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I Miss the Days When I Knew It All

Don’t be so self-righteous. If you are honest, you recall a younger time when you just thought you knew everything about everything. Hopefully, it has abated some over the years, but life was so much easier then. It required no thought. The most convenient part was that you never had to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. You could just pigeonhole people into slots. They were “good” guys or they were “bad” guys. It was especially useful in social debates and politics.

That is on my mind today as I listen to all the talking heads regarding President Obama and General McChrystal. Talk radio is filled with conservative hosts decrying the treatment of the general. After all, Obama has to be wrong because he is the bad guy. He is just bad. He is always bad. Right?

I married into a military family. Chain of command is big. I mean, really BIG! For that matter, it is big in ministry. No pastor can serve long with an associate publicly attacking him. Though I haven’t worked in the corporate world, I suspect there is little tolerance for undercutting your boss there either. To summarize, on a practical level, there was nothing else President Obama could do. The General gave him no choice. But we are conservative and He is bad so he has to be the bad guy.

I think it started when talk radio treated every day of President Clinton’s tenure like election day, attacking mercilessly. (My first pastor used to say that people who love you will defend you when you are wrong and those who hate you will attack you when you are right.) Liberal talk show hosts continued the trend every day President Bush was in office. Now, it is the conservatives turn again.

There are two big problems with all this. The voting public is SICK of it. We believe strongly what we believe but we are getting really cynical. How about a little common courtesy? How about Fox reporting and letting us decide? (Hey, that should be a slogan!) How about CNN just letting us know what is going on around the world, even if it is just a flood in Nashville?

Secondly, a lot of the voting public is forgetting that they have a right to think and even forgetting how to think. The whole world has been reduced to themes and sound bytes. Unfortunately, the world’s problems are getting bigger by the moment and continue to be unsolved and largely unaddressed because when anything newsworthy happens, both sides have to solidify their viewer base by reminding us who is bad and why they are bad and since they are bad, why they can never be right. God help us.

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