The problem is that the truth lives in a gray area and many people are very uncomfortable with gray areas. We prefer our world to be more easily sorted into black and white issues where there is a clear good guy and a clear bad guy because that makes us feel that the world is just and fair. If we start to unpack that urge for simplicity, we realize that things are much more complex than they seem and that true “justice” for all doesn’t exist. All of the accommodations that would be needed to make things fair for everyone are far too burdensome and complex than we are capable of resolving even if we did have all of the time and resources in the world.
The nature of people is to always be mindful of their own selfish interests, that’s how our ancestors survived to procreate. Although we’d like to believe that we have evolved to be more fair in our thinking, the truth is that fairness still needs to be legislated for us. We have laws in place to make certain types of discrimination illegal because otherwise we would still be taking advantage of others for our own gain.
Although justice is not a zero-sum game, resources are not infinite and those who can take a large piece of the pie can and will do that. Power corrupts and steals empathy. The mindset of someone who is successful is that “well, if I did it anyone can do it so, there is no need for me to reach back and help others”. Sadly, it’s also very easy for people who are successful to start believing that they actually deserved the success more than those who didn’t achieve it. So they start doing everything in their power to protect and preserve what they have to be able to remain in the rarefied air that they have achieved. So the gap between the haves and the have-nots widens.
My roundabout point is that our media and politicians are absolutely taking advantage of certain aspects of human nature. We take feelings into account much more than those who came before us did. Although this is good progress in one way, it is terrible progress in another. Feelings are easily manipulated and good feelings have an addictive value. There are too many choices in our media driven world but we are subtly and unconsciously drawn to the things that make us feel good and right. Many people don’t have the time to invest to research further because they are too busy trying to live their lives. There is no question that there are many people taking advantage of that. News and politics are for profit businesses and have no morality of their own. Their business is to stay in business or power as it were. Things will not get better because there is no drive to make them better. The monster is too big for the average person to fight on their own.
Frankly, I see the election Trump as a weird, misguided attempt for people to gain back some control of the lives that they believe are outpacing them. He sounded good to those who voted for him because he preached taking back the things that they had lost. Sadly, many didn’t realize that one man couldn’t actually make the changes that he was calling for. Not even the President has that kind of power. So now we watch while he backpedals on his campaign promises and very little changes in the daily life of the average American.
The strategy I live by in this circumstance is to believe nothing that is said anymore, only to believe in what is done. It’s too easy for anyone from anywhere to give an opinion. The truth we seek may not even be out there to be found because research and facts are boring and often behind paid firewalls. Don’t doubt for a second that some of the research doesn’t even exist because there is no one who would benefit from it to pay for it. Honestly, research mostly only occurs with specific goals in mind so expected outcomes are driving it in the first place. How objective can anyone be if research is proceeding with a particular outcome in mind?
(This depressing tirade was brought to you by not enough caffeine and too much Holiday stress. I am finally going to shut up now.)