Where I’ve Been and What I Did

Many people have kindly asked why I haven’t been blogging for a while. It was a planned and intentional hiatus. About this time last year I got deeply concerned and a bit depressed by the tsunami of media negativity, both corporate and social. it seemed that the main purpose of media communication was to share bad news, misinformation, fear-mongering, outrageous political posturing, and conspiracy theories (and pictures of food and cats…). As a fairly well-educated, somewhat rational and reasonable adult American living in the United States, I asked myself the question, “What am I missing here?” So much of the verbiage seemed blatantly ridiculous, manipulative, and destructive. Any sensible person would have to see right through the lies and obfuscations and reject the junk outright, right? Yet, millions of people seemed to be swallowing mountains of garbage whole. Was I being too narrow-minded and ill-informed? This question framed my year-long quest.

Beginning last March I donned my research persona on a personal level and determined to deep dive into cultural trends, politics, economics, race, gender identity, abortion, political extremists, columnists across the entire worldview spectrum, climate change, poverty, food insecurity, healthcare, medicine, and international politics and war to see if I could unearth the best possible information and see if there was any validity to some of the extreme and bizarre perspectives that I was missing. I wondered if all I was doing with my own blogging was simply add one more poorly informed opinion to the miasma of skewed and biased voices? I wanted to be able to say I have studied some of the issues I reflect on, and that I have taken the time to try to understand opposing views. I feel I have much more of a right to critique points of view other than my own if I take the time to truly comprehend them.

I will admit right off that while I have gained greater insight, appreciation, and clarity about differing perspectives, my own opinions have not shifted greatly. I have always been a researcher – I am one of those nerds who actually read the footnotes and often go back to the original sources for verification. I appreciate well-researched, well-documented, and well-presented arguments. I am irritated by opinions presented as fact, by factoids taken out of context to alter meaning, and by data and information used for manipulation instead of education. We simply have no reliable and unbiased corporate news outlets (CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox, Newsmax) and social media is a cesspool of ignorance and invective.

Here are four takeaways from this year that I share, knowing full well that they will make absolutely no difference and won’t influence the current corruption of clear and accurate communication one little bit.

  1. It doesn’t take any real effort or energy to verify or falsify almost any claim made on the Internet, especially those made by our political leaders. If you see any outlet, social or corporate, “quote” the Associated Press, go to the source article. You will see clearly and easily how the quote is taken out of context and manipulated to communicate something it was not intended to communicate. All of our political actions are meticulously recorded. It is a few mouse-clicks to see the voting records and statements of our elected representatives. Partisan politics aside, our more outrageous and outspoken Republican reps are blatant liars and hypocrites, our less outspoken and impotent Democrats are confused and inconsistent. It is very hard to make a case that one party is more honest and trustworthy than the other. Neither party seems interested in truly representing their whole constituency, neither party seems to have much respect for the offices they hold, neither party is interested in the Constitution they pledge to defend, and neither party seems to value the common good over special interests. I somewhat suspected this to be true. Upon a deep dive exploration, I am even more horrified and convinced that Washington DC has lost its collective mind. The similarities between our parties (values, interests, pandering, and attacking opponents) far outweigh any conversative/progressive, traditional/liberal, intranational/international differences. MAGA is bi-partisan; it means Make America Greedy Always.
  2. Anti-intellectualism is a manipulative tool of the elite to control, confuse, and corrupt working class USA. There is a pervasive distrust of science, good research, universities, rigorous data study, professional expertise, and verifiable fact. People in positions of power no longer appeal to intellect and reason; we are being treated as sheep too stupid to think for ourselves, being played emotionally and irrationally, to be reactive rather than reflective or responsive. Anyone who thoroughly researches, studies, and masters a subject is viewed not with respect, but suspicion and derision.
  3. We are currently a fear-based culture, willing to make any concession to create a false sense of security. We are gun crazy, believing we are safer armed than not. However, citizens of these United States feel LESS safe knowing that there are so many weapons resident in every neighborhood. So called Christian leaders will gladly abandon the teachings of Jesus to elect racists, misogynists, those opposing immigration, the poor, the sick, voting rights, the homeless, etc. We are currently a nation seeking a false sense of security over any true commitment to human rights, peace, justice, or mercy.
  4. The forces of misinformation, manipulation, fear- and hate-mongering, conspiracy, and contempt seem to be much better organized than the forces of veracity, fidelity, compassion, unity, and kindness. The counter-forces are all around us, we just don’t give them nearly the same amount of attention. We look to the sensational, the outrageous, the bizarre, and the incredulous for our entertainment, believing falsely that it is also education. We feed the forces of corruption by giving them all our attention. A Marjorie Taylor Greene is a piddling puppy who only gets attention when she makes a mess; the more we react when she piddles, the more she piddles. Stop giving her attention and she will go away. Plaster her face and latest puddle on every media outlet and she will drink it in to refuel for her next mess. Our media outlets make choices about what to report. The system is designed for the results it is getting.

Okay, enough rant. I will be writing about things I have actually explored and studied. I will try to offer multiple perspectives, but my disclaimer is that I will preference objectivity to subjectivity, the positive to the negative, veracity to obfuscation, facts to opinions, expertise to posturing, and good, verifiable research to speculation. Believe me or not, agree with me or not, trust me or not – this is all up to you. For my own sense of integrity, I needed to be more informed and more aware instead of just dumping more opinion into the mix.

Categories: Uncategorized

8 replies

  1. Welcome back! I so appreciate your honesty, self-awareness, wisdom and integrity. Please keep writing and blogging. It may feel like you only hold a small candle, but every candle makes a difference for those who are seeking its light.

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