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.
As I get older, I hear words come out of my mouth that I used to hear come out of the mouths of my mother, and later, my father-in-law.
I remember how I felt hearing those words too, words that began with the phrase spoken or intuited, “back in my day”. This would appear to be the same way those around me feel when I utter that same concept—if their eye rolls are any indication. There’s a tendency, I suppose, to dismiss out of hand some of the grumblings of the senior generation. I understand that, actually, because I do fully recognize and accept that the older I get the crankier I can be.
That said, I do believe, unrelated to the emergence of my inner curmudgeon, that it can generally be said that in this day and age, two very important—dare I say sacred?—qualities seem to be lacking in our society: common sense, and the art of compromise.
Lack of common sense, when I was a kid, used to get me a swat on the back of the head—or a more severe punishment, like being grounded. Lack of common sense used to be something most people avoided like the plague. To be accused of having no common sense was a stinging indictment, a horrible insult, or in other words, a really bad thing.
When, and why, did that change? Why did we kill common sense? I don’t have the answer for that, but I sure as hell see the results of it in the news nearly every single day. I’ve read stories of a kindergarten boy being suspended from school because he placed a kiss on the cheek of a female classmate. Georgie Porgie anyone? Actually, school administrators are the most bereft of common sense, if you ask me. The latest asinine school admin decision I’ve read about? A boy brought a clock he made to school to impress his teacher and ends up suspended and being considered for charges—hoaxing a bomb, wasn’t it? If you want to charge anyone with that, charge the dumbass teacher or principal who panicked and called the police.
Yes, I know. Perilous times and blah blah blah. People, do I have to say this? Yes, hold the line. Be vigilant. But if y’all are going to run around like chicken little, divorcing your common sense and, apparently, your intelligence, guess what? You’ve handed those terrorists a huge victory—a bigger one, in fact, than the one you’re trying to prevent.
I can just hear them over there now at terrorist central. “Ha! Over in North America they used to have freedom, they used to be caring and kind to one another, they used to have rational discourse between political factions. But we fixed all that!”
Just think about it for a few minutes. It might sink in.
Thinking of those political factions brings me back to the second virtue that’s been murdered: the art of compromise.
Didn’t our parents tell us that we could not have our own way all the time? Mine did and I am positive yours did too (you know, in the days of common sense).
Here’s how I will explain the art of compromise it in terms relevant to my husband’s and my life for those younger folk who don’t know what it is. We married young, and went from our parents’ homes to our own. We had but a weekend honeymoon. David grew up in a family with both parents, but more, a father who was the Commander In Chief. He’d say “jump” and everyone would ask, “how high, sir?”
I grew up in a house where my dad was the head of the family until he died when I was seven and a half. After that, my mom was in charge, and did everything from earning the money to cooking the meals, to fixing the toaster when it broke. She built window valances, and planed one of the plank floors upstairs to make it level.
David and I got home from our honeymoon and my dear new husband tried his hand at edict-issuing a la his dad. He said, “I’ll tell you right now, I eat roast beef, roast pork, mashed potatoes, cream corn and canned peas.” I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry. We don’t earn enough money to eat roast beef and roast pork every night. So you’ll have to eat what I put in front of you.”
We very quickly compromised: he would try everything once. What he didn’t like, I would not make again. In those days the only thing he didn’t like was liver. Now he’s older, and he even likes that too.
I hope we can all get back to common sense and the art of compromise. In my opinion, they can make the difference between living a good and meaningful life, and merely being alive.