Saith Me… Reflections on Change

Do we really need to burn down the house in order to get out of the kitchen? 

 

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During a discussion with my children about the varied political theater which has dominated the news during the last 12 months, this rhetorical question emerged. Throughout history, a desire for change has often led to radicalization rather than the reasoned thought needed for change to be successful. Sometimes the radical voices drown out reasoned ones and disaster occurs. Other times the reasoned voices prevail.

What Choice Do We Have?

This wonderfully well-written blog post was shared with me today. It articulates the perception that Trump and his devout followers create. This perception is of their own making. It is difficult for the rational mind to make any other assumption than the ones outlined by this blogger.

The thing I have noticed, which I have been noticing elsewhere as well, is that there are so many confused people who are seeking a leader who does not require them to read or think on their own. They simply want someone to tell them what to do. Trump is excellent at reassuring his followers that they need not think because he will think for them. Somehow this assurance is more comfortable for them than continuing to struggle with an imperfect Hillary or a revolutionary Bernie. Certainly, it is more comforting than shifting through the mass populace of Republican candidates who only seem to confuse the GOP identity rather than define it.

Those who commented on this blog who either did not read it, or did not understand the literary nuances of it, or simply hated what they saw, struck out, attacking the blogger and demanding that the blogger give equal critical measure to the other candidates. Others who read the blog but found it to make them uncomfortable with their choice to follow Trump asked the blogger to tell them what other choice they have.

What other choice do we have? We can choose to do more than ask someone else to do the research and work for us. Yes, we all like to share a quick meme or thought, but we need to research and reason, rather than simply seek a shepherd to follow.

Who is expendable?

I just read something that gave me pause. 
 
In response to President Obama inviting Ahmed Mohamed to the White House, certain opposition voices criticized the president over his priorities.
 
Why didn’t he invite the family of the woman in California who was shot by the illegal immigrant to meet with him? Why didn’t he invite the families of those killed in South Carolina?
 
As questions of this nature continued, I kept feeling a greater sense of disquiet. The tragedies which occurred in these examples were perpetuated by criminals, people who through either direct intent, or through a lack of responsibility and adherence to the law brought about a terrible result, someone’s death. These were criminal acts committed by criminals.
 
However in Ahmed’s situation he was the victim, not of a criminal act, but a victim of the government. He was treated by those in authority as if he was a criminal for doing the very thing we hope our youth today will do – get excited about learning.
 
While we may debate how the authorities should handle the serious task of protecting our youth, let’s not lose sight of whom we are protecting. If in trying to protect our youth we trample on their rights, have we not taught them a terrible lesson? If in trying to protect the whole we damage the one, have we not already lost the battle?

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Saith Me… Fear as an Excuse

If we let fear become a legitimate excuse for the violation of law then we have lost the war – terror wins.

 

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

History: To Study or Not To Study

The more I study history the harder it becomes to ignore the ignorant who have been fed propaganda and generalizations rather than actual history with all its good, bad, and complicated parts.

The notion that one must tear apart mythology in order to seek fact does not appeal to me, nor does the idea that all facts must be conclusively proven in order to be held as true. Yet on the other hand, I find the the idea that mythology and popular lore should be the only history consumed by a patriotic citizenry just as unappealing.

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Bias in the Media

Media bias comes in two forms, the suppression of news coverage and the coverage of news in a manner that constitutes propaganda. Propaganda, or what we are being told and sold, makes up half the problem of biased reporting, the other half of the problem lies in the suppression of news.

In an article I was reading this morning, published by POLITICO, there was a great quote by Sharyl Attkisson, “The images that the public sees every day, in many forms, are influenced and manipulated by political, corporate and other special interests through orchestrated and well-financed campaigns.”

I had great hopes, for a brief moment, that for once the media would discuss the presence of and issues caused by corporate or special interest bias in the media. Sadly, rather than branching out past the standard issue of political bias in the media, the article only focused on the well discussed presence of political bias.

Political bias/propaganda is fairly easy for most people to identify, and the educated can maneuver through it with little difficulty. Although frustrating, political bias is not the real danger because it is relatively obvious. It is the corporate and special interest bias/propaganda that hold the real danger for the public, because of the difficulty identifying the motivation. We could say, “It is all about money,” but this oversimplification obscures the difficulties we face in identifying what money is purchasing. Certainly, a corporation would want to increase its earnings and thereby wish to wage a campaign against anything that threatens earning potential, but unlike with pure political bias, the public is more often then not unaware the campaign is being waged. Special interest bias/propaganda is even more difficult to identify, because unlike in a political campaign where the special interest group is identified at the end, news coverage does not include a “paid for by” statement at the end of each news story. Nor will you hear a “this story which we did not cover was suppressed by” statement during the news coverage.

While many can learn to read between the lines of propaganda and glean an understanding of bias, one cannot read between the lines when there are no lines due to suppression.

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Saith Me… Choosing to be Miserable

Interpersonal connections through various modes and methods, specifically during this past two months, have reminded me of the old saying,

“You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

There is one category starkly missing, some people can never be pleased because they are determined to be miserable.

Regardless of the justifications of misery – temporary or chronic – there is a stark difference between experiencing misery and being miserable.

Wretched, distressful events occur, but it is a choice one makes to become wretchedly distressed by the events. The key factor separating the experience of misery and being miserable is Choice.

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.