Archive for October, 2020

Traditional journalists report both sides of every issue.   

But the challenge for reporters today is to separate lies, cruelty, chaos, and self-serving claims, from truth and facts. It has become virtually impossible to report only truth, and still report both sides.

The fact is, media revolutions have completely changed journalism. 

Early thinkers assumed that new media technology would bring people together and increase understanding. But the opposite is what happened. Differences became magnified, anger was amplified, and a peaceful global village became a distant dream. 

The Internet also produced an illusion of personal invisibility.

It became possible to be cruel and remain distant. And it enabled autocrats to form choirs of supporters and give them only emotional satisfaction. 

Chaos is becoming unbearable for most of us, and many in the political party most responsible for this mess have been ducking responsibility by saying, “We love his policies, but hate his politics.”

Today we have an entire population trying to deal with an out-of-control pandemic, huge numbers out of work, growing food lines, and a culture filled with increasingly-confusing fake media.

The biggest danger of all is that we have a president who is playing only to the emotions of his base, and is totally focused on forming an autocracy with unqualified family members and loyalists ready to carry out his daily whims.

Simply put, we must do whatever it takes to save our incredible democracy.     

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Trust in most everything is gone. Whatever you think about Pete Buttigieg from his campaign, you should read his book, simply titled Trust. He writes beautifully and in-depth about the importance of trust at this critical time in American history.

The long-respected Scientific American recently endorsed science, health, and Joe Biden for president. Its editors were not taking a partisan stand. They were desperately taking a stand for truth and transparency.  

What more do we need to inform our vote? Trump’s endless belittling of contracting Covid-19; his endless ignoring of those in quarantine, dying, and losing jobs; his endless cruel attacks; his endless lies about voter fraud; his endless threats on cherished American institutions; his endless racist and conspiracy trolls; and his endless daily tweets to create chaos and deliberate distractions? Extremist groups and individuals are already responding by threatening violence, and even civil war. Trust in most everything is gone.

And to make matters worse, the New York Times now tells us that Trump’s tax return data shows chronic losses, taxes were not paid over a ten year period, hundreds of millions of dollars are owed to foreign entities, and Trump’s wealth is accumulating from foreign and lobby patronage seeking improper benefits. Trust in most everything is gone.

I yearn for the day when we once again have highly educated experts on planning teams advising presidents who know something about American and world history, and are curious enough to read and learn about complicated issues, and are therefore able to clearly articulate rational decisions. 

I also yearn for the day when losing an election does not mean losing democracy. 

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Lesson 570 Autocrats Destroy Democracies

Democracies are very difficult to save.

A democratically elected leader can easily morph into an obsessed autocrat. This might be missed at first, but such a person usually has character flaws that can be traced to childhood; has consistently shown only self-centered motivations; has a complete lack of empathy; and has a mean-streak always directed at those who disagree with him. History teaches that when such a person becomes a nation’s leader, any democracy will always be under serious threat.

Once in office, this kind of person will demand loyalty. A tributary system will quickly appear where loyalty will bring benefits, and criticism will bring punishment and humiliation. Brainwashing messages, tangible symbols, endless propaganda statements (or tweets), and staged-for-TV events will become features of the entire administration. Considered unnecessary, basic governmental and other institutions will be reduced in size and importance, and many of the top experts that inhabit them will prepare to leave, or will be fired. What some call the “Stockholm Effect” will eventually take hold, and many of those immersed in this autocracy will actually develop a psychological dependency on it. Authoritarians always show an admiration of dictators early on, and will eventually extend their power by bonding with them.

History teaches that once a democracy is lost, its culture will very likely go too. In this manner, entire civilizations have been lost. So far the United States still has the skeleton of a democracy. The thought that we could lose it all should terrify us.

This much is crystal clear from this president’s behavior… only a vote for Biden can save our treasured democracy!

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