Kathleen ~ Town Commissioner

“Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, 'I want to feel isolated and lonely and that I don't matter.'

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“When COVID popped up, I wasn't surprised. We live in a connected world. What has surprised me the most is the number of people who do not trust science. It reminds me of going back into the Dark Ages of spontaneous generation, when people weren’t willing to believe the germ theory. The lack of trust in institutions, the willingness to broadbrush things.


It makes me long for the days when my teachers really pushed us on critical thinking. It was not what opinion you held, but how did you support it with facts? And there's no such thing as an alternative fact. It is a fact or it’s not. There are interpretations, but you had to support it. What were your sources? What's your reasoning? Is it logical reasoning or were there any solipsisms? Were we going into faulty reasoning? Boring classes for many, I guess, but that's what I wish we had more of.


I grew up in the NASA community and it astounds me that some people believe we did not go to the moon. I am interested in the psychology of why some people find it easier to believe the level of coordination that would have to happen for these conspiracies to occur.


When you have someone who believes they 'know,' there is nothing you can do. Because it’s a filter. What I find most surprising and most disturbing is that we've gotten to a point where we're not willing to question our own beliefs. We're not willing to question our own realities. We're not willing to stop and honor. I may not agree with your viewpoint, but I honor it's valid.


I believe when people feel they're not being heard, it's easier to fall into 'us versus them.' Then that takes on a whole life of its own. I believe there is a lot of that happening and it makes me sad because it's so much more of a challenge to make that connection. At the heart of it, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, 'I want to feel isolated and lonely and that I don't matter.' People long to matter, to be taken seriously and to be honored and respected with dignity. And I think we just have to, each one of us, when we have a situation like that, needs to really listen with empathy, not with the words, but with what’s underneath. And I think maybe, maybe we can start to build that relationship and then the conspiracy theories will start to die down. That's optimistic and wishful thinking and unrealistic, but I think the opposite behavior only makes it worse." -- Kathleen #NorthCarolina