In all honesty

Our gubernatorial election is on Tuesday. At least, Governor Christie and a large percentage of the population believe it is. Democrat opponent Barbara Buono seems to think that she’s the only one running.  Her ads are quite amazing, unless your question is “How is a Democrat trailing in a traditionally Democratic state by more than thirty points?”.

Politicians are quite used to simply saying things which have no basis in reality. Sometimes it’s purely delusion, sometimes the politician has been misinformed, sometimes it’s just a semantic issue. As in when Obama said “If you’re happy with your healthcare, you can keep it” when what he meant was “If I’m happy with your healthcare, you can keep it”. The truth is, if your healthcare doesn’t meet the standard, you probably weren’t happy with it.

I’ve lost most interest in political speeches. I hear excerpts of the President speaking, saying “I want…” and I wonder if he realizes just how few people care what he wants? When was the last time he asked what I want?

I don’t mean to sound self involved, but there’s a lot going on out here. And the more I know about what’s going on, the more I realize that I just can’t care about everything. I have to prioritize, or my commitment becomes diffuse, and eventually meaningless. I’m approached about animal cruelty at least twice a week, bullying at least once a week, natural disasters happen routinely. Discrimination, Education, The Homeless, Autism, Cancer(s), and Mass Transit all tugging at me, and I’m supposed to care about what the President wants?

I recently saw an article with the headline “Jimmy Carter calls Obama an incompetent president”. I wasn’t a big fan of Carter, so his opinion isn’t that important to me, even if I agree with it. When I checked the article’s source, Carter did not say Obama was incompetent. He had said that Obama’s major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of Obamacare was “questionable”. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Obama, who is certainly incompetent, but was not called such by an equally incompetent president.

An article in Snopes took apart misquotes of George W. Bush (with an obvious slant). We want to believe things we agree with, but as prominent Climatologist Kerry Emanuel of MIT commented about the false information tying superstorm Sandy to Global Warming, his statements still carried a headline implying that Sandy was the result of Global Warming and more storms of the type would occur. He was saying that false headlines damage credibility. I find myself in discussions with people who believe they are well informed because they read the headline, but having read the article and its sources, I have an opinion opposite of theirs. The false headline clearly damages the credibility of the person who repeats it.

A recent article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette took an “Emperor’s New Clothes” approach, claiming that Global Warming caused the dull leaf hues this Autumn. The article itself was filled with invalid conclusions and a little bit of absolute nonsense, but what was amazing to me was the online comments. The majority of comments pointed out that the autumn leaves were unusually colorful, and that the paper had in fact predicted brighter colors due to the amount of rain in the spring (which they also had blamed on Global Warming). Moving beyond “anything that happens is because of Global Warming”, they take a “Even if it isn’t happening, we’ll say it is and blame it on Global Warming”.

There was an article in Scientific American, reporting that Public Health England (PHE) had studied fracking and found that public health concerns were minimal if operations are properly run and regulated. Rather than embrace the study as evidence of negligence in the situations in which fracking has resulted in pollution, the article was attacked, with many suggesting that Scientific American should be banned. Could it be any more clear that some people have absolutely no interest in the truth? Have we reached the point where we just can’t do anything right, so we should stop doing anything at all? Public opinion says that nukes are unsafe, fossil fuels are either going to pollute us to death or run out within our lifetime, carcinogens are a byproduct of solar panels, wind power endangers wildlife, bio fuels require an unhealthy diet of deep fried foods, and we need to consume almost nineteen trillion Kwh of electricity every year.

We have to make some important decisions in life. We can’t make those decisions in an intelligent manner if the information we receive isn’t presented honestly, and we are hopeless if we can’t be honest with ourselves.

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One comment on “In all honesty

  1. Mike Reith says:

    You explained the problem so well. The older I become the more I am of the mindset to believe nothing that is published, at least at face value. Writers are human. Humans are prone to lie , believe that they understand what they actually do not, write to toward a cause, and write for personal gain.

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