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Faith & Flag Conservatives: resistant to change...why?

"I don't want to see our nation become secular, socialist, or woke," a writer wrote.

My guess is that the writer is a Faith and Flag Conservative. This group of Republicans (about 23%) are staunchly conservative on nearly all issues. They say America stands above all other countries. They want Christianity to be more prominent in public life. They are strong Trump backers; most support politicians who (incorrectly) claim he won the 2020 election. They are conservative on most issues, particularly economics. And they are not willing to change.

Why won't they change? Troy Campbell writes in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that there are two reasons people resist political change: First, people resist facts that make them feel bad about themselves. "Our beliefs are who we are. We love who we are, and we want to protect who we are. So, when someone tells us that our beliefs are wrong, they tell us who we are is wrong."

Secondly, everyone deals with facts in ways that support their preferred beliefs. So, Faith and Flag Conservatives deny facts, arguing that they aren't true and that current scientific practices do not allow measuring or testing facts surrounding their beliefs. If they change, they will admit that they are wrong.

Having said all this, I'm not going to change the minds of many readers, but the facts are still the facts. America is a secular nation. The Constitution says so. Ronald Reagan said, "We establish no religion in this country, command no worship, mandate no belief. Nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.” In the Treaty of Tripoli (1796), American negotiators wrote that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." We are secular.

Webster defines "woke" as aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). That's the "woke" I want us to be. But unfortunately, the political right weaponized "woke" as a way to denigrate those who disagree with their beliefs. So why wouldn't you want to be aware of essential facts about our history?

America is a blend of capitalist democracy with elements of socialism. Don't want socialism? Then get rid of Social Security, CHIP, Medicaid, Veterans Health Administration, Medicare, federally funded education programs, housing programs and food assistance. You may not be happy.

Thomas Mitchell Inverness

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