As I've written before, I spent my working years in the technical side of radio and television broadcasting. On my 35th birthday, on a lark, and in an attempt at being amusing to my fellow employees, I went to the newsroom filled with reporters, went up to the news chief and said, "Just for the record, as I am now of age for presidential election, I wish to inform the news media that I do not choose to run."
I guess it worked because I have never been approached and asked if I would represent any party as their candidate.
I don't like to write about politics, because I don't think I'm going to change anyone's mind. Many of us find ourselves ensconced in the comfort of one political system or another. I suppose this is inevitable as we tend to prefer whatever we think may make our lives easier. While I have my opinions, I don't know enough, or am accurately informed enough to be a source of conviction regarding the political arena. It gets to be a problem when we get too narrow in our vision, and see only one thing as the end all solution, or think our rivals are the enemy. It may come as a shock to some people, but if we were all as well informed as we like to think we are, there would be less disagreement in matters of politics.
The people who bother me are those who may be misinforming us. They have access to the public through the media, and use it to portray themselves as so knowing and aware that any and all who disagree with them are idiots to be treated with scorn and ridicule. Unfortunately it can be an effective technique as many people will enjoy becoming part of this seeming enlightened position, and accept his attitude seeing his rivals as idiots to scorn. Sometimes what appears to be a nice smile is really more of a clever smile.
We know that no one is perfect. Everyone has personal failings. We also know that by and large everyone does his best to get along and be accepted among his colleagues. We are not idiots and anyone who tries to make it appear that some of us are, should be the one to be shunned, not as an idiot, but as conniving and untrustworthy.
Actually with the world as complicated as we have made it, it is difficult to understand all the forces in play. One problem is that too many are not for what is necessarily right, but for what their party dictates as necessary. No person can see in more than one direction at a time. Organizations also are usually narrow minded by definition. It is difficult to understand another's motives if we label them as simply selfish, or lacking the ability to see beyond their own nose. The solution is not to treat our rivals as a blacksmith treats an unrelenting iron horseshoe and try to beat them into shape with a hammer. Nor is condescension likely to lead to mutual cooperation. People who use it are not looking for agreement but more likely for control. It could be said that the weaker one's position, the more control they need to enforce it.
I wish I could offer remedies for the dilemma of misinformation and falsehood that I have posed. As for myself I don't put my faith in the politicians. I vote for the person I prefer, and then remember the line in the Lord's Prayer that says "Thy will be done." Civilization has been evolving over centuries to become more and more civil, and less and less cruel. We have a long way to go, but I'm sure one day we'll get there. When we do, our descendants in the future will look back and wonder why it took us so long. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org