“Anchoring or focalism is a term used in psychology to describe the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.”[ii] How many rusted anchors are holding you down from accepting new and contradictory information to previously held assumptions? In a recent NYT article on Donald Trump the author raised the issue of “race and racism, cognitive traps that psychologists call anchoring and what we call first impressions”[iii]
The article discusses Trump’s doubling down the guilt of the central park five despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and convictions wrongly obtained being overturned. His actions there are a different issue.
How many “Rusted Anchors” are his supporters holding onto based on his 1) false first impressions from his primary debates with fellow establishment republicans and his presentation now, 2) the success of his businesses without revealing his taxes, 3) his honesty now that Trump University suit is moving forward, or 4) what he says about how he treats people and what women and prior small business people say about him? A good number have finally jumped ship. The weight simply became too much.[iv]
I would argue the weight became so much that it threatened a different kind of anchor (for some) that relegated political party and affiliation secondary to principle. Sadly some may have done so for political expediency, but I hope most listened to the anchor of their soul.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”[v] Hebrews 6:19
This is an entirely different anchor that needs protecting and care. “Epitaphs on believers’ tombs dating as far back as the end of the first century frequently displayed anchors alongside messages of hope. Such expressions as pax tecum, pax tibi, in pace, or “peace be with you” speak to the hope Christians felt in their anticipation of heaven.”
Anchors can be bad or good. It requires constant vigilance and discernment – both in the political and religious realm. How many religious leaders are selling their faith for favor (or donations) from Donald as even their devout congregations are pulling away? What are your anchors?
I have long been a Democrat as democrats support a diversity of social justice issues that are low on the republican ticket (excepting pro-life). My position is “Choose Life.” The Catholic vote has been in play like it has never been before due to Trump’s behavior and the inclusivity preaching of our beloved current Pope Francis.[vi] I try to discern my values, my social justice concerns, my recognition of the dangers of pharisaical preaching, the risk of pride, of intellectualism, and the traps of false anchors (religious, political, cultural, and herd mentality).
With undue suffering (perhaps a vintage anchor of catholic guilt) a vote on either side of the ticket is not a vote for idealism of catholic ideology. It is my imperfect guess on what is best right now with the given choices on all the issues (without grandstanding, without a public audience, without demonization, without rationalization of the many imperfections of our system). A large focus of mine given 26 years of social work experience is related to liberation theology themes and hearing the cry of the poor.[vii]
There are too many issues to address them all here. However, one issue can be addressed. Your anchor is defined by you. You define it by feeding it accurate information, by discerning sincere dialogue and information, and by continuously refining and caring for your thoughts, your actions, and yes your vote.
If your vote be different than mine after you have did your due diligence (minus the poison of the brightest rhetoricians, the simpleton good ole fellow routine, or fear mongering fire and brimstone types)[viii] I trust our God will find grace for us both according to our needs and deeds.
Disclaimer: I have a responsibility to direct you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church[ix] for official church doctrine – I am wholly unqualified to represent or pretend to represent the intricacies and the mystery of the faith and my wayfarer journey as a believer. I have sought out personal guidance on some of these issues from clergy and found my anchor on some issues – but the journey and the struggle never ceases.
Peace Be With You….
[iv] The same argument can be made for Hillary supporters I am sure.
[viii] You also have a responsibility to not spread false anchors or misinformation – the poisons of solid anchors.