When Sharing Is Not Caring

A blog after my own heart. And I assure you I’ve read it thoroughly before reblogging.

Cheri Speak

With the explosion of social media everything is subjective to the almighty “share” button and I mean everything. Unfortunately much of the “news” that is “shared” today is not really news and can often be untrue. And, although most people do care about what’s going on in our world,  there is only so much time and one can only take on so many issues, and to be fair, there are A LOT of issues right now.

But…

Sadly, because people are not getting real answers, speculation increases and the internet becomes alive with conjecture and unfounded rumor. This is irresponsible. We are doing a disservice to ourselves, our country, our foreign relations and to anyone involved in any story we spread around. We have become the very thing we say we are fighting against.

It is easy to read a headline and a blurb and hit “share” without actually reading the content therein.

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Why not to call a pox on both houses

It’s quiz time again, boys and girls!

Consider this:  You have a tree in your yard.  It’s fine and healthy, but a neighbor keeps getting drunk and running into it with his car.  Soon, you begin to worry that it might be causing lasting damage.  Do you

a)  Move your tree,
b) If he hits it again, move it again,
c) Throw up your hands, denouncing the sorry state of drivers, or
d) Try to get your neighbor off the road until he stops drinking.

It may or may not be true that all politicians are corrupt, but this observation does nothing to improve the situation we find ourselves in.  I read a blog post the other day that maintained that the real problem was that public servants should be selfless, and they’re not.  This brought to mind two observations: when I hear people criticize someone for being selfish, what they usually mean is they’re not paying enough attention to their needs; the other thing is that hardly anyone, let alone politicians, is selfless to an ideal degree.  Our elected representatives are going to have their own interests at heart; after all, don’t you?  The problem is how to structure things so that doesn’t conflict with the public interest.  Never mind that we don’t all agree with what that is.  After all, those 40 or so Tea Party congressmen were voted into office, and, by all accounts, their constituents tend to agree with their actions.

In any case, the irony is that these people are apparently acting out of principle — that is to say, out of a feeling that they are doing what the country desperately needs.  You can always reason with cynics, by convincing them what they’re doing is not in their best interests.  If someone is acting out of principle, however, forget it.

If you say the whole government is corrupt and irredeemable, you are really falling in line with the Tea Party.  If that’s what you want, say so.  If not, don’t muddy the waters and let the real perpetrators get away under the cover of cynicism.

Into the wild

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Today, while wandering through the beautiful campus of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, I had the rare privilege of stumbling upon a herd of bicycle, gamboling on a hillside.  I quickly snapped a photo; I apologize for the focus, they were gone in a flash.  Still, I was able to notice a few thing that might be of interest.

As you can see, unlike their domesticated cousins, wild bicycles all have the same distinctive markings; I didn’t see any exceptions.  In addition, there was no size differentiation, such as we are used to seeing.  This is not really surprising; compare dogs and wolves, for example.

But the most notable thing was their joyful abandon, capering through the campus.  I wish we could re-instill that feeling in the domestic bicycles we all love!

Rude awakening?

The Egyptian army cracks down on the Muslim Brotherhood; the majority of the population approves.  Greece arrests members of the fascist Golden Dawn party, including members of parliament; their popularity crumbles.  Not much to go on, if you’re looking for a trend, but it’s enough to ask the question, are we getting tired of extremism?

Up til now, to be extreme has been the height of fashion.  Even the dullest events and pastimes have jumped on the extreme bandwagon.  Extreme knitting would not have raised an eyebrow.  No limits, all out, leave it on the field.

It’s my suspicion that all this tolerance, and even preference, for extremism is a by-product of the unprecedented prosperity of the two decades prior to the 2008 meltdown.  When things are going well, why impose limits?  Wasn’t “no limits” the mantra of the feel-good 90s?  It was fully entrenched by the time people were engulfed in recession; it must have seemed the right approach to bring the crisis to a close.  There was a lingering suspicion that the problems were caused by timidity, in any case, and all that was required was more bullishness.  It’s a commonplace that the first reaction to an ideological crisis is retrenchment.  We’re having problems?  We haven’t been true enough to our principles.  The Peasants are rebelling, reaffirm the authority of the aristocracy.  Religious fanatics commit mass murder, hurry off to church.  We see it time and again down through history.

Seen in this light, our devotion to the extreme looks less like a devil-may-care embrace of uncertainty, and more like a conservative retrenchment.

But in all such cases, there comes the creeping realization that not only are things not improving under this program, they are actually getting worse.  Retrenchment collapses under its own burdensome weight.

If what we are seeing abroad is the first faint glimmering of this collapse, we can only hope it reaches our shores before the lunatics destroy our government beyond redemption