There was a time, when, "if you read it in the (New York) Sun" or if you heard it from the mouths of Huntley, Brinkley or Cronkite, then it was so.
There was a time when you could count on the integrity of the reporters and the veracity of the news they were reporting.
Sadly, that time is not now.
The Internet is full of blogs, which anyone can create. You don't need a degree in journalism. Integrity and veracity are not requirements. You don't have to prove you are not an idiot. All you really need is that undocumented, very biased opinion, a computer, and an Internet connection.
I do believe that everyone ought to be able to express their opinion. However, that does not mean that their opinions should in any event, be taken as Gospel. And while expressing one's opinion is a government-bestowed right through the first ammendment, you have to be careful not to overstep a God-given commandment when you do so.
What people should not be allowed to do, is lie.
Of course they do lie, and they have always lied and were it not so, there would be no need for those wise old chestnuts like, "caveat emptor" let the buyer beware. I just wish we would all take that principle to heart and take as much care about "buying" someone's words as truthful as we do buying a dishwasheror a computer.
There were several instances in the last year when blog opinions, or outright lies were repeated as factual stories. They were repeated as such on national news networks as part of their election cycle coverage, until finally there were hundreds if not thousands of people swearing the stories reported were true.
Who do we blame for this profanity [for surely that's what it is]? The opinionated or biased ones who vent their opinions and tell their lies? The media, who repeat these opinions and lies as if they are fact? Or the end user, the reader, the viewer or listener who seems in this day and age strangely willing to believe, well, pig swill?
Why do we lately seem so willing to believe the words we find on the Internet, or inn the news without benefit of thought? They say that "trust" is at an all time low. You've heard others say, "you can't trust anyone anymore", parents warn their children, "you can't trust strangers!"But apparently there is no distrust when it comes to outrageous opinions, lies and inflammatory stories written or reported on line.
It bothers me that a piece written on a blog as either opinion, or as an obvious attempt at sarcasm can be repeated by a television news station as "fact" without that station even bothering to verify the piece. It bothers me when people are willing to believe the most ludicrous things, because it suits their need to vent, or to hate, or to smear.
It bothers me that many of those same people proclaim in loud and boasting voices that they believe in God, and then act in decidedly ungodly ways.
I don't like liars or cheaters, but somehow, in today's world, it seems the liars and the cheaters are the only ones thriving, the only ones getting ahead, and the only ones being believed.
Yes, I do believe that the truly righteous will receive their reward in Heaven. But I also know that they should be receiving a bit more of the goodies here on earth, too.
And they probably would beif there weren't an overabundance of liars, cheaters and idiots gobbling them all up.
You've heard it said, I am sure, that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. My problem is I can't tell the difference. I am constantly, even eagerly, slotting folks into that last category. I'm like an excited little puppy all wound up having someoneor several someone'snew in my lifea puppy who gets all frisky and happy and bounces back and forth as if saying, "Wanna play? Wanna play?" Then when things happenthings that seem inexplicable to me, things that leave me wondering what I could possibly have done wrong, I'm left broken hearted because those people turn and walk away with no backward glance whatsoever and I am left feeling totally and completely bereft.
I'm beginning to suspect that the only thing I keep doing wrong is slating people into the "lifetime" category who never should have been there in the first place. I've only begun to realize this flaw in my previous behavior because the ones I have now in that "lifetime" slot were the ones meant to be there all along.
I know I can't be the only person this has happened to. Life has taught me that very, very few of us ever experience something that no one else ever has. I've had a number of traumatic and tragic things happen in my lifetime. I know that probably most of you have, too. At some point, maybe twenty years ago or so, I came to the decision that if life really was only 5 percent what happened to me and 95 percent how I dealt with it, then I'd better see if I could deal with things in a way that would be beneficial to others, and therefore beneficial to myself.
Yes, that's another variation of making lemonade out of lemons.
Because I am, down to my soul, a writer, then dealing with things in a beneficial way meant I had to write about them. Those who can look beyond the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of my novels will discover that I deal with a lot of issues that many of us struggle with in life. What I don't deal with that way, I manage to tackle within the pages of these essays, every week.
Life is a journey and like any long trip, not all of it is made over smooth roads. Sometimes we have to travel the gravel side roads, and sometimes we find ourselves on deeply rutted dirt trails. Sometimes we're making our way in the company of good companions, and sometimes we are achingly alone.
Everyone has to define the terms under which they want to live their lives. We each of us have our own priorities, and we're not all the same. We aren't all given to the same purposes or causes; we don't define happiness or sadness in exactly the same way. We really are unique, each one of us. We share a common humanity, yes, and a common spectrum of possibilities, but the fine points, the details, are different for us all.
As I've gotten older, as more milestones have gone by my personal window on this, my life's journey, I understand as I never did before how self sufficient we are, and at the same time, how isolated we are.
I believe that we were created to help one another. Do you want to have a good, really good, feeling inside of yourself? Then take your eyes off yourself and help someone else. Do you want to feel as if you matter? Then matter to othersdo something that makes a difference either to an individual or a group.
Are you the only one who has ever made a horrible mistake, lost someone dear, or suffered an injury to your body or your soul? Of course not. We all have. Is every day a day of joy and laughter and all things positive and light?
If only. Nope, there are at least as many dark days as there are light ones in anyone's life; the difference lies in how we rate them. I personally give happy, sunny days a 5 rating, and the gloomy, sad ones a 0.5 one.
Oh yes, that is stacking the deck in my favor, but then I can do that if I want to. Because the most important principle I have learned in life says I can. What is that principle? Gosh, I am glad you asked.
It's that, in the final analysis, everything emotionaland I do mean everythingis a decision. How you handle the firestorms that come your way, is a decision.
Life doesn't control your heart or your mind or your soul. You do.