Issues are hard to understand, but don’t respond emotionally
Ross L. Talbott
The American Civil War cost 620,000 military casualties, not to mention the untold civilian deaths. The root cause was dissension between the states over slavery. The price was high, but freedom is worth dying for.
However, a major side effect of that war, I believe, which haunts us still today, was the loss of states’ rights. Ever since that pivotal time, the federal government has continued to take away the rights of the states in every area from education to health care and on and on.
To a great extent, the states have also usurped the powers and rights of cities and counties.
Here’s the problem: the more complex and distant government becomes, the more difficult it becomes for us as voters to make informed judgments.
Remember (if you are over 30) when the schools were run by the parents? Then we got consolidation and school districts. At one time we had a county superintendent of schools, but now it’s the state board of education.
The federal government is getting involved by dictating what is taught and manipulating funding.
When you vote in local elections, you can feel fairly confident you understand the issues and know the people involved. When you get to the county level, things become more complex and you are less familiar with the candidates. By the time you get to the state level, you begin to fall back on party lines and media information. When it comes to national elections, issues are so complex and remote it’s almost impossible for any citizen to vote based on a good understanding of those issues.
At this point we are forced to rely on the media, the Internet and gut instincts. Now tell me which one of those three is reliable?
I am afraid the media is the major controlling force in the direction our culture and government is going. The media distorts information to influence public opinion. For instance, they seem to ignore the fact Hamas fired around 8,000 rocket missiles into Israel before Israel finally went into Gaza. Instead of praising Israel for several years of patiently enduring the rockets, they just curse them for “overreacting.” Guess whose side NBC and CBS are on?
People sit here in the middle of this nation and passionately oppose the war in Iraq. They are not privileged to any information from the Pentagon, the CIA, the input from other nations or any other useful and reliable source, and yet they make pious pronouncements.
“Hate Bush” is a mantra continually spewed that is an aid to our enemies and actually borders on being traitorous.
Now we have national leaders who need to take a poll to figure out what they believe. They sell favors, cheat on their taxes and lie continuously, yet we fall on our faces in reverence.
When the issues become too complicated to understand fully, most people seem to respond emotionally.
It’s frightening when people respond to the question of why they voted for a certain candidate with, “I just liked the way he sounded.”
It’s really amazing how gullible people are. Do you remember the Jonestown Massacre? I guess they liked the way he sounded.
When the population is so big democracy does not function well because voters are misinformed or ignorant of the issues, we must focus on the character and integrity of our leaders far more than the issues.
Look for integrity and consistency. Demand strength of character. Expect noble virtues. Demand transparency. Appreciate sacrificial service.
Remember, the real Messiah, who was the personification of truth, did not require we die for him, but rather he died for us.
Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.
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