The week that was. Nothing earth shattering per se but a week of interesting conversations, diverse points of view and even a "little" debate here and there. Though we are more than 15 months from the next general election, media outlets are already attacking and endorsing candidates and their points of view. Facebook natives are actively posting disparaging articles and posters that are usually depicting exaggerations, embellishments and even flat out lies basing out of context statements or events as proof of their interpretations. One such person attempted to attack me this week when I took a poster that stated "300,000 black students in college but not one word about them on Fox or CNN". In the comments I added "or NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC or any other station". This guy replied " yeah, but Fox is racist". When I ask for proof he responded with articles quoting Richard Joyner and Jon Stewart that contained headlines not remotely addressed in the article; some proof. Today there was a post about Donald Trump that elicited responses of "ass", "moron" and "idiot". As I responded to that one;
"An ass? Probably. Idiot or moron? No. Politician? Not even in the most liberal sense of the word. Qualified to be President? I don't think so but I'm not so sure what those qualifications are anymore. Thought provoking? Absolutely. Anything this far from the election that causes people to think outside their bipartisan prisons I enjoy. We need educated voters for a change instead of robotic sheep controlled by the media".
That is exactly who we have become as an electorate. College professors often teach students their interpretation of history and current events. Party politics have become legislative grudge matches controlled by extremist points of view; the far left controlling the Democrats, the Tea Party splitting the Republicans. Instead of educating themselves, we the people lazily continue to vote for whoever we were raised to support without realizing that things might not be the same as it was. Americans find themselves supporting points of view in statement that they dispute in action as they live their everyday lives because we are being programmed as a society to accept one platform over another in its' entirety lest you be run over by the other side. It has become ridiculously out of control and it is the fault of each and everyone of us for allowing ourselves to be manipulated. As an free individual, what do you believe in? Can you be motivated to answer that question for yourself?
I attended a birthday party for one of my youngest son's classmates this weekend. While the kids went swimming I took the opportunity to engage in chats with fellow parents about their views on our local and national education system, single parenting, beliefs both general and religious; just stuff. The unique thing about this particular party is that everyone but me had a similar cultural background; in other words, my son and I stood out. The only reason that fact is relative for the purposes of this article is that the media, the political parties and our local antagonistic opportunists tell us that I should have nothing in common politically with my host and their guests. As I have known for years based on my life experiences, we shared many more beliefs, values and points of view than we disagreed on. Even the disagreements were minor in detail and not nearly as drastic as those who would categorize us would have us believe. So I ask you and now I will answer for myself. Let's see how far apart we really are?
I believe that if you take a white child, a black child and an Asian child and put them on a playground they will play together. I believe that 95% of Americans believe in three basic things; obeying the laws of the land, some form of religion or worship and working for a living. I believe that the government has made the last one difficult by implementing legislation causing a reduction in the job market, stagnated wages and programs that make it more cost efficient NOT to work. I believe that most Americans are closer to moderate in their political beliefs and not extremists. I believe that there are opportunistic antagonists benefiting and even profitting from creating discord and magnifying it to appear we are farther apart then we really are.
I believe that every student has a right to an equal opportunity to obtain a quality education; however, going to school is a privilege. I believe that the lack of discipline and the rise of "excuse making" for bad behavior has caused our education system to be second rate when compared to other countries that stress discipline. I believe that the removal of competition (everyone gets a trophy) has led to students not developing the skills to handle disappointment, the ability to persevere when faced with adversity and the loss of learning problem solving abilities that they will need in real life. I believe that there are too many sociologists holding positions in school administrations. I believe teachers are underpaid, under appreciated and chained to a curriculum that stifles creativity in the classroom. I believe (and have witnessed first hand) that when the rules and standards are the same for everyone that all students will rise to meet those standards; and they will sit back and wait for your excuses to save them if they know they are available. I believe that the two most appropriate cliches' that apply to teenagers are "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" and "give them an inch, they will take a mile".
I believe Emergency Service workers should be held to a high standard. I believe that their good work should be just as publicized and celebrated as their bad work or mistakes are scrutinized and attacked. I believe equal time should be given in the media for differing opinions and points of view and that those supported by FACTS should be given more weight. I believe that retractions and corrections by the media should be reported with the same verve and that it should be the LAW that they do. While I understand why this will never happen at the national level, I believe bipartisan politics should be abolished at the state level and below. I believe that taxpayer money should be spent on items that improve or enhance the quality of life of the citizens, not be used on lawsuits just to preserve the status quo of the local politicians. I believe in the U.S. Constitution and all that it guarantees.
I believe that ALL military personnel should be appreciated, celebrated and unconditionally supported whether you believe in the opinions of the politicians who deployed them or not.
I believe that once you see through and eliminate the emotional smokescreens that the political parties and the media puts up every single election to divert our attention from the issues that affect us all, we the people share much more in common than these antagonists want us to know.
As you can see, these are relatively "general" beliefs that cover most spectrums. We waste a lot of time allowing ourselves to be drawn in to knit picky debates about minute details, thus allowing our elected officials to get away with not doing their jobs; representing their constituents and their best interests! Take the next 15 months to determine what "your" beliefs and values are instead of allowing someone else to categorize you. Don't be afraid to admit that a differing point of view than that of the mainstream appeals to you and act on it. When someone hands you a political flyer, don't be afraid to ask details about why they support that candidate. Do NOT accept the status quo answer of party support. If they cannot provide any other answer, they are merely sheep.
Lastly, I believe in your right to disagree with any or all of my beliefs. A few of us are extremists by nature. Those of us that may be one step to the right or left of center will probably agree "most" of the time; maybe not in the details, but certainly in the theory.
I ask you, no I challenge you; what do you believe in?