#267 – Dick Bernard: A troubling juncture for our country.

I am overwhelmed with political information – it has to be like being overrun by a tsunami (without minimizing the latest tragedy in Indonesia). The instinct is not to master or control the incoming data, but how to survive it.
I won’t run and hide, but after the election, my guess is that I will go to the e-inbox, pick “select all”, then click “delete” and start over. Literally thousands of e-mails will bite the dust (oh, I have them all backed up, just in case…but it’s like most paper stuff I have around here. They will probably never be re-looked at. A post-election project.)
But there is something very, very troubling to me as we lurch towards the culmination of what is probably the most important election in our history: willful ignorance.
It is abundantly documented in valid surveys from very credible sources: massive numbers of people are clueless about basic facts about real things that are very important, but believe the untruths anyway. I see this over and over and over again.
Somebody forwards an item which easily and quickly can be debunked. They obviously believe it, otherwise they wouldn’t forward it in the first place.
Vicious stuff appears in the e-mailbox – it’s easy to distribute these days.
Surveys show an astonishing percentage of people have an upside down view of what is real. They do not have a clue about the simplest of political, economic or other facts.
When challenged with something supported by fact, they’ll say things like “I’ll believe what I want to believe”.

I could send along the data, but I know that it won’t be read. People have shut down, mired in their own reality, probably trusting their closest friends or, worse, sole sources of information, which may be deliberately conveying untruths, or have similarly been duped by some invisible figures hundreds of generations up their e-mail chain.
I’m already over 300 words in this blog post and it is already too long for a letter to the editor, as letters to the editor are limited to, often, 150-250 words. One can’t even develop a thought in that length of letter – one has to spew sound bites that are interesting or provocative…and besides present a particular point of view. Common letter to the editors reflect the poles, not the middle.
A common limit for outside submissions for newspaper columns is 600, perhaps 700 words, unless you own the paper or the editor wants you to write a piece. I try to keep my blog posts under 600 words.
Facebook and Twitter? A sentence or two max….
Many of us will vote based on our fantasy on Tuesday.
Many of us will not vote at all because it’s too complicated, or, or, or….
One can only hope that after the barrage of advertising lies, some semblance of good, balanced government will come out the other end.
At this moment, I’m not very hopeful.
I sent in my ballot yesterday. It was preceded by a lot of hard work, trying to figure out the person behind the names, and the consequences of voting for him or her.
Please do the same.
Preceding posts on the topic of Election 2010: September 29, 30; October 5, 15, 18, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29. (Just click on the date in the calendar in the right hand column, or you can simply place the cursor there, and read the title of the post.)
557 words.