By Michelle Martin, PhD, MSW
Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone where you try your best to point out the fallacies in his or her argument, and rather than acknowledging the facts, he or she responds with the unchallengeable statement: "I just know what I know, period!"? I sure have, and I have to say, these types of conversations are increasing in frequency, particularly on social media, and they're incredibly frustrating.
The big question I want to address in this blog post is why is it so hard to change someone's mind about something (particularly political issues), when facts exist to prove them wrong? And of course the other way is true as well. Why is it so difficult for us to change our own minds when others come at us with facts to prove us wrong?
There are many possible answers to this question, and I'm going to share a few of my thoughts on some reasons for our collective stubbornness, and seeming inability to compromise on important issues. My hope is that this post will also shed some light on how it's possible that there is such a gap in how people in this country are perceiving the exact same dynamics and set of events so differently.
By Michelle Martin, PhD, MSs, MSW
I’ve been blogging about the humanitarian crisis involving Central American migrant families separated at the U.S. border for months now, and I along with so many others in the United States and around the world, have been trying to find an explanation, some type of rationale for the Trump administration’s handling of the political asylum seekers coming across the southwest border. After reviewing all the pleadings in the federal case filed against the government by the ACLU, as well as many of Trump’s speeches related to immigration, I think I may now have a better understanding. I think I have insight into his and his closest advisors’ perspectives on political asylum; their ultimate, buried-under-the-rhetoric ideology, so to speak.
Trump let his real agenda slip out in a recent speech. The scene was the Cabinet Room, a historic meeting room at the White House. The setting, a luncheon with Republican members of Congress. Trump began his speech by referencing the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his “Muslim ban,” calling it a victory for the Constitution.
Although there is great variation in the opinions of immigration policy experts on the most effective way of managing cross border migration, throughout this speech, Trump presents the immigration debate in simplistically polarized terms: Republican want closed border and low crime, and Democrats want to open the floodgates to gang members and murderers, stating,
Dr. Michelle Martin is a social worker, policy specialist and Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Social Work, where she teaches social welfare policy, and researches dynamics related to immigrants, political asylum-seekers, refugees and other displaced populations.