December 26th, 2016

bilbo

(no subject)

I've been spending some time down South with more family contact than I usually have. Change of plans, I know - bit of a family emergency combined with the time of year that made it particularly hard to say no. That means I've been spending more time around people decidedly more conservative than me. They knew better than to rehash the election explicitly, but just the exposure has me thinking more about American conservatism. What drives it, you know. And here's the trends I'm noticing:

(1) People tie poverty and suffering in with bad life-choices. If you have more kids than you can support, for instance, even if your life-circumstances changed, there's this idea that this is your own fault and responsibility means handling it yourself.

(2) Related: rugged individualism runs strong. That means people don't see why they should have to help other people when the problem isn't their fault. We're all responsible for our own choices, but there's no sense you can also be obligated for things that aren't your fault - basic decency and neighborliness, being our brother's keeper, etc. doesn't always become real.

(3) There's a lot of privilege, a lot of lack of exposure. Take the NC bathroom bills. A lot of my family sees this as the LGBT community making a stink to make "normal" people look backward, because they don't see the problem the bill was trying to address. They've not experienced what it's like to be a trans kid and have to navigate school bathrooms. Or the outrage over police violence - they don't get the frustration, the fact that these don't feel like isolated incidents because they're not living out the other trends.

I'm not trying to defend any of these things. I am a bit tired of arguing against them, so I haven't been. But my point is, if you're liberal and trying to reach people who aren't already there, seems like these are the basic lines of thought and experience you need to find a way to show they're wrong.

(I'd add they're deep-level experiences and assumptions, they're almost axiomatic to how the world works from certain peoples' expressions. So I don't think it's a matter of winning one logical argument. On the other hand, people can change. I'm proof of that, and the way my perspective is so different from other people coming from the same background as me I think shows that more than just about anything.)

I would be interested if this is the way other people with more conservative friends and family see things. Not whether they're right, but if this is where the tension points are.

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In other news - I've got a fully drafted Silm story currently standing at about 2,500 words. It's tone-deaf and needs a quick rewrite hopefully by tomorrow night, then off to a beta. (I got an extension due to said family emergency, and dawn_felagund it's still coming...) So yay for that!