Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

winning and losing

Life is hectic right now on one level and yet very peaceful on another. For assorted reasons, it was beginning to feel pressured until we realized we had options and exercised some of them hence reducing the tension instantly-- at least in those areas.

Lately I've been thinking about the problem in our country with Americans so divided and that's even within political or philosophical groups. I think it goes back to our media which is used by some to gain power. The media now encompasses blogs, twitters, comments, and assorted places to get information which doesn't mean facts.

One problem is that we are bombarded by opinions. Twitters are full of instant opinions with maybe a link back to some justification for the opinion but often just to an expansion of the opinion. If you listen to news, especially cable news, opinions are in the forefront with limited facts behind them.

Who needs facts!
Facts are boring. 
Facts go on too long. 
Facts aren't exciting. 
How are we supposed to interpret facts? 
Never fear there are plenty to tell us.

Let's just take Syria as one example of the newest world issue. There is a civil war going on there.

One side is supposed to be the 'good' guys (ignore that video showing one of their leaders ripping out a dead enemy's heart and taking a bite of it). John McCain assured us these are the good guys when he visited and schmoozed with them. They are fighting for freedom. They don't answer for who.

One side is the 'bad' guys. They represent a brutal dictator who uses (supposedly) chemical weapons hence finally convincing the US to send weapons to the 'good' guys. The 'bad' guys are being supplied by Russia and Iran hence proving they are also bad guys, I guess.

The US has to get in or Bill Clinton said Obama would be thought of a wuss. That's funny if you think about all the deaths Obama has ordered by drone but are facts part of this? Of course not. Facts get in the way of emotions and this is about emotions and power.

That thing I wrote awhile back about distinguishing power from strength is still on my mind while I think of this problem of getting facts versus opinions. Power seems to be in numbers and in words that push agendas. What is real strength?

My main concern right now though is how do American get facts instead of opinions. If they spend their days reading twitters or blogs like this, they are getting opinions supposedly based on facts... or are they?

The fear talk that ironically is on both the far right and the far left is doing its best to head us toward paranoia but with very different solutions suggested. Listening to the talk radio pundits, where now you can only get right wingers in my part of the country (which isn't because this is a right wing region but because somebody wants it to be one), and you hear limited (at best) facts, never covering the whole picture, but with lots of opinions and ridicule of anybody who thinks otherwise.

Okay, here's my opinion-- get the facts. Do not listen to the opinions (I don't care how much you trust the opinion-maker) until you also know the facts. If you can't get facts, and are unwilling to go to the trouble to track them down, then turn off the news and quit listening to the radio or Internet. Until you have the facts, opinions can end up being toxic and I don't care which side you are listening to!

Watching birds is a soothing activity right now... whether it's at the house or the beach. It is one way to win :)


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Getting facts sounds like a great idea and then even better come to your own opinions. Usually the facts are stacked to dress up a hidden agenda. Boy do these facts glitter! Beware! When it comes to civil wars like in Seria, times do not change. History repeats. To get a concept of what is going on read the history the 20th century civil war in China. Guess what? There are outside nations with their fingers in the pot. Dealing with drugs etc.! Etc. like infiltrators fanning the flames of the everyday person's poverty.
I can think of one problem with looking back at history. They did not have the interet. Times are more complex. Though the propagandists want us to believe there are "good guys" and "bad guys" when actually there are humans with failings on both sides and people who would gain money.

Ingineer66 said...

Bird watching sounds like a nice way to relax. And you certainly have a colorful assortment.

robin andrea said...

Trying to make sense of a nonsensical world. It can't be done. It is better to plant seeds, watch birds, listen to water rushing over rocks.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I love all the Beautiful Birds you have visiting you....So truly Beautiful, and yes, Peaceful and relaxing! Thank You for this Rain.

Hattie said...

Your birds look peaceful. Ours are very quarrelsome mynah birds who chase the doves away. How's that for a metaphor!

Rain Trueax said...

a pretty good one, Hattie. We have a few birds that do that like the blackbirds and starlings but their numbers aren't enough to make more than a temporary dent in the smaller birds' numbers

Dick said...

I think the problem in the Middle East is that the whole area is looking at a large religious war. There are two sides to the Muslim religion and they have been fighting each other since the death of Mohamed. A strong dictator from either side can hold "peace" together but eventually the other side will rebel and get help from their religious allies. Iraq is a good example Sadam was of the minority branch but he held the reins of power. Are the Iraqis better off now than they were under him? I guess it depends on whether or not you are of his Suni branch.

Neither side likes us. Both want to either convert all non-believers or kill them. They will smooze with us when they want something- food, weapons, our money, etc. but that likely will only last as long as they need our aid.

The real losers will be those of a different religion who live in these countries, like Christian or Jew, and to a big extent, those Muslims favoring the losing side. You can also add females to the losing side especially as hard line fundamentalists come into power. I am not fond of dictators like Sadam, but in some ways they did keep the peace. But don't get on their bad list.

Tara Crowley said...

you are so right...all these "opinions" masquerading as facts do us no good and just incite anxiety. it takes a good deal of research to sort out the various story lines, and even then things are not clear.

i am always torn...i hate to see death and suffering in the world, and I feel powerless to do anything about it. Watching birds, or nature in general, is always a soothing balm.