Dear 100 Hour Board,
What's an opinion you've developed (or changed) recently?
I used to think that (in round numbers) 40% of Americans are left-wing, 20% are swing voters without a self-consistent political philosophy, and 40% (most Republicans) are principled conservative believers in personal liberty and the Constitution.
Come to find out, around 50% of the Republican Party apparently consists of neanderthals who just want a right-wing tyranny rather than a socialist one. So now I split that 40% of Republicans into two halves--20% right-leaning neanderthals and 20% conservative believers in the Constitution etc. Disappointing.
~Professor Kirke, who is probably spending far too much of reunion week going on about Trump
Dear funky furnace,
I voted for Bernie Sanders, but over the past month or so I've been significantly distancing myself from his campaign. While I still agree with many of his ideals, I've always been more of a believer in incremental rather than sweeping change. That in and of itself isn't a huge problem; the world desperately needs both pragmatists and idealists in order to function.* However, Sanders' insistence on running the race into the ground is a bit baffling to me, and his supporters are even worse. I can't back a group that counts among its most visible members numerous internet provocateurs, conspiracy mongers, reality deniers, and disrespecters of all who disagree with them. If we blame Donald Trump for the behavior of his followers (which I believe it is fair to do), we have to apply the same standard to Bernie Sanders. And if the most visible Sanders supporters are to serve as representatives of all Sanders supporters, I can't be one of them.
Hillary Clinton is far from being a perfect candidate, but I've decided that she is currently the best realistic option available. I still wish Bernie the best, and hope that he lands a position of importance in the Senate or Cabinet as the result of Clinton's election.** I just can't be associated with his presidential bid any longer.
* To use an analogy I saw on Tumblr, idealistic dreamers say "let's go to the moon" and pragmatic doers get us there. Arguing about which is more important or correct is like arguing about which wheel on a bicycle is more important - it's a counterproductive waste of time because without either wheel the bicycle ceases to function.
** Which is absolutely not a guarantee. There are so many possible ways that Trump could win, and I refuse to make the mistake of writing him off again. But the prospect of him as president is honestly just too horrifying for me to think about for very long.
I used to have the opinion that I needed to respect everyone's opinions. I'm pretty even-keeled and try not to argue with people. Recently I realized that other people don't follow this, so maybe I shouldn't either. I don't go out of my way to put people down or anything, but when people say things I deeply disagree with, rather than nodding and smiling I actually say, "I don't agree with that." Usually the conversation ends there, which is fine by me! My opinion mostly changed when a coworker of mine told me that he was starting to actually fear for his safety as a Muslim in the U.S., and he was worried to ask me about my political opinions. I figured I shouldn't be so opaque that people think I harbor deeply hurtful sentiments.
Recently I read Steven Peck's Evolving Faith, and I went to a reading where he said that he doesn't believe the scriptures are literally true, but that he believes they're inspired writings. Steven Peck actually gives a yearly presentation to future institute teachers about evolution to help everyone accept it.
I realized that if I don't believe the scriptures are literally true, so many problems I read about with the scriptures just disappear. It's hard for me to explain how good it felt to let go of believing the scriptures literally. Sure, I didn't believe that the world was made in seven rotations of the Earth, but I believed that most of the stories actually happened, especially in the Book of Mormon. But it turns out there's no article of faith or temple recommend question that asks if you believe that the scriptures are literally true. One can still be a "good Mormon" and not believe the scriptures are literally true (it's not 1911 anymore).
I have made no effort to hide my hatred for the whole state of Michigan, especially its university located in Ann Arbor. I thought that as I have gotten older, I was past my petty hate for "that school up north" and had moved on to begrudging acceptance. Last week while visiting my local bookstore, I caught myself, a grown man, taking a book by Ohio State's football coach Urban Meyer and using it to cover a stack of books about Michigan's football team. Apparently, I'm not as mature as I previously thought (especially since I had to take pictures to document what I had done).
I sure hope this helps. Please don't hate me.
I used to care a lot more about what other people thought of me.
For example, if I had people over, I felt like I needed to explain everything--
"Don't mind the pillows on our couch-- they came with the couches and we've been meaning to replace them, but we just haven't gotten around to it, so we still have the ones with the yellow leaves that neither of us are crazy about. I promise we don't love them either."
"Sorry about the frames on the walls that don't have anything in them/need to be painted. I'm just not sure what I want in them yet."
"Listen, I know the quilt on our king bed is actually a queen, but I've been looking for months (literally) for the right one and I just haven't found it yet. I still like the one from our old bed and I wish they still made it so that I could buy it again."
That sort of thing. One time I was watching my friend's little boy while she went to the doctor and when she came back to pick him up, we literally went back and forth apologizing to each other for things that didn't matter/the other person hadn't noticed to begin with. I hadn't noticed that her son needed a haircut. She hadn't noticed that mine was probably wearing the same shirt he was wearing the last time we saw each other. I didn't notice that his jacket was too small. She didn't notice that I hadn't vacuumed my stairs. Etc. And frankly, if I'm watching her kid for free and she's bothered that I didn't vacuum my stairs (she wasn't), then she can find someone else to watch him. Really, it just doesn't matter.
Now I don't care. If you don't want to be friends with me because you don't like the pillows on my couch, then I don't want to be friends with you either. It has been so liberating.
I'm also more willing to wear the same thing to church two weeks in a row, if I want to. Nobody even knows what I wore last week. If it's clean and I like it, it's fair game.