The problem, however, is much bigger than just the pundits. It's everywhere as fast-paced life affords little time to give a full view of things, unless we take it upon ourselves to do more. When we accept commentary as fact, no matter what the issue, it is very easy to get carried away in the emotion of the issue and even if we think we are personally innocent, there is likely the occasion where most of us get carried away. Social media today feeds on what the pundits say , pumping out "stuff" in mass with little, if any, verification other than accepting as fact that which they want to accept. Opinions are great, but if we really want to learn the truth, we must broaden our scope and look at publications or shows which give us both sides of the issue from each point of view and also look at what really is happening, not what a paid reader of the news wants us to believe. How can we know the truth if we base it on a speaker or a writer who slants his work where he wants it to take us? We can't, but that is the nature of our world today. We refuse to take the time to look at things from all angles and the result is often faulty decision-making.
But it gets worse. No one loves the thirty-second sound byte approach to news and information more than our elected politicians. They send huge sums of money, given them by those who have a specific self-centered objective, to run campaigns in just that manner. And we fall for it, hook, line and sinker, with the same old, same old politicians being reelected until they can no longer walk on their own down the legislative aisle to their desk. Then they retire and we pay for something to be built in their honor.
So, what can we do to change the way we reach our conclusions if we are willing to devote the time. Well, here are a few, nothing scientific or earth shattering, but they will help in getting us in mode to think before you react.
First, think about what we see routinely and the types of issues that people around us talk about with their concerns. Then compare that with what we see and hear on media sources, print, sight and sound. It will be amazing how different what they consider to be the issues are from the ones we are concerned about.
Second, take the time to look at differing points of view by exposing ourselves to different sources. For example, if we routinely watch CNN, watch Fox, or vice versa and tune in and pay careful attention to what is being said.une out to what is being said. Do the same with print media as well. If you read the Washington Post, also read the Washington Times for example and we will see the differing slants on the same story. Again compare what we've read with what we've witnessed with our own eyes and that in itself will likely be an eye opener.
Next, do research on the topics we find important in our lives and see what is being said about them, pro and con. Don't use social media like Facebook and Twitter and the like for they are really for people who don't want to think. They're fine for sending pictures and quips but that's about it. Think about what was read vis-a-vis our individual experience and then reach a conclusion about what is best.
And finally, never evaluate a politician merely on their sound bytes and what they say they'll do. Look at their record and we'll see what they've done and once again balance that against our experience. That on its own will probably serve as a form of term limits since politicians routinely promise and don't deliver. At least on the record performance usually works that way.
Logic comes from thinking through the issues and studying what works and doesn't. Emotion is nothing more than feelings and feelings don't lead to real solutions. As we've seen for many generations before us, emotions lead to doing something because it feels good and it's why the same problems surface over and over again and are never resolved. Feelings also drag us into areas that aren't really the major issues of the day, but the ones that sound good and surface through the emotions. They are intense but they haven't been thought through. Let's think about it and really do those things that need to be done. When we do, assuming we can truly open ourselves up to the time commitment and the view from different perspectives, we'll find that we all have much more in common than not. And that will bring us together to make life better for all.
In a nutshell, it really boils down to this. Don we want to base our votes and actions on the words of a George Soros on the one end or the Koch Brothers on the other? Both pay big bucks to influence opinion with flashy ads and spots, but neither really has our real interests at heart. What they have is their own self-interests and when they see it works with great success in molding us into little sheep, they continue it and things stay just as they want them to be. We can do better and if we look at the truth after careful consideration, we'll know what to do if we are honest to ourselves.