Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Cynical Senior Citizen


I’ve had all I can take.  The final straw has fallen upon my back. I’ve been beaten down beyond the point of fighting back.  Almost.

My problem? The news–the talk shows–the hypocrisy–the out-of-context quotes–the use of divide and conquer techniques, and the magicians’ tricks of distractions and delusions.

Quiet a list, huh? Yet that’s what we’re being fed every day.

Two days ago, I followed a link to an article reporting on the “lies” of a prominent politician. There were numerous quotes, each followed by a statement that this was “a lie.” There was no explanation of why that statement was labeled a lie. The truth was not explained. Therefore the politician has been branded as dishonest. Whether or not the reader believes these statements are the whole truth is not important. The tiny seed of doubt has been planted.  “Lies” has been coupled with a name.

Recently, we have been shown that there are some very uninformed people running for public offices. People who are not even smart enough to keep their mouths closed about issues they know nothing about. And they expect to be a part of our governing establishment?  We are in deep trouble if the caliber of our potential leaders has sunk this low.

Exactly, how do our leaders get chosen? We know that for most public offices the final choice is up to the voters–but who first supports or endorses these persons? What have they done to make them worthy of running our various governing bodies? And in today’s world of misinformation, what person wants to take the risk of having every misstep, from kindergarten forward, being publicized, exaggerated, and used as fodder for all the pundits’ high-paying shows?

Even our heroes– our icons of accomplishments–are being destroyed. What is the point of pride in watching the gold medal awards of the Olympics only to find later the award is ruled to be undeserved?  Was it? Why this determined pursuit of winner who had followed all the rules and been declared a winner? Who appointed these judges and were they within their rights­–or was this a witch-hunt like those held centuries ago? And why is every word a sixteen-year old accomplished athlete speaks, examined so closely?

We are facing some of the most important issues of our lifetime: How to handle our overwhelming debt; how to keep our freedom of choosing our lifestyle; how to be sure our children get a good education, and how to prepare for security in our twilight years. And to aid us in making our decisions we are facing political ads carefully crafted to influence our opinions. There are quotes from persons who may (or maynot) be qualified to judge the ability of their favored candidate–and there are our reporters, some of whom search for the truth and some who search for the scandalous.

Last night’s late night coverage of the Republican convention seemed rather interesting until it veered off course and turned into an in-depth analysis of what was behind each sentence or why other words were not used; what was the motivation of the speaker and what was their personal agenda ––then it degenerated into a rather nasty round of accusations.  All it took was one small click and I put an end to the report.

Despite all this, I will vote. And I will continue to fume over the pompous statements and opinions expressed by those who assume they know what is best for we ignorant peons. And I must remember, all politicians should not be painted with the same brush. Some deserve tar and feathering. Some merit a gold star. 

When it all gets too tiresome, we need to remember our humorists from days gone by. They often spoke the truth disguised as humor. From Mark Twain, Will Rogers and a former president, this one, attributed to Ronald Reagan, may best sum up the political game:

           “Politics is not a bad profession.
                                  If you succeed,
           There are many rewards;
                                  If you disgrace yourself,
           You can always write a book.”

Ho hum,