One one hand, when I hear a friend defend trump, I find it exasperating. How can someone be so utterly deluded not to see how despicable his actions are? I have difficulty wrapping my mind around this. On an intellectual level, I understand it. It’s simple tribalism, which I am not above. But when I hear the logic behind a friend making excuses for trump, it’s exasperating. Logic such as, “all politicians lie,” “Joe Biden extorted Ukrainian officials,” “it’s a hoax,” “fake news,” “drink the Kool-Aid,” and so on.
And then, on the other hand, take the riot on January 6th at the Capitol Building. I’m relatively non-judgmental about that. Is this me finding my deep compassion and understanding? I suspect the truth is far from that. I think I’m exhibiting the Telescope Effect. (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/11/AR2010011102007_2.html or https://theweek.com/articles/496623/little-dog-lost-sea )
In a nutshell, the Telescope Effect is the tendency to react more strongly when the subject is an individual rather than a crowd. Take, for example, the dog left behind on an abandoned ship in the Pacific. A massive international effort ensued to rescue this dog. This issue had a singular face. A suffering dog. Yet do these same donors donate similarly to alleviate hunger in third world countries? According to the Telescope Effect, people feel less compassion to faceless masses to an individual with a face. It’s “…a cousin of the better known compassion fatigue…” See http://clingingtomysanity.blogspot.com/2010/01/telescope-effect.html)
I’d have respect for anyone who admitted that trump’s actions are reprehensible and unworthy of a President but that they support trump because it’s more important to have a any republican in office than any democrat. I would respect that line of reasoning. I have yet to hear that from anyone.
My journey continues to explore my judgmental feelings towards people.