More People Need To Get Information From Varied, Independent, Reputable Sources

10-9-21
   What happened to people’s ability to think for themselves clearly, fairly, rationally, and accurately?
   I’d really like to know.
   The thing that makes it so ironic is that we live in an age where people have more access to incredible amounts of information than ever before in human history. Think about it. With just our smartphones, devices which literally fit in our pockets, we can access vast amounts of information. News sites, online encyclopedias, a vast array of other websites, and multiple television news channels are all literally at our fingertips. Never in human history has so much information been so readily available to an everyday individual. It’s quite amazing when you think about it.
   As a result, it’s easier than ever to obtain information from a variety of different sources and get different points of view in order to be as accurate as possible. The problem is that millions and millions of people don’t do this. Instead, they focus on sites and people that only tell them what they want to hear. They connect with others online who agree with them and shun those who don’t. Many only get their news from extremely biased, one sided sources that frequently twist information around, exaggerate, and sometimes flat out lie. And when reputable news sites tell them accurate information that they don’t want to hear, they often call it “fake.” They seem to prefer deluding themselves over facing the truth.
   There are plenty of examples of this these days. With all due respect, Donald Trump lost the 2020 election fair and square. There is overwhelming evidence proving this. Every single state certified the election. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent officials in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states overseeing the vote tallying process. There were even international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. When the Trump campaign tried to spread their false claims of fraud in the courts, they lost over 60 times. And many of the judges who ruled against them were conservatives themselves. Yet tens of millions of Americans continue to believe the false claims of fraud as they only listen to Trump, other select Republican figures, and conservative websites about the election. They’re ignoring the vast amount of evidence showing that there was no widespread fraud and that Trump legitimately lost.
   Another example is how millions of people are ignoring the scientific evidence regarding the COVID pandemic in terms of the need for getting vaccinated, mask wearing inside public places, and social distancing. Instead of listening to the scientists on reputable sites, they ignore them and follow misinformation which is resulting in too many people not getting vaccinated and refusing to wear masks/social distance in situations where they should. This in turn is making the pandemic much worse and is undoubtedly costing lives to be lost tragically and unnecessarily.
   People need to open their minds and get information from varied, independent, reputable sources. They should strive to learn different points of view, try to verify information, be as objective as possible, and avoid only listening to those that tell them just what they want to hear. Doing these things would help more people get closer to understanding the real truth than has been happening thus far, and this in turn would help make the world a better place in the long run.

What Happened to Civil Debate, Open-mindedness, the Ability to Compromise, and Getting Things Done in US Politics?

7-9-21
   You know what, democracy can be messy. It sure can. When you look at history, there are plenty of examples of that. A democracy is made up of plethora of different people and viewpoints so that everyone’s not going to agree on everything. There will be disagreements. Political parties push their agendas and vie for more power. At times, arguments can get passionate and quite heated. Again, if you look at the past, there are plenty of examples. The problem these days is that divisions and severe partisanship have gotten dangerously extreme.
   If you look back at the 1980s and 1990s in Washington DC politics, sure, there were plenty of disagreements and battles in Congress. But there was also compromise and bipartisanship as well. Republicans and Democrats in Congress could sit down and hash out compromises to get things done. Senator Ted Kennedy for example was very liberal and quite passionate about his views, yet he could also sit down with Republicans and hammer out a deal to get legislation passed. While neither side got everything they wanted, in the end, they would get legislation passed for the good of the American people. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. But they were able to get things done much better than today.
   Even before Donald Trump took office, political divisions were getting pretty severe, and then when Trump took office, they got much worse since he made a point to encourage and exacerbate divisiveness. We’re seeing political extremes who don’t want to compromise, and while both parties have been guilty of this lately, the Republicans have gotten much worse about it. A disturbing example of this is the statement by Texas Republican Chip Roy when he said that he would “oppose almost everything that Congress does.” He clearly means that he intends to try to stop any significant legislation that is proposed by the Democratic majority in large part to try to increase the chances of Republicans gaining seats in the 2022 midterm elections. And Roy is not the only one guilty of this. Mitch McConnell for some years now has been going out of his way to obstruct and stop legislation proposed by Democrats in his obsession to try to gain and hold a Republican majority in the Senate. Since he is the Republican leader in the Senate, he is essentially trying to gain and hold as much power as he can in that chamber.
   It seems that too many people in Congress are showing more loyalty to their party than to the United States Constitution and the American people as a whole. And in the Republicans’ case, too many are bowing to the authoritarian style whims and demands of Donald Trump as well. This goes against what Democracy is supposed to be about.
   I’m not one of those people that glorifies the old days so to speak. While I think history is fascinating, it is important to be honest about the past and try to understand the good, the bad and the in-between. But one thing I will say is that we need to regain the ability to talk to one another, to listen to one another, to be open minded, to compromise, and to get things done. Both Democrats and Republicans need to do better in this regard. Furthermore, in the Republican Party’s case, they need to separate themselves from Donald Trump and his dangerously authoritarian tendencies and lies. Democracy frequently requires compromise because of the diversity of society. Everyone needs to remember that it’s more important to stand up for the United States Constitution, the American people, and Democracy than be blindly loyal and follow a particular political party or individual. Too many people these days are essentially being more loyal to their political party (and in many Republicans’ case, to Donald Trump) than to the United States Constitution. This trend is not only disturbing, it’s dangerous because history is full of examples of things like this and how they can lead to authoritarianism and dictatorship.