I'm blessed to have five great kids. Four of those are currently in college, all at large state universities. One of my daughters, whom I lovingly refer to in shorthand as "Kid #4" is currently a freshman at a Big 10 school. Before attending college she never showed much interest in current events or politics. She's active in pro-life efforts but, outside that, was never interested in public policy concerns or discussions about domestic or foreign policy matters.
All that has changed this semester, though, as she's on a college campus during an election year and the passion of college students intersects with the deafening volume of liberalism.
Our kids attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. So, they were educated in a rigorous academic environment that stressed discipline, academic freedom, intellectual honesty and respect for the opinions of others. So their freshman year dunking into the world of public universities' political correctness, speech codes, "free speech areas" and angry, un-civil discourse has been a culture shock to each of them to one degree or another.
We all know that liberals' default setting is to wrap themselves in a blanket of moral superiority and insult the intelligence, intentions and character of anyone with a different opinion. This is to avoid any rational discussion by simply screaming that to disagree with them is racist or sexist or homophobic or whatever. It changes the subject and puts the other person on the defensive about something completely unrelated to the matter being discussed. To wit, that the person is not a racist or a bigot or whatever. This pattern always holds true because their positions are invariably emotion-based and they don't do very well in a rational analysis. (I've made conservatives furious by pointing out their lapsing into this kind of nonsense in regard to the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. Angrily accusing people of being in favor of terrorists or not a "patriot" didn't make either of those disasters any more rational. But, I digress.) But young people don't have the exposure to liberals and the ugliness of the American political process that those of us with a few elections under our belts and a few political discussions with friends and opponents alike have. And it can be scary and bewildering.
Yesterday I received a message from Kid #4 about heated political discussions on campus and a video that a professor made them watch about how Donald Trump is really a fraud. Kid #4 was confused because the nastiness and mocking made it seem obvious to her that anyone who supported this particular candidate was an evil person. She was terrified that there were all these evil voters in America who were scheming to put this evil man into office who was going to do evil things to us all. She seemed to be taking the political huffing and puffing more seriously than her older siblings, so I spent some time reassuring her. With her permission, I'm sharing my advice to her. I'm redacting her comments a little bit for personal reasons, but I think these are good points for any young person to keep in mind as they feel the full force of the American campus bluster that comes with a presidential election. And she couldn't put her finger on why she wasn't convinced, but she was confused because of the loudness of their mocking and how self-confident they seem. And she reached out to her dad.
Got a minute?
Sure, what's up?
I'm really scared about this presidential race, dad. Donald Trump isn't seeming like a good choice anymore for Republicans and I don't know that Democrat policies are any good for the country. And, I'm wondering if Trump and Sanders are the candidates, I just want to run away.
Okay. So, what specifically is scaring you about Donald Trump?
Watched a video in class talking about how Donald Trump is a fraud and how his claims and what his supporters say is not true. How all he does is say things bluntly but is a liar and changes his mind a lot. Also that he isn't really "self funded" because he gets some donations. And all these other things. Bringing up how a lot of his success wasn't really success at all, it was just him putting his name on things and promoting himself and being rich enough to make mistakes.
Okay. Too easy. I got this.
For starters, sweetie, there's nothing specific in anything you just wrote. Just generic political attacks. I support Cruz, but let me tell you this: Every single thing they're saying about Trump is going to be as bad or worse if/when Cruz gets the nomination. Mark my words. Don't doubt me. I've watched this whole scenario play out since 1980. Without fail. Zero exceptions. You are being suckered by liberal propaganda. It's an attack machine that is sicced on ANYONE who opposes a liberal democrat. 99% of the time the criticism doesn't even make any sense, Always make people be specific. I just asked you - not for a general, kinda-sorta-maybe-could be true thing about his past or anything else. I asked you, specifically, "what has Donald Trump said he will do that scares you or you disagree with?" You responded with the same jumbled non-answer that liberals scream about everyone. It's not real, honey. Their outrage isn't real. The fact that they're completely unspecific proves it. And you'll see that the volume and anger and snakiness from them is going to get worse. WAY worse. The people who hate him, hate him because THEY have been in power for a long time. Both Democrats & Republicans. And the same goes for Ted Cruz. They are threatening the power. And the establishment is completely freaking out. Democrats, Republican establishment (liberal republicans) and the Washington media. They have done everything they are capable of doing to wreck his candidacy since he shot to the top of the polls. They can't stand it. DO NOT BE SUCKED IN BY THEIR FAKE OUTRAGE. THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. I promise you. They will scream, pout, mock Trump supporters, heap sarcasm, heap insults, call names and make all manner of absurd accusations. DO NOT fall for it. If Ted Cruz is the nominee it will even worse than this because we'll be in the general election where he's directly opposing liberal Democrats. Trust your dad, sweetie. I've seen this over and over and over. The only difference here is that the Republican establishment is joining in the screaming, name-calling, mocking, etc. And that's only because Trump & Cruz are insurgent candidates within the party. That is, they are going against the republican establishment. The last time this happened was 1976 & 1980. Reagan mounted a run against these exact, same establishment. They said the most horrible things you can imagine about him. But the people ignored the party elites, the media and the democrats and elected him to huge landslide victories. Just because people seem REALLY outraged, doesn't mean that outrage is genuine or they are correct. It's how the left works. The left in the GOP and the entire Democrat party. Outrage, name-calling, general mocking and insults. It's what they do.
Well, they are really angry, but their criticism does seem just generic name-calling.Here's a helpful list of things to remember:#1: Don't lose any sleep over any of this.#2: You focus on who YOU are going to vote for. Under no circumstances is anyone else's vote your business. YOU make up YOUR mind about who YOU think is the best candidate to vote for. And be forceful about telling these screaming idiots that your vote is YOUR vote and you don't need them to convince you to cast YOUR vote the way they demand. It's none of their business. That's why it's a secret ballot. That's why there are curtains on the voting booth.#3: If talking about it with people who are insulting is unavoidable, make them be specific. "What does [candidate x] propose to do as President that you disagree with?" But always remember, and be bold in reminding them, that your vote is not their property, that you won't try to get THEM to vote how YOU want, and you'd appreciate the same courtesy, and that - if they want to talk to you about it - they should share specifically what they disagree with.There you go.
Okay. That makes me feel better, dad. thank you!
I've just never seen anything like this. I'll have to trust you that this is just how people act.
Feel free to use or modify any of this advice or words of wisdom for the young people in your life who may be letting national politics and the doom and gloom of the left ruin their day.Please don't be insulted when I say this, but it's like being in the car with a little kid when they go through the carwash for the first time. They're terrified. They see all these unfamiliar, violent things all around them and it's noisy and it gets dark. And you tell them that it's going to be okay. That it always does this. And that it's not what why think it is. That you'll come out the other end and everything will be okay. I've been through the carwash of a presidential election year 12 times before. This is my 13th time going through and I've been paying close attention since 1980 (my 4th time through the carwash). All the anger, rage, name-calling and attacks that you're seeing amount to nothing. It happens every time. From the exact, same people. Hateful, nasty people. Who will insist that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid. And even though a little kid might be terrified that those machines are going to crush him or that the family will drown, it never does. No water comes inside. Please relax. And follow those 3 rules I laid out for you.I love you.I love you too , dad. Thank you!