Most days I don’t feel very smart, or nearly as smart as most of the people around me.
But I have not entirely wasted these 63 years, so I have learned a few things.
Nearly all people have goodness at the core. They are not by nature filled with hate. They did not start out hating people of other colors, religions or creeds.
But humans are prone to being moved by drama that provokes fear. And when exposed on a continuous or even continual basis to thoughts and words designed to make them afraid, they become fearful. And stressed. It eats away at their health, their spirit. And when they feel cornered in a cage, they will do anything to survive.
I don’t listen to talk radio or watch television “news” shows that feature pundits or talking heads. On either side of issues. I believe those “experts” are paid to create drama rather than impart insights, they are playing a cynical game, they are condescending to us all. But somehow enough people are willing to hear and watch this form of made up drama that media companies design programming around it and advertisers pay because they think this audience will buy their wares. Go figure.
But these shows are making us stupid. They are making us mean. They are making us afraid of one another.
Yesterday I saw a clip on hulu of a moment from one of these shows from election night coverage where Mary Matalin called President Barack Obama a “narcissistic sociopath.”
Besides reminding me why I never watch these clown shows, I wondered what I would think of our president if my exposure to him was limited to hearing the voices of people who are paid to shout obscenities and create drama and behave on screen in ways that would embarrass our parents or grandparents.
Let’s start with the fact that “narcissistic sociopath” is a medical condition that only doctors who study for years and treat many patients are permitted to diagnose.
If our words are to mean anything, or we hold any regard for the medical profession and think that training and practice is an important qualification to diagnose illness, then I don’t think it’s okay that a paid talking head lay person can proclaim medical diagnoses. Kind of makes me think they are trying to practice medicine without a license, which I hear is a legal problem.
But of course mainly her words were designed to make people afraid of him. To hate him. To dismiss him. To disrespect him.
Now why would anyone pay her to do that? A civics lesson, perhaps? To educate us? Hardly. She’s being paid to create drama and make audiences thirst for the next chapter. It’s a soap opera, with caricatures in all the roles. For whose benefit? Only those being paid. Follow the money.
But that’s how people talk on these shows, it’s just part of the game, you might be thinking.
That is the game. And we are all being played. And it is dumbing us down and making us disrespectful, mean and afraid of one another.
The 63-year lesson I have learned is this: what we surround ourselves with, the voices we listen to, the hate and fear we expose ourselves to… all that is what we become. Is that what you want to be?
What if we all did?