Why does your favorite news outlet exist? For the pure love of journalism and reporting so that the public at large is more informed?
Ha! Has it ever been about that?
Your favorite news outlet exist to make money, control how you view and formulate your worldview (how you make sense of the world around you), and in the worst case, to guide society as they see fit. The same is happening with Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as they weigh free speech rights against hate speech activist.
Well, what is the alternative? Talk to people directly? Care more about local matters than state or national matters? I think those are great places to start and if we can really understand why this matters then maybe we will push major news outlets to go back to one hour time slots twice a day instead of having 24 hrs news cycles of hysteria.
I do not do this very well. Okay, I flat out do it poorly. Recently I did not recognize the mayor of our city and I still cannot tell you his name. I do not know the council members, have never attended a board meeting, and I have no idea how my city government is structured. I do listen to local talk radio but our local news station uses the same negative reporting to drum up local viewership so I tend to stay away from it. Even the local talk station can get hateful at times, and honestly, it scares me a little.
The reality is that every city and town is structured differently and when you move to new cities/towns as much as we have then you tend to ignore the things that you believe you have little to no influence on – like politics, city taxes, growth and development, and various aspects of the court system.
Isn’t that part of the solution to creating peace in society though? We should be involved as a community and seeking the benefit and welfare of our city’s people regardless of where they live within the city or county. The bottom line is that when the lowest among us prosper, mentally (remove entitlement and victim mindset), monetarily (earning a living), and morally (shared ‘common’ values), then we all benefit.
But that brings with it a set of problems where culture and cognitive reasoning plays a huge role. I have heard of two personal stories recently that highlight this.
One is about a local guy who is being helped by some members of our church. He is a former addict and has stayed clean for years, but he is having trouble finding work. Things worked out to where he had an interview with a solar panel company who would train him to do installations. The interview was set for 8 o’clock Monday morning. But he didn’t make the interview. He left town Saturday to go look for work in another town and he doesn’t have his own transportation so he wasn’t going to make it back for the interview. He basically self-eliminated his chances for getting the solar panel installation gig even though it was pretty much a sure job. He has learned to cope with risk by staying with what he knows while depending on the kindness of others to live.
Another friend told me about a young African-American man from his high school days who was ridiculed for doing well academically. He began to hide his grades at first but eventually the desire to fit in overwhelmed him and he chose to stop doing his school work. He began selling drugs and essentially running with the gang-banger crowd. He died in his twenties as a result of the lifestyle he chose so that he could fit with people he identified with culturally. My friend did not choose that route but he felt the same pressures. His mom over-rode those pressures that my buddy felt.
These are the situations that we want to prevent from happening. Politics won’t solve these problems and money will not solve them either. But opportunities help and people investing time, resources, and money into one another helps. It may not make a difference immediately but we didn’t get to this point in society over night. We need to adopt a long term view of changing our learned behaviors and cultural misnomers so that people feel empowered to make the world a safer, more secure, more sustainable place to live.