W. Tate Brannan
This somewhat a departure from my general topics. However, I feel as this is something that affects everyone’s ability to live life well.
Our world is filled opinion. Some of those opinions we agree with and some we don’t. Some opinions are fueled by good will and promote life. some opinions are fueled by extreme views that produce death. Sometimes it’s physical death, but almost always it is spiritual and emotional death that creates division and destroys relationships. We won’t always agree with other people. We should respect the beliefs they hold and give them the room to freely express those beliefs. When we fail to do that, we abdicate our right to do the same. Misinformation has infiltrated our daily lives. It doesn’t matter what your personal point of view is regarding politics, life values, likes or dislikes are. You can find a source that will cater to your views.
Without a doubt the biggest piece of misinformation in our society is that the cable news networks like CNN and FOX as well as other “24-hour news networks” and social media outlets, have in fact become our news sources. The truth is they are providing the viewers an editorialized version of the news. If you look at it clearly, they are talking about the events and not reporting the events. This is because a major shift happened when cable news was born. Journalism began to die and give way to opinion-based news that appealed to the viewers emotions rather than present facts that allowed the viewer to determine the importance of those facts and form their own views. Now, we are being told what we should believe rather than determine our own opinions based off of facts free of bias. One of journalisms greatest reporters, Walter Cronkite said, “When we are doing the daily news, covering politics- it is our duty to be sure we do not permit our prejudices to show. That is simply basic journalism”.
We have witnessed over the last few months the result of allowing misinformation propagated by our media sources. It has caused death, destruction and division in our country. This is not how we live life well. We are seeing the media and politics weaponized in this new war. Our elected leaders, local, state, and federal, are fueling this division and we need it to stop. Somebody has to put the brakes on this downhill spiral. It is going to require for somebody to say, “enough of this foolishness. I choose to not be a party to this any longer”. If this first crucial step of intervention is not done, then I guarantee that it will cause a chasm in our society that we will not be able to bridge. Someone once said to me, that the justified use of power is like a sword. To use it correctly requires us to keep it sheathed until it is needed, and then only wield it with humility and mercy. In this manner the sword is able to bring life or death. To wield it with vengeance and hatred only ends in death.
I am choosing to hit the brakes. I will not continue to be a party to division in my country. I do not apologize for my personal beliefs, and I will not get in the way of others expressing theirs. I am not the judge and jury that decides what is worthy and what is not. In doing this I refuse to place one more log onto the fire and will make my best effort to promote life and not engage in rhetoric that promotes death, and division. By doing this I will remove a great deal of stress from my life and provide more time to do things that allow me to reach out and provide good will to others. Helping others is one way we can bring an added sense of fulfillment to our lives and the lives of others. Making the effort to disengage from sources of stress in our lives will add years to your life and will help you live life well. As far as the news is concerned, I encourage you to be the journalist of your own life. Verify and fact check the opinions expressed, and make your decisions accordingly; and don’t forget, we don’t know what we don’t know. There is likely more critical information that has yet to be revealed. My best wishes for you all as you push on in this journey called life.
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