I was thinking about how different people think, how approaches vary, from the balls out risk-everything, take no prisoners approach to the more cautious haste makes waste angle. Each of us develop preferences. We evolve and refine these from watching and listening to us, and then addressing our approaches based on our results.
I remember a philosophy class I took decades ago. The professor was a good friend. We regularly socialized outside of class before I ever took any of us classes. He and I were of very like minds, and I expected the class to be similarly aligned.
Most were. These were University of Maryland classes on Okinawa. Most attendees were military members or dependents. In this class, one woman, a security police airman who was a few years younger than me, was fearless about stating her positions.
I found her positions pretty shocking. For fun, she and her friends liked to drive around at night and deliberately run over animals. She yearned for days like the ‘wild west’, where if you thought someone was guilty, you called them out and shoot it out.
Those were two of the more extreme examples of how her thinking diverged from mine. The final part, however, was how she declared herself to be a good Christian. While I could appreciate and understand someone having views different from mine, and accept (with much disgust) that they thought so lightly of life that they killed for fun (and regaled us about how she and her friends thought it was so funny), I couldn’t grasp how she reconciled her views as a Christian with these attitudes toward killing and justice.
I still don’t.
And as I think of Donald Trump, and all that he’s been shown to have done, from his marriages and affairs, bankruptcies, attacks on others’ service to the United States, repeated lies and empty boasts, I think of his supporters. Like that woman in my philosophy class, I do not understand how they reconcile what they see, hear, know, and believe. I try to understand, partly from intellectual curiosity as well as trying to satisfy for myself that I’m not missing something, that I’m not living in a silo. I also try to understand it from a motivational point as a writer, feeding my characters.
Reality can be stranger than fiction, but I imagine that many of them don’t understand me and wonder how I’ve come to be a progressive liberal, because they think I’m destroying the nation, if not the world. Possibly somewhere, there’s a novelist trying to understand how I think, so they can feed their character, too.