do you hear what I hear?

Paul Ryan, in last night’s vice-presidential debate, framed his anti-abortion argument thusly: “According to my religious beliefs, I believe that. . .”

Well, it doesn’t really matter what he says next.

I was actually thinking the other day about how we all kind of impose our own filters on what we hear and read. It used to be that you subscribed to one or two newspapers or news magazines, and you probably would have read at least a little bit into articles on many topics, including some written by people who had a different opinion or belief system than you did.

Now we unfriend people on facebook if their pages become too political or too personal or if they disagree with us on our walls, and we read numerous blogs written by people who think like us. And I’ve been wondering if any of us really listen to people who have different opinions, and also if any of us can even frame an argument in a way that is convincing, articulate, and not defensive.

My argument against Ryan’s is this: It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are. 1. You’re running for office in a country that was presumably founded on a basic principle of religion and government functioning completely independently from each other. 2. Your religious beliefs are not necessarily mine, which means you don’t get to impose the conclusions you come to based on them onto me or anyone else.

I was nauseated by his smirking facial expressions, much as I was by Romney’s last week. A friend of mine commented on facebook that she thought that Joe Biden was condescending. So, at the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder — do we only see and hear what we want to see and hear?



4 Responses to “do you hear what I hear?”

  1. October 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I think you are right that we hear what we want to hear and I must admit that there are some hot buttons that when people push them, I turn them off–but for the most part I like to hear both sides to an issue

  2. October 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I’ve been enjoying the Vancouver International Film Festival this last couple of weeks. One film “Virgin Tales”, was a documentary that followed the Wilson family from Oregon who had some pretty specific religious beliefs. It was well done and objective. No narration – the audience was left to draw their own conclusions. When asked about this church/state thing, the father (with no hint of irony) said “It’s not about politics. It’s about influencing people”. At that point, I realised it was a comedy…

  3. October 13, 2012 at 3:08 am

    I agree that we want to hang round with people that have similar views and beliefs, and we don’t listen to people that we know are going to say something diametrically opposite to our own opinion. However, I’d like to think that I also listen to people who present a reasoned argument and I hope I even consider changing my views on some issues. The biggest problem I have is with people whose underlying premise is irrationally dogmatic and which I don’t share. I suspect Mr Ryan might be in that category.

    • 4 sheriji
      October 13, 2012 at 10:33 am

      I agree. We like to hang around/read/listen to people we agree with because a) it proves we’re right and b) it proves we’re not alone. And, as is probably quite obvious by now, I think Romney and Ryan are lying sycophants who will say whatever they think they need to say to get elected. Why they want to be in office at all escapes me, unless it’s the power thing, and I’m quite sure it has nothing to do with serving-the-common-man thing. But I thought Ryan smirked the whole time, and my Republican friend thought Biden did. It does give one pause. . .

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