Thursday, March 7, 2013

Smoke Screen

I have been thinking about this topic for a while now. I've been debating on whether or not I want to put this out there. I decided (obviously) that it is a worthwhile topic and one to discuss. Government and media alike love to create catastrophes. They both love to sensationalize issues to the point of "crisis levels". Both institutions will latch onto the most compelling "evidence" for their pet issue and ram that down our throats, conveniently leaving out the rebuttal evidence or even the most accurate or up to date evidence. This is nothing new and it is definitely not partisan--they ALL do it--every single one of them. Lately I've been thinking about the real purpose behind it and here is my theory, and no, I'm not a doomsday prepper, nor do I have some secret website exposing all the government conspiracies out there, this is just a theory.

If you polled 100 average people and asked the question, "What is the biggest problem facing our country/society right now?", I would expect at least 20-30 different answers. Think about that, how can the "biggest" problem be 20-30 different things? Obviously words like biggest and worst and most dangerous ask for opinion, not necessarily fact so it stands to reason people would have different opinions. I just think the number of differing opinions would be staggering. How can people living in the same society have so many opinions of what the biggest problems are? I would suspect answers to include the following plus more--Obamacare, gun control (both sides), debt, moral decline, religious zealots, terrorism, illegal immigrants, marijuana, medicare cutting, conservatives, liberals, military spending, entitlements, the Federal Reserve, abortion, high taxes, low taxes, death taxes, Social Security, government spending, unfair advantages for the rich, discrimination against a race/religion/sexual orientation, etc. Here are my thoughts on all these problems.

I think all of these issues warrant discussion and have potential to be big problems but I do not think ANY of these are the "biggest" problem we face. I think the biggest problem America faces right now is an unwillingness and perhaps inability to focus. As a society, we cannot prioritize issues as the relate to the continuation of the country. We cannot even agree to agree on which problem to work on first. The media might spend a little time on the national debt today and then tomorrow devote a whole segment to gun control and then the next day devote a large chunk of time to terrorism. We are schizophrenic and ADD all at the same time.

I think it is on purpose. Now I cross into the realm of conspiracy theorist. Now you might think I am crazy. I think the government leaders and the media does this so that they can hide their own pet issues and keep us "informed" about everything so we focus on NOTHING. I think the only way this country will save itself and will move forward with anything resembling meaningful reform is if we as a society table discussions on most things and focus on 2-3 major issues that shore up our foundation. Honestly, the discussion about abortion and discrimination against homosexuals will not matter if the country is bankrupt. Not saying those issues aren't important, just saying there are things we need to do as a country to survive,  before we can worry about making it a better society.

Hope I ruffled a few feathers out there. Hope you can read this objectively and hope you can weed through the ADD media and see the things that matter most. Hope we can come together as a country and fix the ship before we worry about placating the passengers.

One other note, I am switching to writing on Thursdays instead of Wednesday. Schedule will be a bit more accommodating. Love to read your comments.


Anonymous said...

I think that when you ask 20-30 people what the biggest issues facing this country are, you get so many answers because people will respond based upon what THEY believe is the biggest issue.

And, the media does cover many varying issues because, well, each issue they cover will be the #1 issue to *someone* or *some group*.

The problem in your suggestion, is how to choose which are the 2-3 top issues? There are many varying opinions, and each group feels just as strongly that *their* top issue is the one most pressing.

Jonathan said...

That is exactly the problem. How do you get a group of opinions to actually identify the priority problems? We are such a nation of self perceived "individuals" that we feel our opinions matter more than they actually do. We latch onto our "pet issue" and make it so important that we won't see that there may be things that are actually more important in the long run.

Ironically, WAY too many of us are not even half as "individual" as we think we are. The media and American culture and even the government to some extent, lies to us and says we are individuals while simultaneously telling us what to think. All the while, they increase their power position by making us increasingly more dependent and by blasting new issues out there constantly to keep to pot stirred and not allow unity of focus or time for people to think for themselves.

I don't know how to fix it but imagine how quickly things could get solved if we were "allowed" to focus on one problem at a time. We wouldn't have the luxury of tabling the discussion indefinitely. That issue would get solved and then we would move to the next one. It's a matter of focus.

Anonymous said...

And hence the issue. There will always be something *more* important to someone else.

There are multiple issues wrong in this country, and there is no way to solve them one at a time. And, there is truly no way to decide which is the most pressing. Not unless you are willing to trust a core group of people to make that decision. A decision that may not fall in line with what you your self believe is the most pressing issue.

This is the price of our freedom, is it not?

Jonathan said...


You are hitting on exactly the problem. We as a culture are not willing to put our personal pet issues aside to even try to recognize the most important issues our country faces. The thing is, most issues that people adopt as their most important issues will not ultimately destroy our nation. There are only a handful of issues that truly threaten the sovereignty of our nation. Maybe we can't work on them one by one but we can certainly cut out the superfluous issues and reconvene on them once we know the nation is going to stand. If half the effort used on social issues such as gay rights, abortion, legalizing marijuana, etc. was instead directed at responsible spending/taxation, we would have a balanced budget and probably be able to provide better service to those that truly need it. Instead, that issue is "handled" by a select few because the overall "brain base" is so fractured by all the other issues. My point is, focus, don't be so ADD about the issue du jour as presented by the media and whichever politician has the microphone that day. Most of those issues truly won't matter when we no longer have our Republic because we didn't handle our business.

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