ReadingThinkingAndWriting

Tag: Obama

Have a look for yourself

by on Oct.30, 2010, under Current

One of the adages which I’ve kept out of  my continuous, arduous, and at times circular quest for self-improvement is this.  Don’t let other people’s interpretations, right, wrong, or indifferent be your first read. 

Recently President Obama appeared on the John Stewart’s Daily Show.  I wasn’t able to watch the broadcast which meant that I would be greeted with a host of stories and opinions in the media about his appearance before I would get the chance to watch it.  On reading the titles and summaries presented I was very tempted to ignore my rule and read, but I am happy with the one little victory; I didn’t click.  But, even reading the story titles biased my viewing so the victory wasn’t complete.One opinion piece on the Washington Post was titled “The Joke’s on Obama” and the excerpt stated that he had a “Brownie Moment”.  It ended up having the unfortunate effect of causing me to search for conceptual gaffes instead of letting my own mind take in the conversation and draw my own conclusions.  In a sense, I’ll never know what I would have really thought of the President’s words; the opportunity is lost.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Barack Obama Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

When I actually watched the show, I tried to keep the thought from influencing me, and I met with some success.  In what I could salvage of my own thoughts I found that the President made an effort to honestly answer Stewart’s questions which I found were in line with what I have gathered are the concerns and opinions of many voters.  There were a few occasions where Obama was tossing the rhetoric, but for the most part, I perceived him as engaging in real conversation.

In fact, he even provided a point of view I hadn’t considered; the framework.  It has been the history and it can be argued that it is even by design, that our system of government moves slowly on important issues.  The President stated that a requisite first step in any large-scale, progressive, legislative change is the establishment of a framework out of which progress can come.  He mentioned civil rights and the fact that many people in the south couldn’t vote even though the package passed into law granting these people the right to do so.  However, the landmark legislature finally corrected some major flaws in the initial creation of our system, so it regrettably, but somewhat understandably took a few years to reach it’s final form.

One could make the argument that this is just a cover for caving to the special interest which get politicians elected.  But I would argue that while one can make the argument, it shouldn’t be vehemently defended unless the time is taken to actually study the founding, the founders, and the history of the legislative process as it relates to major progressive change.

The demands on our time great these days, so we might say that summaries with slants are the best we can afford if we want to stay informed.  However, I think this an opportunity to reevaluate a priority or two and decide whether or not we want to continue to have very little time for the things that are important to us.  Do we want to continue to have less and less time to spend with family and friends, or with a book.  It may be the reality that if we don’t secure more time to learn about what is actually going on rather than relying on the often severely biased interpretations from the news media, we are forfeiting our capacity and even our right to control our government.  Going to far?  Perhaps.  But, perhaps it might be worthwhile to look into the level of political party influence that exists in the main stream media.  Are we simply being fed party lines dressed up with graphics, enlivened with theatrical deliveries, and delivered using neurolinguisticly choreographed scripts?

I’ve quoted James Madison before writing “A  popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”  In my opinion, we have seen farce and tragedy proving Madison correct, so perhaps it’s time we do what we can to bring about the “Change” we are demanding from our politicians.  Defy the mainstream news media; demand the practices originating with the first administrations of this country stop… by ignoring them.  Like the solution posited by a Simpsons Halloween special… to defeat the monsters, Just… Don’t… Look.

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