The Loss of Critical Thinking - A Canadian's Look at the US Elections |

The Loss of Critical Thinking

In the lobby of where we meet for a weekly meditation group were two flipcharts. In bright marker, one posed the question, “What on earth makes you give thanks?” and the other asked, “What on earth makes your heart cry?” Thoughts of cats and dogs and walks in nature came to mind for the happy flipchart and sure enough as I got closer, these answers were prominently written with a little happy face after the word, “dogs.”

I stepped closer to the sad flipchart and in the top left-hand corner were two words, “US elections” followed by “Trump” and then “Trump and Hillary”. How could an election make someone’s heart cry? A democratic election celebrates freedom and our ability to have a voice even if it is a small voice in voting in our political leaders.

The Loss of Critical Thinking |

Before going any further, I have to qualify that I live in Canada so these elections really shouldn’t concern me, but they do and they obviously are affecting others as evidenced on this flipchart. As our economies become increasing global and our lives intertwined through the ease of social media, the reality that we are all one is difficult to deny.

I am trying to understand how a democratic nation became so polarized.  I want to understand how in this day of freely available information available literally at your fingertips, that some people believe that a 69-year old woman cannot make rational decisions because of hormones.  I want to understand  how you can rationalize that it is alright for a famous person to sexually assault a woman. I want to know if that woman was your sister or mother or friend, would you feel differently about this. I want to understand this so we can avoid this happening in Canada.

Where is your critical thinking America?

Why are you not questioning what you are reading and watching on TV? How is it that you will believe the lies of a reality TV star over the reports of a journalist? Okay wait, some of them are reality TV stars too, but what about the ones who actually studied journalism in school and learned how to fact-check and present a balanced story? And if you don’t agree with their journalistic message, would you not take the time to research the facts for yourself instead of concluding that they are working for the other side or that it is rigged.  And please note, Facebook is a not a news agency with journalists and stuff.

You are so immersed in this, perhaps you can’t see it but I have to tell you, we are wondering what you folks are smoking down there because it sure seems a bit delusional.

I had trouble sleeping after the second debate. The disrespect shown by Mr. Trump to Secretary Clinton was astonishing. On that fact alone, I don’t how a person could vote for him. If a candidate I was planning to vote for talked that disrespectfully to someone, they would lose my vote. What I hear is that you distrust the current administration so much that anything looks better. Shame on both parties for creating a political cesspool that makes a lying, misogynist look like a good candidate.

I remember watching the last elections and being so proud of you for voting in your first Black President only to see that his first task in office was dealing with the near collapse of Wall Street. What a heck of a way to start a new job. The guy that left the job must have been relieved that he got out just in time.

I am really trying to make sense of this lunacy that seems to be running through your country and am wondering if there is an epidemic of pre-Zombie craziness afoot because some of your are acting without reason.

The propaganda coming out of Mr. Trump’s mouth is so foul that I can’t help but think that this is a classic struggle between good and evil, darkness and light; Batgirl and the Joker. And then I realized that it is all energy. Passion converted into words and T-shirts and angry sides each convinced that they are right. But there is a difference. This is not reality TV; this is real life.

The “Good” tend to have a passive voice and perhaps thought that this would work itself out and Mr. Trump would never get this far. The “good” are now off their yoga mats and mustering their strong voices because you have picked at the loose thread hanging from the Statute of Liberty’s robe and can’t stop playing with it. You are going to unravel her completely if you keep this up!

Both candidates are in a place of influence and for Mr. Trump to use that influence to incite violence is reckless. Do you know, I was supposed to be in the US on a trip on November 8th but the trip has been postponed due to concerns over civil unrest? Civil unrest! In the United States of America! This is what others are thinking about you.  All of this bickering and manipulation of voters is not making America great; it is making you weak.

You have become desensitized to his crudeness but it is still shocking to my ears. Blindly following his calls for violence without pausing for a moment to check in with your own inner values to ask is this right? Is this true? Where is your critical thinking? When this is all over and you have some distance from the situation perhaps you will be embarrassed by the things that you have said and done. Perhaps not.

And I know that we gave you that Twitter pep talk but we would rather that you not came flooding our border if he gets in. The truth is that it has not always been easy being your neighbour. However, we share the same continent and are seriously worried about you.

So get off your butts – ask questions – think for your selves and make your vote count.

4 thoughts on “The Loss of Critical Thinking”

  1. I think the United States is sadly heading for another Civil War.

    There are more guns out there than people. There is so much anger that everything is possible.

    I say we are at Defcon 3 right now.

    I feel the same way, and it makes me so sad. The only people who are happy about this are its enemies.

  2. Thanks for your post. This election magnified the age of the party leadership (win at all costs), the lack thought in the party platform issues (who do you represent), and the lack of respect for individual diversity in others (people disrespecting others for no good reason).
    So, as a change agent, where do we go from here? I vote, I speak to others on policies, I volunteer for charities. I try to be an example. But people less educated or below the poverty line or on fixed incomes need to be represented and helped (not ignored or left behind). Good paying jobs is one way, education a 2nd, lower cost healthcare a third. The real answer lies in personal accountability; when you hear people telling lies, correct them. Foul language and hate speech, stop them. Make understanding and listening the two “go to” tools in your toolbag. Everyone can have an opinion, but not their own facts. By pulling everyone up, we all have a stake in our own community, country and political process. Be engaged, be inclusive and be open to new ideas!

  3. Hi Pierre.

    Thanks for your comments. I actually wrote this post after the third presidential debate and hesitated to post it because this is not what I normally blog about, but I could not stay silent any more. Having lost family members in wars who were defending democracy I find this flippant disregard for democratic principles very scary.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I hesitated to publish this post because I didn’t want to add to the negativity so I really appreciate your thoughtful comments on how to make a difference. We each have a voice and must use it to uphold values of a decent, caring society.

    The US elections dominated our dinner conversation during our Canadian Thanksgiving. We are really nervous about the outcome of this election. And should Secretary Clinton be the successful candidate she will be faced with a divided country. There are some very serious issues in the world and we need a strong and united America to work with us on finding solutions.

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