How can these people – be they our friends, colleagues or, worst of all, our spouses – believe as they do, when facts and reason clearly point in the opposite direction? How can they support political candidates whose views are so antithetical to our definition of common sense?
They’re questions voters across the country have been asking a lot this election season – voters like Kate Burkett of Indiana and Tom Barnes of Maryland.
Burkett is an English teacher in an Indianapolis high school. Many of her students are juggling not just their schoolwork, but more acute problems like hunger.
“The specific school that I teach at is a 73% free and reduced [price] lunch school. And also we are a minority majority school where we are 34% white students,” she says.
Burkett’s experience in this school has taught her the importance of a social safety net. She doesn’t just think government-supported lunch programs are useful. She knows it.
“I know these kids. I’ve known them for years. And I see the good that they go on to do in the world. And It’s worth it. It’s worth the investment.”
Six hundred miles to the east, Tom Barnes lives in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Barnes is a farrier – he trims and shoes horses’ hooves for a living. He believes in hard work, self-reliance and personal responsibility. And these qualities have shaped his political views, which he describes as “fiscally and internationally conservative, not hard right, but conservative.”
Barnes would never take on too much household debt. And he wants his country to run like his home.
“I don’t think people should take on more debt than they would be able to repay. And, if they can’t, I think that there should be consequences for that. And I think the country is no different. We should not take …