Once upon a time great men made great speeches, and masters of logic would have great debates. A caring public would listen and read and form reasoned opinion on matters of great importance. Now we watch TV. We make people that look good on camera and have articulate speech patterns, pleasing voices and personalities into our source for what we know and believe. We don’t have a clue who really writes the stuff they read to us or why, nor do we really care. It’s whatever the talking head says that matters most.
The majority of the people only know what they’re told. Few read anymore. If the press gives a biased viewpoint to the public it naturally sways public opinion to that viewpoint. The danger lies in the fact that, while once upon a time our leaders used debate and reason in guiding our country in matters of great importance, they now lean toward polling as the main source of obtaining their position on those matters. Therefore, even if fed out and out bulldooky, and even if our leaders know it to be out and out bulldooky, bulldooky is the order of the day. After all, most feel they are elected not to really lead, but to represent the “views” of the electorate. That’s also the reason there are so few true statesmen today. And on top of that, if there are no more ‘leaders’, what, or who’s really leading our country? TV Ratings?
It’s not just the press. Television in general gives us imagery and information many times based more on good sound bites and being humorous than fact. Television is a media meant to appeal to folks and draw rating than to actually inform us of facts. Not everything out there is fun, or funny. At the end of the day, good guy’s seldom hop into their convertible sports car and drive off into the sunset. Some of the best won’t be going back home. Ever. And we can’t wish that away, just because it’s not pleasant. With reality there is a lot at stake. We can’t just click the off button on the horrors around us.
If you find yourself staring at folks like Jon Stewart, nodding your head in agreement, you just might need to go on a diet. That a TV show folks. Entertainment, based on some wits bulldooky. Bulldooky will make you fat between the ears.
Nowadays politicians oppose any and everything that “the other side” supports. News reports bring us teachers and students having sex. Mothers demanding the right to choose life or death for their unborn. Grizzly murders committed by loved ones. People “going postal” at work. People doing drugs in front of, or even with, their children at home. Twelve year old moms, Popular songs that glorify it all. As the song by Tim Wilson says, “It’s a sorry world”. You can get blown up in Baghdad at eighteen but you can’t buy a beer at the Hooter’s down the street.
The press fusses and fumes about cheerleaders acting like a bunch of spoiled kid, because they are a bunch of spoiled kids. We wring our hands at what happens each day in Iraq, yet we ignore what’s happening each night in our own cities. We keep a front page count of the deaths of our soldiers over there but not the deaths of our police right here at home. We demand accountability of our politicians but refuse to be held accountable for our own actions. We don’t vote. Or when we do it’s a just popularity contest, with the issues little more than slick advertising and spin. We’re quick to blame the easiest scapegoat we can find, but we refuse to change whatever it was that went wrong in the first place. All we want is something that will hold our attention, whether it’s a story about one of the thousands of kids that go missing… or one of the hundreds, or thousands of women that get murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each year. We may not pay attention to the one that happened down the street, but let it happen in some exotic local, or hook it with some heart tugging story, and we’re all ears.
In the last five years we’ve lost over 4000 of our soldiers in Iraq. If you watch TV or listen to the radio, or read a paper, you’ll already know that. But, can you tell me how many line of duty deaths our police had last year? What about firefighters? Probably not. Probably couldn’t even come close if you guessed. Aren’t these people our hero’s, too? Over 16,000 Iraqi’s died in 2006 due to violence. That’s all types and on all sides. Well, how many people right here in America died in 2006 due to violence? How many to drug violence alone? How come we can see the huge numbers of people we’ve got locked up in prison, but don’t notice the criminals operating right out in the streets? Right out in our neighborhoods and right in front of our own houses. Sure, we cry for police to take action, but we, ourselves, never seem to see a thing. All want someone else to do something about it all, …just not us. And do it somewhere else please, not in my back yard… where I might get caught up in it all. And please, for the sake of whatever entity you personally choose to enter here, let’s not offend anyone. We certainly don’t want to disrupt anyone’s psyche’ and have them become any more of a victim than society has already made them.
If we continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore what happens around us the chances of anything getting any better is slim to none. We complain about fighting a war that we must fight, for it’s a fight for our very survival. Yet we seem to lack the fortitude to stick it out and see it through to the end. It’s so…, so unpleasant. War IS a dirty business. But you can’t just pick up your ball and go home if you get tired, or things don’t seem fair, or it’s not going just exactly like you thought it would or should. Not without some mighty unpleasant consequences anyway. Yet we have a war going on right here in our streets. And we complain about it too. It’s unpleasant. A dirty dirty business… but it, too, is a fight for our very survival. And one we can’t just walk away from. We can’t just pick up our ball and walk away from this either… for this fight, it’s just outside our front door. And it’s consequences are mighty unpleasant too.
It’s easy to recognize a terrorist attack. Everybody understands that threat and what it means to our people and our nation. But we are under attack every day. Being attacked from within. By our own greed and lust. And it’s tearing at the fabric of our country just the same as those that fly planes into buildings. That enemy is all around us. The terrorist enemy wants us to grow weary of the fight and give it up. Quit, and go home. That’s how he hopes to win. The enemy here hope we continue to ignore and overlook. Hoping that we won’t recognize that we’re beaten till it’s too late. It counts on acceptance and annoyance with the fight. That we’ll see those huge numbers of people in prison and be alarmed. Alarmed not by the crime that causes the numbers, but the numbers themselves. That we’ll convince ourselves that we’re better off accepting the fight as lost, or not worth the effort, and give up and give in. Then it will all be lost.
It won’t be the terrorist we lose to, but ourselves…
By the way, in 2006 we lost 142 policemen, 106 firemen, and 21 EMS personnel in Line of Duty Deaths. That would average out to around 1250 First Responder Deaths during the last 5 years, right here in America… or almost a third of the amount of soldiers we’ve lost fighting a war in Iraq