Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Down with the drama of extremism!

Whether it be the right, left, religion, politics, race, ethnicity, class, etc... Extremist fanaticism has just got to go, and go far, far away from our culture. I don't know why we humans are prone to such extremist natures at times, but when belief in whatever cause you're passionate about keeps you from hearing and understanding actual, factual truth, then the problem is with the believer and not the facts of the situation.

Facts are facts, and regardless of whether one side or another has just tossed those facts in a spin cycle, we should use our possibly god-given gift of reason to sort things through. Fortunately, today I don't feel alone in my struggle against extremist viewpoints. My friend George said something this morning that was the catalyst for today's post:
"Nothing in our country is any different than it was a year ago. Saying Obama is a socialist is about as accurate as saying Bush was a nazi. Judge the situation by what happens, or what has happened, not by what you think might happen."
So regardless of what side you think you're on... Shouldn't we all be respectful of each other and remember that our country, our world even, needs us to calmly discuss our differences, learn from each other and find the best way forward on whatever issue happens to confront us these days???

Journalists... do your jobs and report "Just the facts, ma'am" and please make sure you get all of them and you share all of them. It's not your job to form my opinion. It's your job to present information in a fair and honest way so that I and my fellow citizens of the world can form our own opinions.

And to everyone in our world... Take the time to look at all the facts, not just the ones you like. And ask relevant questions related to those facts... Not the "if yes, you're with us, if no you're against us" kinds. As we've seen from recent history, following a demagogue and listening to just that one side's facts has wasted BILLIONS of US dollars and equipment in Iraq alone. This is not a red or blue statement... It's just a fact.

So based on that fact (Billions of our tax dollars has been misplaced, wasted, lost, etc.), you'd think there'd be a lot more people demanding our government do a better job of keeping up with our resources. Those Billions sure could have come in handy during this latest recession...

So here's me, a proud US citizen, demanding that we do have better accounting of what our money is being spent or lost on.

I also respectfully request that we all start treating each other with respect. Not to beat a dead horse, but a member of Congress calling The President a liar in the middle of a speech to Congress is just plain disrespectful and does not and has not lead to anything but more drama. What I'm referring to is called emotional intelligence, and it's something I hope we'll all practice a little more of.

And please don't misunderstand me... I'm not bashing belief in causes, religious or otherwise...

Personally, I happen to be a firm believer that we should all try to make our world at least a little better than we found it, that common courtesy is the grease to the wheels of society, and that love makes those wheels turn a whole lot better.

But guess what, if you show me facts that disagree with my above-stated beliefs, I'm not going to lose my temper, call you names or raise up a fanatic army of common courtesy and love supporters to bring you down. Instead, I'm going to sit here and consider the information you share with me, do my own research from multiple sources, and if you've got a real point based on all the facts, I'll probably agree with you.


  1. Not surprised that your views are similar to mine.
    To some degree, the loss of independent media (the 4th estate, as the framers of the constitution referred to it) is a factor to be sure. I had no idea what reporters or newscasters opinions were about Viet Nam for instance when I was growing up. A small segment of news was labeled as opinion and always disassociated with the broadcast or newspaper by a disclaimer. Now it is very difficult to find facts and honest reporting, it's always more opinion and spin than news. We can pinpoint the start of this with the deregulation Newt Gingrich lobbied for on behalf of Rupert Murdoch. Before deregulation, a single owner or corporation could only own 1 media outlet in any given market. Only U.S. citizens could own U.S. news outlets (This was the thing that prevented Murdoch from buying up U.S. media.) The general trend of giant corporations gobbling up all the smaller ones until only a handful controlled a market entirely used to be called monopoly and was outlawed by wiser people who experienced the ills caused by monopolization 1st hand. Murdoch was of course only one example of the problem. Look at what corporate conglomeration did for/to the music industry. When all that stuff we consider classic was recorded, there were thousands of small record companies representing a multitude of views about what was valuable music, then slowly but surely corporations saw some of these folks were making lots of money and moved in. By the 1990s instead of thousands of companies independently owned there were only 5. Where a small company was happy to sell 70,000 copies, the big companies couldn't be bothered unless they could sell millions. This is like MacDonald's buying every restaurant in the world and turning it into a cheap fast food joint. News is the same, it's been turned into entertainment, though not only is it reduced to the lowest common denominator,(lowest IQ as well) it now is very easily manipulated because there are so few sources. We have witnessed the end of news media as the 4th estate. You now have people who profit by whipping up hysterical fanaticism, crying crocodile tears and exploiting the less intelligent among us. The biggest problem we face has nothing to do with right or left. It's a battle against the dumbing down of the population. The dumber they are the easier they are to manipulate. This is why you have the complete loss of civility in circles... mobs of horribly misinformed perhaps innocent but largely unintelligent people whose fears, frustrations, and prejudices are wholly exploited and incited. It's downright sad.

  2. I majored in journalism and one of my favorite professors, Wendy Waite, sat me down my senior year and shared some reality with me about the industry. She was my media ethics professor, and she was a powerful influence in setting my compass about journalistic integrity. She made me realize that while I was great at writing, especially investigative or special interest feature stories, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the constant struggle I would experience between the business and my ethics, and when she said I'd have to move around a lot to move up the ladder, that just sealed my fate against pursuing what had been my chosen profession.

    And I agree with you about that change in focus on news media companies to earn larger and larger profits instead of performing a public service has been disastrous.

    Fortunately, with our expanded access to both information and music on the internet, I think we're now able to have different voices in addition to the ones big businesses support. Perhaps today's age will become known as a time when new classics were made and discovered.


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