“Hi Natalie, this is your little sister Isabella.”
We sat at a picnic table, shivering in the spring wind, and watching children play on the playground, this 84 year old woman and I. She was beautiful, with her thick, curly gray hair and stylish sunglasses. She shared, with her sister on the phone, memories of their playing with paper dolls together. My mind went back to my childhood, wondering what I would talk about with my siblings when we reached our later years.
Our favorite Saturday cartoon was The Super Friends. I wanted desperately to be Super Girl, but I would settle for Wonder Woman because of her invisible airplane. As soon as the program was over we would turn off the t.v. and race around the house saving imaginary people from pretend villains. It was a chance for our mom to sleep-in, or simply get a break from four active kids.
My older sister and I had a record player that we would blast after school in our room. We would sit in the open window and consider ourselves rebels as we sang along to Mickey Mouse. Later the record player was used to play songs that went along with a paper stage and puppet set. I am still haunted by one of the songs, “I Can’t Dance”, especially when a new song with the same line comes streaming from my daughters mouth as she listens through earphones to her High School Musical download.
Now we have busy lives, my sisters, brother and I. We have children and jobs and husbands. We have friends that steal us away, and live far apart. But I like to think that we are connected by games played, television programs watched, songs listened to… so many years ago. I like to think that at 84 we too will be on the phone discussing which Wonder Twin power to activate.
“You are brainwashed into thinking whatever the government tells you is legitimate.”
I grew up in a house that believed in many conspiracy theories. The JFK assassination, the first walk on the moon, the Pearl Harbor bombing; these things came along with the idea that somehow the government had created or facilitated each incident in order to progress their own agenda.
It is easy to fall into this pattern of thought. After all, our government doesn’t seem to inspire much confidence. Rather than prioritize what is best for the citizens, politicians make getting re-elected their top goal. After the disheartening gun control vote in the senate, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the citizen’s views don’t
“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”This quote by 19th century historian, Lord Maxim, is well known; certainly, I grew up reciting it. But more recent research has shown that there is a connection between someone’s moral identity (how strongly they feel it is for them to be fair, generous, caring, etc.) and how they use
power (more in this article at Smithsonian.com)
And I would take this full circle. My hypothesis is that the lower a person’s moral identity, the more likely they are to believe in conspiracy theories under the assumption that if they were to gain power that is how they would act.
As a parent this begs the question of how to build strong moral identity in our kids. But as a citizen it makes me wonder whether there could be an objective test we could give to politicians before we elect them. It could become part of their running platform; Nominee xyz scored a 99% on the moral identity scale: Paid for by friend of xyz. But
would there be a conspiracy to fix the results so the ‘right’candidate would be elected?
Phew! To be honest, I’m not sure what my moral identity score would be, but I know my laziness score is high... and conspiracy theories are simply too much work for me.
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