(For all you music buffs out there, you may remember the Elvis Costello version of this song better, but Nick Lowe actually wrote it. Just a fun fact before I make my opening statement.)
I was a teenager in the late 60’s when peace, love and understanding were popular themes for songs. Is it just me, or have we lost that loving feeling? I’m having a hard time understanding how the peace-loving flower children of the 60’s became the frightened masses of today. Fear, ignorance and hatred seem to be our constant companions these days and I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s because fear and ignorance are such an easy sell. Between the internet and 24/7 cable media we get a steady stream of disasters, wars, terrorists and plagues and no real solutions in sight. Then the politicians grab the mike and begin their incessant promises to protect us from all the bad things that will happen if we are crazy enough to elect the other guy. A recent email I got explained how President Obama, in his second term, would pass legislation that would take money from the super-rich and give it to unborn, gay whales who make less than minimum wage at Sea World. That was quickly followed by one claiming that Mitt Romney was having visions in which Brigham Young was telling him to make polygamy a rule for all the members of his future cabinet. They almost had me there until I realized they don’t actually pay whales at Sea World.
Tell me the truth, does anybody believe anything they read on the internet these days? Misinformation is a way of life in the 21st century and sorting through all of this media propaganda is a full-time job. And then the sources we call on to check facts aren’t any better at it than the rest of us. So now, 500+ years after Gutenberg gave us the means to distribute wisdom to the masses, with his printing press, we have achieved a new low in knowledge. We know for certain far less than at any other time in my life. That’s an incredible achievement considering all the tools we have at our disposal. The scariest part is this, we all think we know for certain and we willingly pass along unverified nonsense usually because it sounds like something we want to believe. We have to do better than that.
America was founded by some of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world. They were highly educated and well-spoken. They were careful and considerate with their words. They tolerated debate and let everyone speak their piece in the steadfast desire to make sure they got it right. They made sure absolute values were their highest priority and minimized the efforts of self-serving individuals. They did all the heavy lifting that enabled us to have the democratic republic we now abuse with impunity.
If we are ever going to solve the problems we face as a country we need to trust each other and work together for the benefit of all of us, not just the chosen few. America has the most innate ability to achieve greatness of any nation on earth because we have a set of rules to go by. The Constitution is the most inclusive document of all time. Contained in those words are the common cause of freedom we all seek; the freedom to think for ourselves, the freedom to act in our best interests, the freedom to choose our destiny and the freedom to fail if we make poor decisions.
The only thing keeping us from achieving everything the founding fathers wanted for us is fear and ignorance. Let’s not let fear be the path of least resistance we choose because it’s easy to be fearful and harder to find the truth. Let’s open our minds to the reality that peace, love and understanding are fundamentally essential to any amount of happiness we will experience in our lives. I think Franklin Delano Roosevelt made this point very clearly when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.