Damned If You Do or Don’t…

How would you handle getting up each morning knowing that you were already being damned for something you did as well as for something you didn’t?  Our President is polarizing and he has no end of critics…who both criticize for what he has done as well as for what he has not done.  That is more a lose-lose than a win-win proposition, but he chose it.

I try to remember when we had a President that we didn’t pillory no matter what was done or left undone.  Maybe that goes back as far as Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former General whom we placed in the White House.  Maybe it goes back to Harry S. Truman, the Missouri clothier.

As I worked through the list it became apparent that we had far less access on a daily or even an hourly basis to the doings of our government in earlier times, not times before modern communication but times before the polarization we seem to crave these days.  There were times, and I know it is hard to believe for many, when we did not live in a 24 hour per day news cycle.

We might have gotten the morning or afternoon newspaper or even both if we were real news junkies.  And there were, although I’m not sure we knew what to call them at that point in our history, sources that leaned to the left and sources that leaned to the right.  The leanings didn’t seem to be quite so pronounced or quite so drastic as they seem today, but there were political overtones.

We have created what we live with today, and we did so in an anxious, can’t wait kind of way.  We have come to the point where getting the news an hour after it happens seems like a breakdown in technology.  Imagine how our forefathers made it through the days and weeks-long delays for news from the World War II front.  And the Korean front.

And further, imagine only tube-driven radios with no pictures and static for sound that we huddled around to hear the latest, even though it wouldn’t qualify as the ‘latest’ today.  The thing that has changed is simple: we get too much information today and we get it too soon and we don’t always analyze the content for leanings to the left or to the right.  Or, we have analyzed and chosen the left or right intentionally, thus causing us to get what we want but not everything we need to reach fully informed middle-of-the-road opinions.

There is no more middle-of-the-road for news so that we can digest it and interpret it as we choose.  It has already been digested and interpreted when we receive it.  That explains why it is so important for us to know what the slant is to the news from the source we’re using for that news.

People are heard to talk about the ‘good old days’ when they reminisce with friends or when they talk with younger family members.  Those days were slower although an hour was still an hour even then.  Our days are filled with so much it seems we must have more than 60 minute hours and more than 24 hour days.  We are if we permit ourselves to be, inundated with news.  Many of us are addicted to more news more rapidly.

Back to the beginning…

We are quick to damn and quick to praise our leaders depending upon our personal political persuasion.  The 24-hour news cycle is a vicious thing for those who are leading us.  There is no respite.  There is simply no time to take that step back and re-think before we engage mouth or pen.

Our leaders suffer from that and are too often damned if they did or damned if they didn’t.  We suffer from that, too.  We are instant recipients of news, and that does not give us the former luxury of others having noodled and shared their thoughts with us.

We’ve lost a bit as we’ve progressed, and our youngsters will only read about this in history classes if that is even taught.  Makes one wonder what we’re leaving to our children and their children and their children.

More, more quickly, is not always better.

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