Okay…I didn’t come up with that title, it actually was a part of a cable TV show but it got me thinking about the presidential campaign. It got me thinking about all of the “controversial topics” that have been thrown out there like “terrorist,” “socialist,” “Marxism,” “Arab,” etc. It also got me reading on various forums and blogs from both the left, right and middle – and I have come to the conclusion that America is in trouble? Unless one of these candidates can figure out away to bring this country together as Americans, we are headed to a very nasty and extreme divide in this country. Arab = bad, rich = unfair, terrorist=Islam, black=lazy, white=discriminate, gay=sinner – I mean we have all of these conclusions and attitudes being drawn by people and its exacerbated by the media and its focus on the 30 second soundbite. Things have gotten ugly, opinions have gotten nasty and people’s views have skewed to dangerous proportions.
Now being in this industry, I understand how the power of video can shape people’s opinion and belief but if the way we surf the Internet, the way we read the newspaper, the way we watch TV is any indication – most people will not take the time out to fine out the “whole” story and therefore we end up shaping our opinions based on incomplete information, based on a 30 second soundbite or something “they heard” from a friend. Or better yet, we shape our opinion based on something we think we know or we think we remember from high school history class. I love to read, I love to gather everyone’s opinion on a topic and then I love to throw in my two cents – I have no shortage of opinions but I try my best not to jump onto a bandwagon of thoughts and ideas that are not grounded in a little fact or do not take the “whole” picture into consideration. I hope our society starts to understand that and do a little bit more to educate themselves on issues instead of letting their feelings dictate their opinion. I think we would be much better off.
One rather small example of this is when I ran across this clip from the show “Realtime with Bill Maher (HBO, 2008)” that talks about how the word “socialism=bad” concept is the wrong approach to this stigmatized word. It turns out the concept of “socialism” is grounded in some of the basic things we take for granted in this country like public education, social security, taxes, etc. It was an interesting argument that I wanted to share with you all. I am not saying its good or bad – just take a look at a bigger picture before passing judgment. Media outlets and the way they are designed are just not in a position to take hard in-depth looks into a topic that will hold people’s attention – but at least I give some folks credit for trying.