Cognitive Dissonance: August 2014

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Glenn Beck Video Makes a Resurgence on Facebook - Coincidence? I think not!

Ignoramus and lunatic, Glenn Beck spews hatred and ignorance.

The caption of this post, which I've seen from a half dozen people in the last fews days on Facebook reads, "Oh HELL no! School children cannot pray, read their Bibles or even sing a Christmas song. Christmas and Easter vacations are now called winter and spring breaks. They are even trying to re-write the Pledge of Allegiance to remove "one nation under God". But now they are teaching our children to sing OBAMA's praises! Oh HELL no! HELL NO!" How are we supposed to have a dialogue with "Conservatives" if the problems they have with our country and our government are 100% imaginary and literally do not exist? It's like arguing the merits of using unicorns instead of horses on a cattle ranch - it doesn't fucking matter - there are MUCH more important (and real) problems to address, in both the US/government and on cattle ranches.

The FACT is, students can pray in school, they can bring/read their bibles and students can (and do) lead bible studies before and after school all over the country. Christmas songs can be sung by students and I've never heard of "Easter Vacation," it's been been called Spring Break since I was a kid. Even at my private Christian school the 2 vacations we had each year were called Winter Break and Mid-Winter Break (aka Spring Break). The reason for this is the fact that Americans have the freedom of (and from) religion and there are dozens, if not hundreds of other belief systems out there that people should be respectful of. Furthermore public schools are a government entity and they are subject to the Constitution of the United States like all government bodies are. The 1st Ammendment of the Constitution dictates (in no uncertain terms) a separation of church and state. However, students are free to practice their religion(s) in whatever ways they see fit so long as it doesn't harm anyone else, damage property or otherwise disrupt or interfere with the education process. But because teachers and administrators are government employees they cannot organize or lead religious events, prayers, Bible studies, Kuran studies, Wiccan ceremonies, Buddhist meditation or any other religious observation of any kind. That is the law and it always has been since the Constitution was signed and it became the cornerstone of our federal law(s).

In regards to the pledge of allegiance and the phrase, "one nation, under God..." Those words were not a part of the original pledge of allegiance as it was written in 1892. (BTW - the guy that wrote the pledge, Francis Bellamy was a minister and he left any/all religious connotations out on purpose to avoid being divisive). In fact, "one nation, under God" wasn't added to the pledge until 1954, in response to the perceived communist threat(s) at that time. The words "In God We Trust" were added to our paper money a couple of years later (1956/1957) though our national motto has remained unchanged and is still "E Pluribus Unum," which means "Out of Many, One." Which is a motto that is far more inclusive and does a far better job of capturing the spirit of our nation and doesn't alienate or exclude people who don't subscribe to the Christian religion.

As far as the song these kids were singing goes, I looked this video up on PolitiFact because I'm pretty skeptical of anything Glenn Beck has to say. To my surprise I discovered there was a thread of truth to this story, though Beck and Fox News twisted and spun it into something it most certainly is/was not. It isn't evidence of some larger, nationwide conspiracy to indoctrinate our school children as "liberals." The songs they were singing were part of a musical production the kids in this 1 school were performing as part of their recognition and celebration of black history month. They also sang songs about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other African American leaders who helped change the way black people in the United States are treated. The fact that Barack Obama is the first black President EVER in our nation's history is a big deal, especially to African American folks who still endure racism and discrimination and are only a few generations removed from segregation and slavery. If there were a nationwide conspiracy to compel all school children to sing songs praising any person every morning when school began I'd agree that this would be creepy - regardless of who that person was. However, in context and as a part of Black History Month, the fact that these children chose to recognize Barack Obama (this was the kids idea, not the school or the teacher's) for becoming the first African American President and for his work to unite and repair our nation is great. Finally, it's probably worth mentioning that this video is from 2009, it's been 5 years and there hasn't been any nationwide implementation of daily praises being sung to the President or anyone else during that time.

I'm really curious as to why Fox News is sharing a video by Glenn Beck (from 2009), especially considering the fact that Fox fired Beck for being too extreme and called him, "crazy." In light of the fact that Beck went on to apologize for the "awful lot of mistakes" he made while working for Fox News; and said things like, "I think I played a role, unfortunately, in tearing the country apart. I didn't realize how really fragile the people were, I thought we were kind of a little more in it together." And he admitted (and I quote), "I don't give a crap about the political process, it was just entertainment."