Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Think and Let Think"

On Tuesday afternoon at BWI airport I passed by two men standing at a little portable table with a sign that  read “Save President Trump from the FBI Coup.”  A coup d’erat is the “illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus.”  I could not pass them by.  I turned around and walked back to the table.  The brief one-sided (their side) conversation with these two gentlemen was ludicrous (“so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous”).  They believe that,  “the elite” (“a group or class of people seen as having the greatest power and influence within a society, especially because of their wealth or privilege”) who they named as the “establishment,  the swamp people, the liberals”) have colluded together to undermine the president and “the American people” who elected him.  The FBI was their nemesis (“the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall”) but they also denounced the media (fake news) and the “Opposition.”  The “Opposition” is their label for any person or group who disagrees with them or is opposed to the president.  

I walked away stunned by their perception of the world we live in together and at their almost rabid attempt to proselytize others, including me, to their way of thinking. Like so many religious proselytizers I’ve encountered, they were unwilling to hear my point of view, or to listen to my side of things.  To be fair, however, I returned to their table to hear their side of the story, not to promote my own.  It was evident that only they have the truth; only they are in the right, and I was quickly viewed as a part of the Opposition by my unwillingness to subscribe to their position.

These two gentlemen with whom I differed so much did not know that as I walked on down the concourse I celebrated their freedom to be at the airport expressing their views.  They did not know that in spite of our differences, I did not oppose their right to express their opinions.  My only regret was that they wanted to deny that same privilege, that same right (given by the First Amendment of the Constitution) to others—by not being open to what I or others might think, or what the media might report, or what evidence might contradict their position.

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