Why Skepticism Has Become Evil in Democracy?
Up until Bill Clinton became President of the United States, our Congress did its job. Congress has always been the house of the elite class. Congress members have always been a safe haven for millionaires and billionaires.
According to Forbes, Senator Bernie Sanders’ net worth is just over $2 million.
Let me be clear, Congress doing its job doesn’t mean Congress has done a good or bad job. But Members of Congress went to Washington to debate issues and pass laws. That’s their job.
And up until 1992, when President Clinton took office, Congress did its job.
And then a funny thing happened in Washington.
Congress refused to do its job — yes, they went on strike!
This article isn’t going to take a deep dive into the Hatfield v. McCoy feud between the Washington Republicans and Democrats — although HBO would have a hit show on their hands if they produced a show depicting the immature and childish arguments, some of our elected officials engage in, but it’s more important to recognize that when these two parties went on Strike, they took skepticism with it.
An Era Before Time
As our nation shifts focus from the “Baby Boomers” to the Millennials and Zoomers, most people forget or aren’t even aware of a time before the divisive hatred between Republicans and Democrats.
Yes, there was a time when the two parties could shake hands and make compromises.
Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and implemented the “checks and balance” system precisely because they knew that people are horrible at being honest and doing what’s right for others different from them. That was actually their true genius.
No other nation has a legal mechanism to fix its society.
If you go to Europe, “it is what it is,” and if you don’t like it — you’re out of luck. But that’s not how things are in America. I always thought being “Woke” was a good thing.
When the younger generation looks at the older generation and says with skepticism— “why do we do this?”
But that’s not what “Woke” is today.
American democracy is founded on a few main ideals — one of them being the right to Free Speech. And that basically means in written law, that you, the individual citizen have the right to openly criticize our government, our elected officials and anyone with legal authority.
Try doing that in China or Russia for example.
But something weird happened over the last decade. The people that were “Woke” became the enemy of the state. Criticizing the government and elected officials became “evil” and frowned upon. And ironically, if you openly criticized the government you were labeled “anti-democratic.”
I am an expert 21st Century educator and I speak with thousands of other educators and parents who swear by the traditional, old and obsolete 19th Century curriculum and how valuable high school English classes are, and yet our elected officials all graduated from high school and college —and they don’t understand the vocabulary words “irony” and “freedom.”
Or if they do — they are truly bad people because they have weaponized these words to mean the opposite of their true definition. (Apologies, I’m getting in the weeds of academic debate.)
How do you know if you have “free thought” or not? First, ask yourself this one question:
“Are your beliefs based on research you read, or because someone told you something that made you believe it to be real?”
It’s extremely important to answer this question honestly.
The Game of Telephone
Everyone should know this communications game. Just in case you don’t, it goes like this. There are a bunch of people in a room, everyone is asked to sit in chairs in a row. Therefore there is one person to your right and left. The game starts by the first person telling a simple sentence to the one person next to them. For example,“The Kid Went to the Store to Buy a Loaf of Bread.”
Only one person can hear this sentence, so they listen as best they can and then they are supposed to turn to the next person sitting on the other side of them and repeat this sentence to them — word for word.
This happens over and over, one person retells the same sentence to the other person sitting on the other side of them, until we reach the last person, who then tells the entire room the sentence they heard.
And guess what?
It’s never the original sentence — EVER!!
Why is that? Why can’t we hear a sentence and repeat it back the way we heard it? Why does the game of telephone NEVER work the way it should!
Psychologists have been trying to find the answer to this question for decades and have yet to come up with a reasonable explanation, but it should REVEAL something to you.
If ALL of your news and information is coming from listening to people tell you things and not from reading the first hand documents or hearing the first-hand source yourself, then you are in a GAME OF TELEPHONE — and you don’t even realize it.
It doesn’t matter that the person on TV is a so-called expert — they are getting the sentence wrong. It doesn’t matter that the son or daughter of the person of interest is telling you — they aren’t the first-hand source.
You are getting second-hand or even third-hand information and it is completely unreliable. None of it is fully accurate, despite those people believing they know the truth. They only know what they can remember and then repeat back to you.
Which brings me to the topic of cable news.
Let me be clear, I am not saying stop watching cable news. I catch glimpses of it when they discuss a topic I’m interested in. So I am a consumer of cable news, but if you aren’t aware that cable news rarely gets a story right, you should be awake now.
What is cable news? Yes, you got it — they are the televised version of the game of telephone. In fact, they have brilliantly monetized the game to perfection. If you watch cable news all day, by the end of the day you will be lucky to remember any facts about the original sentence at all.
Take any story and put it on cable news and by the end of the day, the cable news outlet has created an entirely NEW story. Take “Russiagate” for example. This was a legitimate news story at the beginning.
There is real and credible evidence that Russia is interfering in our elections. And we have the evidence. The Steele Dossier that was created by the Clinton campaign in 2016 was pure Russian counter-intelligence against the Trump campaign.
And Jared Kushner met with Russian intelligence operatives during the campaign, in order to get “dirt” on Hillary’s campaign.
This is real news. Not fake news. Factual evidence that Russia is interfering.
But what happened on cable news? The first day they reported that Russia might be interfering and after that — the game of telephone took over. By the end, the cable news channels were reporting that Donald Trump himself met with Russian intelligence operatives (untrue) and that Donald Trump was colluding with the Russian government (also untrue).
Do you see what happened? It’s entertaining to watch, and if you like watching people get things SOOO WRONG, who believe themselves to be SOO RIGHT — it’s honestly hilarious. But the problem is that honest hard working Americans aren’t told that they are watching a game of telephone.
They are led to believe that cable news is fact-checking every step of the way — but that’s a bold faced lie. They don’t fact-check anything on cable news.
What does this mean for you?
I hope it means that you won’t blindly believe what pundits and so-called experts are saying on TV and podcasts anymore. At best, they are “guessing” at what they heard. The only real news is first-hand news. So unless you hear it or read it yourself from the person who is involved, then it’s just conjecture.
And there is nothing wrong with speculating about a topic. That’s kind of an American sport at this point — we love to “suppose” things. But if you think you are getting “hard news” when you watch cable news — you are being grossly misled.
What Should You Do?
I want to be “woke.” I think being awake is a good thing. Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden:
The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.
That sounds positive to me. “To be awake is to be alive.” Where do I sign up?
But we must recognize that as human beings we are terrible at being honest and doing the right thing, unless there are other people around that hold us to be accountable. And accountability does not mean punishment, but mere awareness that we are being a hypocrite.
I’m not saying being a hypocrite is necessarily a bad thing either, since every one of us is a hypocrite at some point in our life. Yes, all of us. If you are doing a trendy weight loss diet, you are a hypocrite. If you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or use drugs — you are a hypocrite.
If you yell and berate your neighbor for having a different opinion — guess what? You are a hypocrite too. And last one, if you go on social media and feign “outrage” — you are definitely a hypocrite.
That means we are all hypocrites, and in my humble opinion, it’s an American right of passage. I have been a hypocrite too many times to count. But that’s why being “woke” is so alluring to me. Once you become “woke” you question EVERYTHING, including yourself.
Why do I believe this? Where did I get this information from? Who is that “expert” on TV?
Being woke should mean being awake to the hypocrisy that exists all around us, including your own hypocrisy. Because trust me, you are probably being a hypocrite about something right now. Can you find it? Can you understand why you believe what you believe? And more importantly, can you admit that you are straddling the fence of what you believe and what you actually do in real life?
I think admission is the first step.
Hi, my name is D. Scott Schwartz and I am a Hypocrite!
There, I feel better. Are you ready to admit that you’re a hypocrite too?