Himself and I have had our share of tense moments.
Most of them are caused by my asking questions after he has made a statement. Why do you say that?
He usually hears in this a challenge, an initiation of debate, an insistence on him defending his position -- and honestly, it's not.
Not that I'm not perfectly capable of devious conversation, manipulating another into taking a thought to its logical conclusion and then pouncing -- Aha! if you believe THAT then you would also have to believe THIS, and you couldn't possibly, so I force you to rethink your initial premise, GOTCHA!
But I don't do that with him, because it's a fragile part of his psyche we're dealing with.
All I'm doing is asking why he said something, did he just read a novel or news article from which he drew the conclusion? has he actually experienced what he is talking about or have other first hand knowledge? was this reported as news?
And sometimes, I'm saying that so far, yeah, there IS disagreement on my part, but I'm actually asking--- what have I not considered, what don't I know about this?
Anyhoo, this is just a too-wordy preamble to ruminations on jumping to conclusions.
Facebook, of which I haven't really bothered to figure out the workings, delivers to my inbox snippets of what people I know are thinking about, and what many of them have been thinking about the past month or so is Ferguson.
So a cop jumped to a conclusion, (as cops MUST, they don't have the luxury of socratic-method interaction with civilians,) and in the aftermath of this, absent any real knowledge on the subject, everybody in the country seems to have drawn a conclusion as to who was at fault.
And everybody thinks the same thing.
Oh really? you ask.
Yes, they do all think the same thing, it's always the FillInTheBlank - that the blame lies with the person with whom the blame always lies, that this tragic incident is the result of CommonKnowledge.
Because, um, racism.
Or alternatively, because, um, minority crime.
And I think a prime mover in this certainty so many express about so many events in the face of virtually no evidence is because quasi-journalistic sources, (which mimic authentic journalism, or often in earlier days were actual journalistic sources with credibility and integrity,) have no compunction about reporting with no more concern for only presenting facts than your average guy on a bar stool shooting the breeze.
At a reunion of sorts this weekend a dear friend, a Catholic, while we were discussing matters only peripherally related to the Church came out with, Okay, I'll say it - I don't like the Pope.
I said that it was hard for me to be objective because of how much I love his predecessor, and she interrupted with, Oh, I liked Benedict.
Okay, I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but why don't you "like" Francis?
She replied, he said XXXXXX. (What it was doesn't matter.)
Did he? I don't think he said that, but I only skimmed the document, have you read his actual words? Because I haven't, I don't really speak Italian or Spanish, but have you at least read the official translation?
Oh, okay. If that's what he said, I disagree with it too.
But later I did a little work on the google machine, and no, the phrases and words with which she took issue which she attributed to him do not occur in the document in question.
Hmmm... where they occur is in the ranting of a radio personality who is reading not from the document in question but from another media outlet's reporting on it.
Does anyone remember what they learned in school about the value of primary sources? Anyone? Anyone?
At RelEd, where the main focus of this year is the the importance of a well-formed conscience, among other concepts I am concerned that they understand the difference between actions that are always and everywhere evil and actions that require context, (if you think that's because abortion is going to come up whether we will it or no, you get a gold star.)
I asked a bunch of 10 year-olds this weekend to make some judgements, to jump to conclusions, is someone bad if he sticks a knife in you?
They were unanimous in condemnation until I said, what about a surgeon who's operating to save your life?
Okay, that made sense.
Is someone nice if he gives you the most delicious piece of chocolate you ever tasted?
They knew enough to hesitate, that the answer might not be the obvious one, but it took a while - finally, my gold-star kid ventured, like, it could be poison or you could be allergic to it?
It is not long before these lovely little children, (and they are little children,) are going to be faced with situation where phrases such as "but he likes it" and, "if you loved me you'd..." and, "who's it gonna hurt?" and "wait till you see how good it feels," are going to be uttered.
They need to be prepared to make judgments about actions without judging people, to draw rather than jump to conclusions.
And they need this done in ways that do not do violence to their innocence.
Speaking of jumps, one girl, whose parents' economic/political bent, I suspect, is the polar opposite of that of my friend who doesn't "like the pope," came out with this - Rich people are all mean. I hate rich people.
Cue Lt Cable's second act number.