“Maybe it is the media that has us divided.”
Former First Lady (2001-2009) Laura Bush, was born on this day in 1946.
I think Mrs. Bush was on to something.
We’ve always had disagreements in this country. We’ve always rallied in times of trouble.
But we’ve never lived in a time when the focus of the American media was so intent on influencing and not reporting the news.
No, I’m not really talking about Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Certainly, they’re biased in their own right, and Rush would tell you he’s not a journalist.
But time after time, in this election cycle and well before, we’ve had the main stream media trying to influence an outcome.
Whether it was the CBS “fake but accurate” story about George W. Bush’s National Guard Service, proven to be fabricated because it was typed with a word processor not available when the letter was supposed to have been written,
Or Brian Williams making up stories about his covering of the Iraq war,
Or the recent kerfuffle of Democratic National Chair Donna Brazile being fired from CNN because she forwarded a debate question to the Clinton campaign.
Or the blatant media support for Hillary Clinton,
Or NBC holding a tape they’d had for eleven years just to release it a month before election day,
Or whether it’s the proliferation of fake news sites being shared around Facebook and social media as fact because we’re too damned lazy to consider the source because it agrees with our pre-supposed notions.
Sure, the media is trying to divide us. But first and foremost they’re trying to manipulate us.
There are few, if any, “news” sources I trust these days. If I see a story that’s a little too hard to believe I’ll look for another source, and another viewpoint.
But far too many of us just hit the “share” button because right or wrong, partially correct or total bull%@!% it underscores our own positions.
We have no one to blame but ourselves. We’ve allowed ourselves to become manipulated and managed by sound bites and distortions.
We don’t really take time to know the issues, to know the candidates.
So when someone says that “their” candidate did something horrible we’re all too quick to embrace it and condemn.
It is naive to think that we’re getting the real story. We’re just not.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two very different, very flawed individuals.
But neither is the antichrist.
Whatever happens on Tuesday, the media will continue to divide us.
If Hillary Clinton is elected we’ll have stories of indictments and impeachments.
If Donald Trump is elected we’ll have stories of impeachments and indictments.
And the media will continue to tell us what we should think about it.
Far to many of us will fall right in line, and that’s the sad part.
We’re not as angry at each other as the media wants us to believe. We’re not as frustrated with each other as we appear to be on Facebook.
We may all share a common disgust of government in general, and Washington, DC, in particular, but we don’t really hate each other.
That makes a good news story so that’s what we’ll keep hearing.
But it’s up to us to prove the media wrong. It’s up to us to live a little more peaceably with our friends and neighbors.
It’s up to us to tell the real story because the media won’t.
A few weeks ago we watched as a GOP office in North Carolina was vandalized and as the local Democrat Party raised funds for repairs.
Just this week a church in Mississippi was burned and “Vote Trump” spray painted on the side.
I saw many of you post the article and suggest that Trump supporters wouldn’t care. Well as of this writing a GoFundMe campaign started, as I understand it, by Trump supporters has raised nearly $200,000 of their $10,000 goal to help this church.
That’s who we are people. All of us. And shame on us for allowing the media, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Hollywood, or anyone else to tell us otherwise.
We’re friends, we’re neighbors, we’re families. We disagree.
And we ought to be able to disagree without thinking that we’ll have to resort to violence or leaving the country because someone we didn’t like got elected.
I’m not saying we should all stand around a campfire and sing “Kum Bah Yah,” but maybe the next time a new story makes us angry we could change the channel. Or the next time a Facebook post pisses us off we could scroll on by because getting angry, and shouting, or TYPING IN ALL CAPS, just makes matters worse.
We don’t have to agree.
But we have to get along.
They used to teach that in schools.