As we wait for the results of the poll, I want to honor a friend’s request and share this story. This was a gigantic deal to me and I don’t think I even talked about it in detail with anybody yet.
I’m an immigrant, which means I came to this continent as a blank slate in political terms. Where I’m from things are completely different and terminology has another meaning. As an immigrant you receive the message that everybody around you is transmitting and you accept it because you don’t have the background to question it. Like when you move to a new town and everybody you meet says, “whatever you do, don’t go to Mikey’s Pizza. I got food poisoning there, and the place is a total dump.” If absolutely everybody who’s local says Mikey’s Pizza stinks, you accept it and feel grateful for the pointer.
So it is with an immigrant, especially a young one who goes to college. The only message you ever hear is that everybody who is not on the Left is a terrible bigot who hates you, hates black people, hates women, hates gays. Obviously, you don’t want to be around bigots who hate everybody in sight.
I went to college in Canada and the US, I went to conferences, I watched TV and read the press, and the only explanation I ever heard of why anybody would be a conservative is that they had to be filled with bigoted hate. We all interiorize the messages that people around us unanimously agree on. How do you know that a table is a wooden thing on four legs and not a species of bird? Because everybody says so! It was the same thing for me. I thought, you know, this isn’t the USSR. If this thing had anything to it but a desire to murder black people, I’d hear about it.
[To be continued…]