This morning i read an article about a group of women who gathered in a Derry, NH ( a town I was overjoyed to leave in 1987) home to eat doughnuts, drink coffee and wine, and discuss tomorrow's primary. Once again I was struck by the mental gymnastics people apparently engage in to rationalize their feelings. One woman said that she was against "Obamacare" because we have to make a choice about whether we will be "self-sufficient" (good luck with that little fantasy) or one of those "European-style entitlement societies" that are going broke. Um, what? Presumably, if she is one of these people who are terrified by "Obamacare" she is also concerned with the deficit. That's DEFICIT. It is large. We hear over and over that the DEFICIT is dangerous. And if a person, household, business, country is running a DEFICIT, then they ARE broke. We are a broke country already and I hardly think we can be considered an "entitlement society." I don't care one way or the other what this woman thinks about entitlements and I am not suggesting that her view is not valid. But why does she feel she has to give a reason for her feelings--she might do better to just admit that she feels this way and doesn't know why, because her argument certainly doesn't make any sense. It reminds me of the reaction I get from people about the fact that we want to move to Ireland. Most of them say something along the lines of, "Why do you want to move there? The economy is bad." to which my standard reply is, "As opposed to here where things are just so great?" Then I get the sheepish smile and the admission that yes, things are tough all over.
People will believe what they believe and they will make choices based on those beliefs, many of which are not easily rationalizable. We all do that. So why not just accept that and stop trying to give reasons for everything. If this woman doesn't like the sitting president, it's OK to just say that instead of trying to do mental backflips in order to appear sensible and thoughtful--because if that was her intent, it was a dismal failure.