Benefit of the Doubt
"Well, what's wrong with them?"
I know a lot of people who disagree on political things. Most of them I see as more knowledgeable, kind and more “normal” than I am. I like almost all of these people very much and trust them. But they disagree. Sometimes vehemently. They all have their facts and their influences and it has always bothered me that geographic location in the US is likely to predict political leanings.
I’ve had many discussion about facts, what is true, and why these people disagree. I wonder if most of it has to do with the benefit of the doubt.
One person I know really feels comfortable with the opinions of a particular political pundit that they give the benefit of the doubt most of the time. That pundit is very much disliked on the other side of the isle. I personally spent years watching every episode of The Daily Show and Colbert Report mostly because they were funny but also because I got some news that I felt I could trust(somewhat). I gave these shows the benefit of the doubt and it showed up in my political discussions with others who did NOT watch these shows at all.
I found I was often proven wrong when my challenged by those who did not watch these shows. The people who challenged me were giving the benefit of the doubt to other sources. I think over time the sources we choose end up influencing our view.
I listen to a collection of news podcasts to keep my influences broad and I’ve also started to notice that I also have developed a dislike for people who’s opinions I regularly listen to.
For now, I think it is impossible to really know who is right and who is wrong.
I was having a conversation with a very kind older person once about how they vote straight up and down the party ticket every time. I mentioned that I know wonderful kind people who are very smart that vote the opposite of what this older person votes. The said, “Well whats’s wrong with them?”
The answer is nothing. They are wonderful people who are well informed, introspective and spend a lot of their time trying bring happiness to others. I think they simply give the benefit of the doubt to different thinkers than people who believe the opposite.