What does it say about us as a country that erroneous stories can sway our opinions or, more accurately, reinforce the notions that we already have? Social media companies such as Facebook and a Twitter are under fire for their culpability in foreign agents interfering with the 2016 elections. President Trump routinely calls out “fake news media” for their production of stories critical of the Donald. Organizations such as Politifact provide truthfulness assessments of statements made in the political arena. 

Somewhere amid this cacophonous environment rests the average American. The average American, whose concerns are financial stability, work/life balance, and finding meaning in their own life. Most average Americans appear to be dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction can be with their financial stability, their work/life balance, the seeming meaninglessness of it all, or even with the political arena at the local, national and international level. When a story comes along that reinforces our biases we say, “See. I knew they were out to screw us.”

And yet, day by day, we struggle along. A part of this nation, and the two hundred year old experiment. Finding our place, and hopefully a bit more. Why is it so easy for misinformation to affect us? Because we’re all constantly looking for something. 


The week that was

When I first started Michael’s Musings, oh, some point early in the Obama Administration, I really just wanted a platform to rant and rave about what I saw as wrong with politics. Or, what I saw as right about Obama. Or, honestly, who knows. I made one post, and have since moved that to the trashbins of cyberspace.

Still, I’m civic-minded, and I see many things going wrong, and some that are going right. (It seems we always focus on the wrong, and rarely on what’s going right.) I’d like to devote my Sundays to writing about politics, about civics. About discourse that I muse about. So that’s going to be my Sunday devotional. Starting today.

This past week, Jon Ossoff lost in Georgia.

For the record, I was sick of hearing about this race.

I live in Florida. I’m a registered Democrat. The amount of emails was mind-numbing, mostly asking for money, and not giving me a damn lick of information that I cared about.

Problem number one: The message.

What is it you want the American people to know? The voters? The immigrants? The wealthy and the poor, the blue-collar and white-collar? And, most important, you need to stay honest.

Problem number two: How we lose.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about political races, about why we get into politics, about how we run campaigns. (I’m using the Royal “We” here, but I’ve considered running myself from time to time.) I have to believe that we get into politics to make the world, our world and our nation, a better place.

In my opinion, there’s a way to do it, even if you lose. Be better.

That’s it. Be betterDon’t smear, don’t snipe, don’t attack. You may not win a race running it fair, clean, and good. But if the only way you can win is by playing dirty, are you even winning?

That’s the nation that Trump became president in. We live in fear, and we live in troubling times. But even in losing, we can show the nation a better way.

I love the line from Hamilton: The Musical:

George Washington speak-sings, “If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on. It outlives me when I’m gone.”

Be the example. That’s the point of politics. Be better. And that’s all I have to say for this week.