Lately, I've begun to feel a little nauseous as I am spun right and left by the media. Like I used to feel as a kid playing blindman's bluff---the room teeters, words begin to blur, and my vision becomes distorted.
Back when Faux News was the only obvious spinners of falsehoods, innuendo and mean-spirited gossip, I used to pray the Left would find a way to combat the negative effects that evil empire was having on American thought. It seemed disgusting to think so many Americans were so ignorant as to swallow the poison pablum they were being fed. Everytime I saw some left-leaning liberals cut to ribbons beneath the razorsharp blows of his nibs Bill (Oh really?) O'Reilly I cringed. It seemed like it took forever for the liberals to recover from the shock of overt attacks, to learn how to not be thrown by them, and to speak their points anyway.
At first I took this as a good sign. Jon Stewart and Colbert leaped onto my screen, making fun of the obvious mistakes Washington was making, revealing through humor the serious reality of a President gone amok. Then, MSNBC brought on Keith Olbermann, a master satirist with political savvy and an elegance that made Bill O'Reilly look like he had just slogged his way off a hog farm. (No insult intended to hog farmers please) Finally, CNN which seemed to lean a little to the Left, hired Lou Dobbs, but he turned the station into a big bull-horn repeating only one constant belligerent message--No outsourcing of jobs & get rid of the illegal aliens.
The only problem I have now is that it's harder than ever to sort fact from fiction. And what about this feeling I have that the American people no longer exist? Liberals vs Neo-cons, Christians vs heathen others, law-abiders vs criminals, warriors vs anti-war activists, now we all seem willing, even happy, to be living in comfy little comparments labeled with terms that are in reality very abstract. And over-riding all this is fear-not toward a foreign threat, but from the threat of us against ourselves? You can choose your "them". Both sides of reality have their "thems".
The other day when my email box revealed at least 15 emails practically ordering me to ACT Now!, to call this person, write that person, meet here locally, gather in the capital, send us money, etc, etc, etc. I suddenly had this epiphany that I was being manipulated by some of the very people I thought were protecting me from manipulation!
It was as if the blindfold had slipped in my little hide-and-seek game of truth finding.
Am I wrong to want to find my way back into a sense of American brotherhood, to feel respect for, and yes, even love, for my neighbor, even if that neighbor is dead set against abortion or against civil rights? If I don't, how will I ever be able to persuade them that things are not always he way they appear?
Today everyone is speaking their mind and choosing sides. But something is missing. At the top nothing ever changes. The powers-that-be continue to be the powers-that-be in spite of all the Internet "movements", the endless national petitions, the raging rhetoric on the Congressional floor. Outside the spin zone everything remains quite steady. Is there a plan afoot to keep us all entertained or busy hating one another while slowly our elected officials are quietly taking away our Democracy?
So what now? Where do I turn now that I feel a little distrustful of my own political allies, a little skeptical about the information coming out of the Left's own spin machine?
I don't think I'm alone in this feeling. But where do I turn? Where?
Maybe that's where it all went wrong. Having that desperate need in a world full of chaos and question marks to find some kind of bearing, some kind of solid truth. Right now this appears to be some kind of folly.
Maybe sometimes it feels better not to have all the answers.
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