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  • Can We Talk About Trump?

    It's Saturday night and I've been home alone reading/watching the news. My blood pressure is elevated, even though it could be worse, as I dip my foot/toes into the well/cesspool of crap that defines our country's politics today.

    The conclusion I reach, after truly making an effort to look at things from all sides, is a simple shake of the head in disbelief. How can anyone who voted for our current president say, definitively, that he has been a good leader for our country, both domestically and on the world stage? Amid the fake news BS, the misogyny toward women, the blatant nepotism, etc., health care debacle, etc., Russia, etc., how can you say he and his GOP-led Congress have made positive change for our country and its citizens?

    Sorry folks, in this case there are no mulligans, just a poorly scripted reality show, albeit one with better production values. So, to my friends whose political views skew on the other side of mine, I'd like to know, are you:

    1. Unhappy?

    2. Thinking you might have made a poor choice?

    3. Thinking you might have made the wrong choice and are feeling the slightest twinge of guilt about it?

    4. Thinking that everything is just dandy.

    If you decide to go with #4, please elaborate in words of more than two syllables.

    End of rant.

    ••••••

    This post generated more than 100 comments on Facebook from all sides of the spectrum. (If you’re interested in reading them, go here.) Even though I said my “rant” was over, I felt compelled to weigh in a couple more times. Here's what I wrote:

    • I love having friends who are across the ideological spectrum. In fact, I urge my kids all the time — and being the child of a first grade teacher, I come by repetition genetically — to breathe for a moment and take a serious look at the other side's position on any argument before they reach a definitive conclusion. That's one reason this bothers me so much, because I've tried very hard and very deliberately to look at it from all sides.

    • The problem I have with much of today's media is that it is — on all sides — a bunch of shouting heads who mistake intellectual masturbation for facts. Media conglomerates are run as businesses. Ratings drive advertising and profits. And opinion, not facts, drives ratings. So here we are. Thank you, Roger Ailes, who was the first to see the true profit in that.

    Sadly, instead of ignoring it, others found themselves forced to emulate it. What truly disturbs me about the "fake news" phenomenon is that we have become so jaded about the state of our current political system that anything we don't ideologically agree with has to be made up by the other side. Perhaps I'm naive, but I think that's the case more often than not.

    What disgusts me is the fact that some evil-minded people are willing to use fake stories by certain outlets to promote their agenda, and because all nuance has been lost amid the shouting, we don't see it for what it is. We all know the opinion analogy. Why can't we state our views without acting like assholes?