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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gray Matters: Challenges of a new environment

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Here I am getting used to a new environment and attempting to adjust to all the changes it represents. In the small rural area where I lived for so many years, we had our differences of attitudes but we were always free to choose with whom we wished to share them.

I had more in common with the members of the Woman's Club and the Library Board so that was where I was most active. My husband was a Rotarian, a member of the County Conservation Board and of the Iowa Corn Grower's Association because those were his interests.Here at Cottage Grove Place the choices aren't so wide-ranging.

I enjoy a group that gathers for an hour once each week to discuss current events.In the few weeks I have been participating, I have come to know pretty well what to expect.One fellow always quotes from the same ultra-conservative sources, usually concerning the same subject matter.

Another member, a very outspoken woman, pretty well echoes his views. Neither of them ever gives the opposition any wiggle-room.

For example, I find little in President Obama's views with which to agree, but I often try to point out that he could be making his decisions based on a lack of experience, or an absence of the advice of more seasoned statesmen, rather than by sheer intentional dishonesty as those two always insist.

That tack hasn't gottenme much headway, to date.

Another exceedingly bright gentleman prides himself on the broad-minded, very liberal stance he takes on every issue.He seems convinced that none of our right-leaning associates have thought the issues through that are facingAmerica at this time.

At our most recent session he accused all who are critical of today's young people of using selective memory. He insists that, if we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that we weren't a whole lot better behaved when we were in middle school.

There was little time left in the session so I didn't speak up but I intend to challenge him the next chance I get.

In a final statement he told us he was raised in inner city Detroit. He went on to tell of the political corruption that was taking place in his home state at that very time, attempting, I felt, to convince us (and perhaps himself) that little has changed.His background, I am sure, makes a huge difference in his point of view.

In the small-town school I attended our teachers were in total control of their classrooms.I shudder to think what might have happened had anyone spoken out of turn in my seventh grade room!

Rather than continuing to express our same views on pretty much the same subjects week after week, I have suggested another approach. I think it would be extremely interesting if each of us would give our version of how our philosophy has developed.

In my own family, for example, my sister and I always seem to come down on opposite ends of the political spectrum. We were subject to the same influences while growing up, but as we entered adult life our views took opposite turns.

She moved to Louisiana so the emerging segregation issues of the time might have affected her thinking.

However, her husband who had the same mid-western background as we did, held views very similar to mine.

This seems to me to be proof that there are many forces at work as our minds develop.If I succeed in convincing the Current Events Chat Group to go beyond their opinions and attempt to figure out exactly what did influence their points of view, it should be interesting.

If it happens, I will let you know.