Growing up, I was allowed to be open about religious issues although I was raised in a Jewish household with Jewish culture. My town didn’t have many Jews but had a number of churches. I was most certainly outnumbered growing up as I was usually the only Jew I knew in school besides my sister. It had a great deal of impact on me to be the different one.
Besides my differences in that way, I was also pushed to educate myself in the sciences and grew up scientifically literate. I explained to my 3rd grade class the concept of evolution and the big bang for which my teacher had no back up or response. I was met in the cafeteria during lunch with questions like “don’t you believe in God?” not knowing the two weren’t mutually exclusive.
I had other experiences as well finding out how different I was and how different I thought about things. I didn’t look at the sky and see heaven, I saw galaxies and stars and planets and constellations. I was different and education was expected of me although I was never directly told that I was to go to college. It was just a given.
Neither of my parents had a college education but they knew a lot about a number of things because they read and watched educational shows. I grew up knowing old television stars because I was exposed to our country’s past and culture. I was taught to have compassion and tolerance for all, my parents having grown up in the age of civil rights.
Living through our current troubled times, I’ve seen how my past has shaped how I see the current. I think that there are many people who, if they sat down with another person to discuss issues, would find common ground. Surprisingly, even though we can connect to so many more people using the internet, we seem to be less connected than ever and less knowledgeable about things that matter. I believe that we live in a time of confusion.
Despite having so much information at our disposal, we now have to parse through it to find “truth” or something that resembles it. We are now able to choose to speak only with people who share our opinions and if someone posts some fact, someone else will just choose a different website with a different fact. I had hoped that this election would put some of that to rest but as we see with the Newtown tragedy and the other daily handgun shootings, we have conspiracy arise.
Raised to think critically and scientifically, I have desperately tried to seek truth and trusted sources but always to doubt the accuracy of anything I read and see. I see today many people willing to trust conspiracy because they simply choose not to challenge it. We are seeing our “chickens come home to roost,” as it were. We have so many people who don’t critically think that they are ripe for some of these baseless theories that are trotted out to benefit some lobby or financial gain. Many of these are the same types of people who questioned my assertion as to theories of evolution and the creation of the universe. Without critical thinking, we can’t get even get to an productive argument on gun control and financial reform.
I also live in a divided household. I tend to lean liberal while my husband tends to lean conservative. He is a advocate of the 2nd Amendment, and while I agree with our rights to protect ourselves in our homes, I believe it comes with regulation and restrictions. I accept in this issue, as with many others, we are in a rural vs. city fight for the future of this country. That is clear from the election map from these past several years.
Growing up rural, having traveled the country and parts of the world, now living in a liberal city within a rural conservative surround, I see this vivid contrast and wonder how we will move forward. I don’t know that there is a bright line answer that should be “red” or “blue” and I think many issues should be “purple” but I do find that there are some issues that we are more polarized than we once were (i.e. abortion, school prayer, gun control, climate change) and others where we are seeing shifts to more socially liberal thought among the country (i.e. gay rights, contraception, race relations, and depending on who you cite, climate change).
We are in demographic shifts like currents in the ocean and there is a serious upheaval in this country and the world in general due to our ever changing and growing technology. As a lawyer, I’ve noticed that the law can’t keep up with our current changes. However, I still hold hope that this is merely growing pains of a country on the cusp of change and as they say, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”
Marci is a 42 year old attorney in criminal defense and a Florida “native” who grew up in a small town in South Florida but now lives in North Florida. Marci has traveled around Japan, Germany, and much of the United States, has had affiliation with the military through marriage and is currently married to a reserve soldier/law enforcement officer with one child.
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