While Rob Kall’s recent rant — Desperate Times Demand Revolutionary, Visionary Response — is right on, it’s also at least five years tardy and temporary. Will the same or similar call be on the board tomorrow? What about next week? Next month and year?
As a review of my postings will demonstrate, I’ve been beseeching, begging, pleading, cajoling everyone I know in every way I can think of to THINK! Think for themselves. But first, to actually extend some effort on behalf of a search for facts from an extended variety of sources. With the Internet, today there just is no excuse for being uninformed. Prejudice and bigotry on behalf of long-held notions are not excuses, they are indictable explanations. Google anything, a word or an entire phrase. (“supreme law of the land,” for example) Then check out the responses.
Understand this: not all opinions are equal. Just because you’ve got one doesn’t mean it’s worth a bucket of warm spit. If all opinions were equal, no one would pay the big bucks to a doctor for his or hers. They’d ask the bag-person at the grocery checkout. Informed opinions, however, do have value. They have value as a consequence of the qualifying adjective that precedes “opinion.”
My two sons could tell you that, from the times they were respectively six or seven, one of my ongoing mantras to them has been, “Do not listen to me. Do not listen to your mother, or your teacher, or your minister (though neither has ever been either baptized, or to a church in their lives), or your boss, or your president, or what is stated on the evening news or in the paper: If something doesn’t make sense, there are only three reasons it doesn’t. One, it was poorly explained. Demand clarification. Two, you misunderstood it. Put forth some effort and try to learn why and how you misunderstood it. Third, it actually made no sense. Disregard it.”
It is human nature to try to deflect blame whenever possible, and to whatever degree we can get away with. (That’s also why we have lawyers and law suits, by the way.) But just because it’s human nature doesn’t mean we have to allow ourselves to fall prey to it. Not falling prey is the core definition behind being “responsible.”
We look for scapegoats; something I feel Rob attempted in his editorial when he excoriated television news. As I opined a few days ago, it’s time all of us recognized that the networks are businesses that draw revenue from advertisers. Poor ratings produce poor ad revenue. Whether it’s the movies, the radio, music CD’s, television programming (including the news), those producing it are after only one thing: our patronage! They are giving us what we as a society obviously demand: CRAP!
We want stuff that doesn’t make us think too hard, or that challenges our preconceptions. Check out the evening schedule. CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Look, to the sports fans: If you live in Orlando, why the hell do you give a damn what the teams in Seattle or Chicago are doing? Why are your eyes glued to “Earl,” or “America’s Biggest Loser”? (Although, perhaps you should be featured, it likely would have zero to do with weight.) Turn off the set, get on the Internet and do some searching, read a nonfiction book, or change the station to C-SPAN.
I’ve heard it over and over and over: “We don’t discuss politics or religion in our family. It just leads to bad feelings.” To that, I recommend you pay closer attention to the last four words in the National Anthem, you know, the four words that almost always get screamed over before “Play ball!” Yeah, “brave.” If you haven’t the guts to slam your brother Sam on the mat for some proposal he made relative to either of the two proscribed topics, just how “brave” are you? Or, would “gutless wimp” be a more apropos description?
Thing is: Rob was 100% right. Perhaps he was beseeching, begging, pleading, cajoling you to do one of three things: lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. But standing still in these times that demand we march is the very antithesis of patriotic. If you’re too timid or too lazy . . .
In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;