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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Continuum Yuk

This is a supplement to my last post that I started writing in my mind  within minutes of the last post’s arrival.  I kept wondering why so many  folks cannot accept anything by an opponent as valid.  Before I hold forth on that, though, I have to apologize for my off the cuff last comment on my last post.  One of my few constant readers asked me what I thought of Harry Reid’s comment that Romney is a disgrace to Mormons, to which I replied that I think that Harry Reid is a disgrace to Mormons.  One of the things that Mormons are taught early in their years is that no one but our ultimate Judge has any right to sit in judgment of the righteousness or faith of others.  I am ashamed of my quick judgment of Senator Reid and I have spent some time on my knees asking for forgiveness, not only for  my sin (Our Lord said that he will forgive whom He will forgive, but of us it is required that we forgive all men) but asking forgiveness for the good Senator, if he feels he needs it.—or not.

Back to the ranch:  One early things we learn in the study of Communication and Semantics is that we are all subject to the temptations of selective exposure.  That means that most of us, especially in the case of things we hold dear, tend to select those bits of information that support our current feelings and understandings.

Supplementing this bit of info, I have been known by those who know me best as a news “Junkie”.  It is more difficult now in the era of 24 hour news exposure from multiple sources, but I have been known to watch the news  from one source while taping that from other sources to get the broadest picture from the widest points of view.  I still watch FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, (which is pretty difficult they are so inept) and all three of the major networks.  Taping is not as necessary as in the past because CNN and Fox broadcast everything multiple times so one can look at things from a variety of perspectives.  I would find myself really puzzled by my friend’s attacks on Fox News for lying or taking one point of view (frequent term is Faux News) and I admit that their commentators (Hannity especially) takes a paint of view that sometime I find uncomfortable, but even in commentaries one would rarely find on CNN, never on MSNBC, and rarely on any of the former National Networks the equivalent of opposing points of view as effective and as often as one will see such as Juan Williams, Alan Combes, Bob Bechel (I know I spelled that wrong)) and the wide variety of Democratic campaign officials and political figures.  (Many Democratic  folks are invited but never come.  O Reilly would kill to interview the President, but the President would never come for such an interview in part because no one on the O Reilly show ever gets to complete a sentence in the interview without interruption.)

I do have to say that generally those on Fox who deal with hard news are evenhanded and incredible effective,  I found myself glued to the TV back in the time of the New Orleans  Hurricane and I think that if there was objective thinking, The Fox News  reporter (whose name my seventy eight year old brain just wont recall) should have won a Peabody for his work in New Orleans..   THe pejoratives generally hurled at FOX are classical reminders that we all are subject to the use of selective exposure, listening only (or mainly) to those who strengthen or uphold  our already held opinions and criticizing any who oppose us.

I don’t know how intercollegiate debate is done now, but I had the good fortune to spend two years debating with a great coach and in debate at that time one had to have an affirmative case and a negative case and had to look at both sides of an issue very deeply, and to know how to take either side with passion and integrity. (there is a place for integrity or both sides of every issue.)

I said in the beginning of the previous post that  I fail to understand how anyone with an IQ over forty can support the president.  Taking selective exposure and the passion that exists in social issues, on reflection, for one who believes strongly in the principle of socialized medicine (and any who followed my blog five or six years ago, know that I had many affirmative things to say about it)  or who was/is emotionally caught up in  the idea of the first Black President can overlook many evidentiary items in order to maintain that thought.  I am still personally frightened by the thought of what our nation will be like if he wins.

A passion for certain social goals will lead one to oppose other good goals.  As Mormons, we are taught almost from infancy to follow the Motto “Choose the Right”.  To earn or just to buy a CTR (get it? Choose  The  Right) ring is really exciting for many young people.  Last week in church I noticed some really nice people that I love passing around bumper stickers (not to me, they know me) which said       LDS- CHOOSE THE LEFT.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It is difficult.

I was away on vacation (actually a combination of dog and house sitting for my daughter so that she could go to a family reunion that we just didn't’ have the energy to go to after our trip to Washington and a few days in Hilton Head where we, mostly, vegged) and without access to the internet.  I had real ambitions to post early upon our return, and had lots of ideas, none including whining about our health, of things to write about.

Every time I sat down to write, the turbulence and vitriol of the current political season filled my mind.  I came up with four or five political rants, and suddenly realized that political rants  were not needed.

I am really nervous about our society right now.  Political emotions are so high that one has to be suspicious (no matter where one personally stands) that everything that is written or spoken politically is suspect.

I don’t think that most folks sit down to make up lies about each other, but when emotions are this high, clear headed thinking becomes very rare.   The personal paradigms are so totally opposed that no-one seems to be able to rationally discuss politics.

I am, and have been for years, a political conservative, but I have been able to engage in discussions with friends with other views, (and as a Theatre professional, communications teacher form Political Science student –almost three years- I have been in the company of a lot more liberal folks that those would agree) but this season discussion is out, unless one chooses to offend friends.

As a conservative, but one who studies both written and televised information from most sources, I find it difficult to understand how anyone who is objective and has an IQ over forty can support Barak Obama for another term.  However, I live in a company of a great many people whom I love and appreciate at a number of levels (definitely with IQ’s over forty, many with Doctorates, Masters etc. etc. who with their paradigm cannot understand how any feeling thinking person can fail to support Obama.   The passions are so rigid on both sides that reaction is almost totally emotional.

I am a Mormon.  Our church officially and directly will not allow politics in meetings or anywhere else.  Proclamations are frequently presented in church that the church does not take sides in elections.  (Occasionally they take a stand on what are considered moral ISSUES.

In one of our local meetings, one speaker  said something affirmative about Mitt Romney and several people stood up and left the service.   Mitt is a Mormon, and in our congregation, I suspect a fair portion of the congregation could fit into the category “Mormons who hate Mitt”.  Actually that is a little over the top, a better category would be “Mormons who would and do emphatically oppose Mitt.” They would deny the word “hate” but the voices—well????

What worries me is that with these two opposing paradigms so entrenched. no matter who wins the election, can anyone successfully (and Constitutionally ) govern our country.  The study of history, and my personal experience cause me to wonder, if not to doubt.   I can easily imagine mobs from both sides disruption our land for a long time.