as proof that something wasn’t right.

    “With family, it was a whole lot harder ’cause we were all raised strongly Republican,” she explained. “So for any of us to break away from not totally agreeing 100% with a candidate, it was like I had gone to the other side.”

    In the end, she found herself asking many of the same questions I had, especially as she watched those closest to her, including her siblings and daughter, begin to espouse radically different ideas.

    It was heartbreaking to watch, she told me, and while she tried to remain optimistic, she said it felt as if the whole world was changing around her, and nothing made sense.

    “I was like, ‘Where are these crazy comments coming from?’ This is not foundational, this is not Christian,’” she said. “Why are people following Trump so blindly? What am I missing?”…….


     

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