“F” Words…

Before you hyperventilate from reading the title, I probably should provide you with the “F” words I have in mind:  Facts, Feelings, and Folderol.

FACTS:

We need to be able to sift and sort through the various preachings we see and hear on virtually a daily basis.  We need especially to be on our guard for those preachings claiming to be FACT no matter the source of those preachings.  If a conservative states something as fact, it had better darn well be fact.  And, yes, unfortunately, we cannot always take the word of conservatives at face value.  We must be the kind of information consumers who insist on factual information whether or not it makes us feel good.

FEELINGS:

We need to be wary of things transmitted as a fact that are simply the feelings of the author or speaker.  Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) is a prime example of one who states things as fact when they are nothing remotely close to being factual.  Feelings are meant to place us in a different state of mind than we’d be in if we were dealing with straight fact.  Feelings introduce emotion into the equation.  Advertisements are big on ‘touchy, feely’ language since those appeal to emotions and emotions quite often drive decisions which otherwise wouldn’t have been made.

Folderol:

This is defined as ‘nonsensical fuss’ and, boy-oh-boy, do we need to be weary of that stuff in this era.  There is more nonsense dispensed on a daily basis in our Congressional press releases than one can shake the proverbial stick at.  All of this nonsense is a distortion of facts meant to create feelings in the targeted people, voters, that will force them to take actions they might’ve avoided had they not thought this information was factual.

Facts are facts unless they are really feelings of the author or plain folderol (nonsense) uttered by the speaker in error or intentionally because of his or her belief system.

Now, we come to the daily dose of “news” and that hits us from every direction, sometimes subtly and other times in very loud voice.  There is a reason that Fox News sounds different from ABC News, or CBS News or NBC News.  That difference is not necessarily in the base truth of the subject, but in the tone of voice, the words used and the visual implications we see on the face of the presenter.

We can be manipulated simply by the visual we get from the presenter.  A tilt of the head or a blink of the eye can change our take on sentences with precisely the same wording.  These are sometimes so subtle we don’t think about it and that is the very slippery slope that we need to learn how to discern on-the-fly since the words are streaming at us very rapidly.  There is only so much time for news if the advertisements are going to be shown.  And in that relatively brief time, we have to take in the words and the tone and the facial appearance and even the overall body language in order to place that information in the right column.

The disruptors who are now present at every meeting held by a Conservative or Republican elected official are part and parcel of this kind of manipulative approach in today’s political world.  These disruptors are anxious to display themselves and create a fuss.  Better yet, they desire to interrupt/disrupt meetings and prevent elected officials from communicating with their constituents UNLESS they are of the correct/acceptable mindset.  Even better than that is to cause the elected official to look the fool in the meeting.  Interrupt, disrupt and make-fools-of is their mantra.

We see this locally, and across the entire country, all too often when our state and federal elected officials conduct local voter information meetings.  We see this when certain officials are made to seem ineffectual and/or uncaring without the opportunity to respond due to the actions of the ‘crowd’.  And, of course, this plays to make the official, rightly or wrongly, into something he or she is not.

Most of us take our politics in small doses, if at all.  So the televised shots of an official making a fool of him or herself at the bidding of hecklers are what we remember.  We are likely not even aware of the drivers that caused that TV shot to be available.

These “F” words are critically important since it is true that few of us spend any real time delving into these things.  Facts are THE most critical of these three words.  Feelings and folderol combined, however, seem easily able to outweigh facts in an instant given their psychological impact.  When we get our news a couple of seconds or minutes at a time, we don’t have a lot of time in which to discern the truth, especially when our feelings outweigh whatever the facts were if we’ve even been exposed to those facts.

I like to think I am well-informed on these issues but even with the time I spend, I have to be very careful that I have dug deeply and that I suppress my emotionally-feeling-self in favor of the facts as I know them.  Even then, I get tricked once in awhile.  Then another “F” word enters the picture: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

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