Well, it has finally arrived.
Today is the U.S. presidential election, an event anticipated and watched carefully around the world. Within the country, independent of one’s leanings (liberal or conservative), one can hear the same statements — great things if their candidate wins, dire consequences should the other. In reality, the U.S. president has little control over any current events, but gets blamed or takes credit for many.
I think most people, except the most cynical and corrupt, want the same for all human beings: a fair and decent life with as much freedom from fear as possible. The passion is in the process — liberals and conservatives vary widely on how to achieve these ends. One side has faith in government, the other in free enterprise. What both most often miss is the unintended consequences of following either approach.
Modern media, ever desperate to fill more and more air time, fan the passion of the process. And, in fact, recalling Marshall McLuhan’s words: “the medium is the message,” one finds news outlets to be ever the less objective and all the more blatantly opinionated.
However, I think this is where the Internet steps in, for on the Internet today one can find all sorts of opinions, some from outright cranks, and others from more learned sources. For the thinking person, this is good. The bad part is that it takes time for someone really seeking opinions to find, sort, and vet these on their own. Which leads to a new unintended consequence: there is a new level of demarcation of “haves” and “have nots.” The new “haves” take the time to explore many sources and come to a learned and logical set of conclusions. The “have nots” grab bits and pieces and fail to develop solid conclusions, leading them sometimes down paths they did not wish to take.
I am bemused when I hear from someone who tells me they scan our publications; don’t have time to read them or any others. That is their choice of course. Yet, I’ll suggest another approach — I spend a lot of time looking at new things (ideas, techniques, opinions) hoping to find ways to short-cut routine tasks, thus giving me more time to look for new things and continue the cycle. This makes me more effective.