I keep hearing the word "indoctrination" coming out of the mouths of people who are afraid of one thing or another, in hopes that if we just stop talking about certain things, they'll go away. Long before social media, I remember hearing the word used to criticize ABC for airing the episode where Ellen comes out as gay. Oddly enough, I don't recall anyone in my social circles who decided that day that they were gay, so even then, the long theorized gay recruitment agenda was not a thing.
People who fear things, even the things that aren't real, tend to buy-in to these fearful stories of indoctrination, especially from people who stand to benefit or attain power by perpetuating these things. In politics, the go-to play is to declare that there's something to fear, and that person wants to protect you from it. It's everything from the economy, to terrorism, to anyone not like you, or more often than not, people from the other party. When you really get down to it, the things that they can't control should disqualify them from any notion of advocating for you, and the people, while different, likely aren't people who can or want to hurt you. But what really gets me is the suggestion that any of us actually had some real choice in how we got here and accepted the social contracts, and fears, that we hold today.
In other words, you've been indoctrinated since the day you were born, and I can say without question that you did not choose these things. Among the examples:
- Your "gender norms" were not something that you chose. Boys like trucks and girls like dolls because someone put those things in their hands. The same is true for wearing dresses or pants. These are completely arbitrary standards that you were indoctrinated in before you could talk.
- Very few of us have any choice in religion. We're raised to believe (indoctrinated) in whatever faith our families adhere to. Yes, I realize faiths tend to ask you to commit to them at some age, but choosing to do that as if you've evaluated all of your options is a very rare exception. Don't get me wrong, I don't have any issue with anyone who commits to a religion, but most people can't tell me that they chose it and evaluated it against others.
- The "ism's" of the world are most certainly brought about by indoctrination. No one is born racist or sexist or any other vile tendency to dislike people for who they are. The scary thing is it can be reinforced in adults. Look at the whole "MAGA" thing, which is a thinly veiled call to return to the days where white, heterosexual men were effectively superior to all others.
- The teaching of American history has always, if regionally, been an exercise in half-truths. That's a form of indoctrination. Like many countries, the United States has a pretty dark past, starting with the slaughter and displacement of indigenous people and the scourge of slavery. And to make it worse, in places like Florida, they don't want you to learn about some of it in case it makes you feel bad. Ironically, they think that teaching the truth would indoctrinate you into hating America. The logic is insane: If you learn the truth, you'll hate America and we'll never get past racism, instead of the obvious and moral outcome that if you learn about it you'll love America enough to finally end it.
That all of this happens accompanied by flag-waving is pretty gross. If you are truly patriotic and love this country, it seems to me that you would value a number of things:
- Equal rights for all, whether it's based on gender, race, ethnicity, identity, health capability, national origin, religion... all the things.
- Acknowledgment of our shortcomings, and a genuine desire to make them better, especially in the area of equal rights.
- Rejection of hate for people who are not like you.
If we were all "indoctrinated" into those things, imagine what we would be capable of.