For years, I homeschooled my kids. Thus, for years, I was around many men (and women, too) who spoke about how the liberals want to destroy traditional marriage and how the LGBT people want to "come after" them and take away their religious freedom, how abortion is like the Holocaust, how Michele Obama's talk of being a "citizen of the world" is terribly unpatriotic, how Obama is not really an American and hates Christians, how we need to own firearms and build bunkers for when the evil "government" will inevitably attack us in our own homes and drag us away to camps, how the evil Muslims and other anti-Christian forces will shoot us as we try to go into church, how gay men "recruit" young boys to become gay (the head of a homeschool organization once said this to me), how Planned Parenthood is an "evil organization," how women who say they need contraception simply have no self-control when it comes to their sex drives, how contraception is not "health care," how feminism ruined the family, ad nauseum. There is even a Catholic homeschool textbook that I read once, which basically explains how the country was just so wonderful, UNTIL the "Liberals" (yes -- with a capital "L") ruined everything. It was the most ridiculous textbook I have ever seen and it horrified me, but many of the Catholic homeschoolers used it.
I used to feel ill upon hearing these kinds of things. I generally didn't say much, because there was nothing I could say. The one time I did say something about someone's ridiculous and dangerous end-times prophecies, one of the homeschooled kids asked her mom if I was some kind of category of sinner that they had recently learned about in religion class. Thankfully, her mother was kind of horrified, and told her "No." But, I think a fair number of the homeschoolers viewed me as not appropriately conservative. A lot of them really liked me, but I did get side-eyes from some. And if I had opened my mouth more, I probably wouldn't have had any friends, and neither would my kids. At the time, I was actually more conservative than I am now, so I probably just couldn't have homeschooled my kids, if I had to do it over again, because I would just be upset all the time.
I feel bad, though, that I never spoke up more forcefully about the ideas I knew were erroneous. As I said, I was afraid that if I truly spoke my mind, my kids wouldn't have many friends. I didn't want to rock the boat, too much. Also, I kind of figured that these were fringe ideas, and probably wouldn't gain much traction in the general population, so I wasn't too worried about it.
BOY, WAS I WRONG.
And the thing that is really upsetting to me is that most of these people were really good people. They wanted to do the right thing. And they have been completely hoodwinked by stuff like The Drudge Report and Breitbart and right-wing radio. And I really don't have a good answer to the problem, because it is practically impossible to get them to see things from any other angle than the right-wing conservative one. I been trying for a while now. They have basically been trained to think that the progressive view point is almost -- if not actually -- demonic. A lot of them probably would consider it a genuine sin to be "tempted" by progressive views.
Now, I am not saying that it is necessary to think abortion is a moral good. When I think about abortion, I feel like I am getting stabbed through the heart with an ice pick. But, it is not the same thing as the Holocaust. In this country, at least, nobody is lining women up and forcing them into abortion clinics. You have every right NOT to have an abortion. You have every right to help others who are in crisis pregnancies and do not wish to have abortions. Faith leaders have every right to explain why their religions teach against abortion. And pro-choice people in this country OVERWHELMINGLY do not believe in forced abortions or forced sterilizations. And -- frankly -- the thought of Mr. Trump or Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Bannon making decisions for me about my reproductive health is downright scary. And that is the point of the contemporary pro-choice movement. You do not have to embrace the pro-choice movement, but at least don't misrepresent it in ways that enable the rise of dangerous demagogues.
And I am not saying that it is necessary to be a progressive. There are many good things about conservative ideas. When done right, they prevent government power from getting out-of-hand. And we should always be wary of government power that gets out-of-hand.
But, for the sake of sanity, people -- LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING ON. IT IS NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY. I feel for those who have been left behind in the global economy and who feel their voices are not heard. These people need to be heard. They need to be helped. But, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.