Kevin’s Conversations: Battle Fatigue
So one of the latest big political dramas is President Trump accusing President Obama of having wire tapped him during his presidential campaign.
This is a serious charge and would have all kinds of implications if true, especially if it was done somehow in an illegal fashion.
As I am concerned with the affairs of my own country, I do have a substantial interest in whether or not this charge is true. Did Obama potentially abuse his powers in a grievous fashion, or is this another case of Trump of doing or saying something outrageous without much substance to it? This time with decidedly higher stakes than when insulting the physical appearance of a rival campaigner or claiming the largest inauguration crowd in history.
I look at the headlines on mainstream media and I see accusations of Trump making charges with no evidence whatsoever. That he is just upping the stakes on his circus act. I see my liberal friends on Facebook latching onto these stories and espousing the idiocy of Trump. Contrarily, I see my conservative friends on Facebook posting a bunch of stories from conservative media saying that there is all kinds of evidence and substance to Trump’s charges. I see them vilifying Obama for lowering himself to such sickening levels. I see the back and forth arguing.
The liberals are convinced that Trump is just making it all up and they have their relied upon news sources that tell them as much. News sources which they know are immensely more reliable than those wacko conservative new sources. They know those conservatives who have been obsessed with Obama are just at it again.
The conservatives are convinced that there is much proof to Trump’s allegations and they have their relied upon news sources that tell them as much. News sources which they know are immensely more reliable than those alarmingly compromised liberal news sources. And they know those liberals who are obsessed with Trump are just at it again.
I am hit with an overwhelming feeling of fatigue in trying to find and understand the truth this time around. To be honest, I have read up very little on the wire tapping issue. I just have not had the energy or ambition. Because finding out the truth on these types of things can so often be just so darn hard these days. Forget about finding the ultimate truth on the matter, because just trying to find the impartial facts and information is difficult enough. I just don’t feel like going through that ringer again.
We are awfully divided in this country right now. And we are seemingly always so ready to believe whatever our own side feeds us and so ready to dis-believe anything that comes from the other side. We have made things so much harder on ourselves by our penchant to dig in our heels and fight rather than having inclinations to sit and listen and trying to understand and being willing to even compromise at times. Harder by so often seeing the other side as the stupid and immoral enemy rather than those with differing opinions from whom we may actually learn something from time to time. Harder by becoming so certain about so many things, some of which we’d probably be better off not being so certain about.
I am just not up for another round of this dreck. I don’t have the drive to get involved in this one. I resign myself to not being able to speak credibly about the subject because I haven’t learned enough about it. Even the very little I have said here, I am sure some will take issue with because I am misinformed or under-informed. I don’t know if my attitude is right, but this is where I’m at right now. I will claim “no opinion” and hope that in the end the truth of the issue will come so strongly to light that it will be undeniable from either side. And above that, that something strange and miraculous happens and the people of this country somehow learn to treat each other with greater respect and dignity as they discuss and work through the issue.
The sad thing is, at least from my vantage point, the Christians in this country don’t do any better at dealing with these things. I think Jesus spoke some words that may just help us. You might recognize them.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Well balanced article. Even if the truth comes out so clear that it can not be mistaken, I believe we live in such a time that people on the other side of our opinions will deny it. So to me, there is a truth far greater than what we see happening in our government. And the truth is that Jesus is more real than the alt-right or the alt-left will ever tell you. All this politics is just a distraction. That I am more sure of than ever and my faith has never been stronger. Although I definitely have very strong opinions on this topic, for the sake of peace in the church I rarely if ever express them.
Amen. My sadness at how polarized we have become is deep. There is an assumption that if one side is wrong–the other side is, therefore, right. Unfortunately, that is not true because all sides have dirty hands at this point. For leaders in all sectors, it has been about power and who has it for a very long time. Whether it’s sports, politics or even acts committed in the name of someone’s Jesus, the use of immoral means to arrive at even moral ends has been rationalized for so long that we have all gotten used to it. A sort of resignation has set in. The reason for not being able to arrive at the truth is because it is not valued and gets in the way. Perception reigns–not truth. Because of the confusion that now prevails, if or when the truth is finally revealed, no one will recognize it–especially if it gets in the way of preconceptions on either side. Jesus said that even if one rises from the dead it will not convince some people. I think that sentiment well explains the level of entrenchment we are now living with. It’s no longer about truth–it’s about winning. Only God can fix this.
“For at present we all tend to one mistake; we tend to make politics too important. We tend to forget how huge a part of a man’s life is the same under a Sultan and a Senate, under Nero or St Louis. Daybreak is a never-ending glory, getting out of bed is a never-ending nuisance; food and friends will be welcomed; work and strangers must be accepted and endured; birds will go bedwards and children won’t, to the end of the last evening.” – Chesterton
Excellent article Kevin. Thanks.
Good article Kevin,
I don’t pay attention so I don’t have the fatigue. I figure everyone in government lies all the time so we will never know that truth – perhaps there is not goverment truth, only paid points of view.
However, on the political scene I want to play the on location reporter. All the ladies in my office showed up for work today.
I don’t pay attention so I don’t have the fatigue.
I used to be VERY interested in sports. I began to get fatigued at the politics, scandals, and controversies, plus I also did not like some of the changes to the sport themselves (like the silly one and done rule in college basketball).
So I just stopped…stopped listening to sports radio, stopped reading sports online sites and checking scores and headlines. I could not tell you who is playing well in the NBA where in the recent past I probably knew who was in playoff contention, and every trade rumor or key injury.
I did not watch a down of NFL this year, and other than oldtimers still in the league I doubt I could name a dozen players in the NFL or MLB – and certainly not their teams. I don’t know a single player in college hoops or a single team in the top 20. College football is the only sport I care about at all (not that it doesn’t also have problems but they have not yet driven me away)
Deliberate, blissful ignorance.
It ain’t that hard to make it happen in one’s life.
P.S. For the record, this has nothing to do with “boycotting” anything.
Good job Kevin!
“I don’t pay attention so I don’t have the fatigue.”
MLD, if you would practice that with the Dodgers, your life would probably function more smoothly. 😉
Just wrote to a friend to say that graciousness and civility are essential for a meaningful conversation; and conversation is essential for learning. My fear is that we’ve abandoned those qualities and I fear they may not return…
This is really good…
I am finally coming to a point with some online friends where the volume and the vitriol is eroding the relationship to a point where I will have to abandon it, at least for a season.
I don’t like doing that.
Secondarily, I think we all need to be concerned over the lack of trust we have in the press…an institution that is supposed to be one that preserves our freedoms by speaking truth to power…
just jumping in to ask for prayer this evening for a family member that has to be involved in a city planning project that is being pressured to be Sharia compliant – not asking for specifics, just that God will override … and for safety
i’m glad that the press is under scrutiny and hope the outcome will be a good one as yes, we do badly need a diligent and honest press pressing for information 🙂
Michael, I think your observation about the press is certainly important. My take is that the press, as a whole, needs to reboot–identify their purpose, goals, methods, “audiences” and stake-holders, and especially give attention to objectivity. In a sense, they have become like the courts–overstepping their bounds and legislating from the bench. When their agenda has become shaping perceptions, influencing outcomes, and swaying decisions little good can come from that. A jaded mind, like mine, must take numerous purposeful steps to maintain objectivity. Our press is largely subjective…and perhaps has been for a long time.
The issue may be one of ethics. Is there a code of ethics in Journalism, which journalists hold themselves to? Many professions have such codes, and have mechanisms to monitor and enforce them. But then you have the issue of what is a journalist? Do people even care? What is journalism or news.
On the issue of ethics, as a virtue in our culture, its value has been severely devalued. The very politicians who journalists report on – what is their code of ethics?
I remember hearing a good point before the election that the New Testament writers didn’t seem to be real concerned about the political activities of their day. They were focused the transcendent kingdom of God. There’s nothing we can do about the government, the press etc. But we can do our best to love God and neighbor in each of our little worlds and let Him take care of the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset after the election. But as I heard someone say once, it’s time to shrink our worlds.
I wish we could return to the days of the Evening News, with half an hour of Huntley/ Brinkley. They didn’t have to fill 24 hours a day with “breaking news,” they just told the day’s news. Everything is earthshaking nowadays, or so we are led to believe.
Sure. Just like any group of professionals (lawyers, engineers, etc.), journalists have a code of ethics. Something to remember is that tyrants and authoritarian “leaders” usually start by denigrating the press. Something to think about.
It’s funny – pastors are suppose to speak truth to power, yet most of the country does not trust them. Heck, many here on this blog would rather cross the street before having to encounter a pastor.
It may just be our society – we just do not trust or respect. Don’t glorify the role of the journalist – they are just one of many institutions that have no respect.
I am paying attention because we have a front row seat to history. Not boring factoids that we learned in school, but we are part of history ourselves. it is the best of times it is the worst of times, and I would not like to be alive in any other time.
Edit of # 18.
We are watching an attempted purge in progress.
…be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves…
Surprised the term “yellow journalism” hasn’t resurfaced. Due to the press, McKinley was goaded into war with Spain over a century ago. If people would study history a bit, the masses wouldn’t be so easily whipped into a frenzy, because wherever we are, we’ve been before. There is nothing new under the sun.
having a code of ethics means little when your deadline looms, ratings are on the line, circulation numbers are down, and a scoop means everything. The alignment of elements of the press with one party or the other not only presents strange bedfellows, but conflict of interest. The press should be the honorable opposition to Washington DC, but instead pick and choose their targets based on the R or D in front of their names.
“There is an unfolding story. It is not on your television. It cannot be googled. By it, the universe is moved in the blessed unfolding of the will of God.
Christ has made it known.”
MLD, I trust my pastor but good pastors are really hard to find these days. Part of being a good pastor is that they should be humble, authentic and trustworthy. They need to respect and trust their congregation as much as they should be trusted and respected by the congregation. Trust and respect should always be a two-way street. I don’t buy this argument that the pastor should always get the benefit of the doubt when their is a disagreement. This elevates the pastor to a role of being better and more important than a parishioner. Unfortunately the “touch not God’s anointed” mentality is way too pervasive in the church and should be exposed for the sham that it is. Likewise congregants need to support and trust their pastors and not always ascribe bad motives to their leadership.
I strongly encourage everyone to read the article Joel linked to.
The press is getting beat up in this conversation and I believe rightfully so. To repeat filbertz in his #21: “The press should be the honorable opposition to Washington DC, but instead pick and choose their targets based on the R or D in front of their names.”
What would happen if the Christians in this country (and there are plenty in this country who would confess to being Christian) laid aside their political leanings (both conservatives and liberals) and would pass on or promote only news that was real journalism and wasn’t heavily tainted with political bias? Where they would stick only to stories that did a decent job of unbiasedly reporting the facts without heavy spins? Where they only accepted these kinds of stories and rejected all the ones that seemingly are just as interested, if not more interested, in damaging the “opposition” as they are in reporting the news?
Hard to do nowadays because it takes so much work to identify these, at least mostly, impartial stories. But what if we had started this practice 20 or 30 or 40 years ago? How might the press be different today if the millions and millions of Christians in this land had created a market demand for unbiased reporting?
I don’t know how different things would be. But I think it’s at least an interesting thought.
My point was that whoever we respect / trust should be held to the same standards. So we can’t say that journalists are not trusted as if it is unfair – then turn and say it different about pastors.
If we can bash pastors on the blog and as a nation then we can do the same to journalists.
In other words, no one trusts / respects anyone in these times (and there is a good chance that none of them deserve our trust and respect)— even us on the PP blog.
I trust / repsect my pastor because he has chosen to align himself with a system that keeps his ego and power in check. Also, he has agreed to wear a dress in front of us all each and every Sunday. 😉
There was a time when editors insisted upon multiple reliable sources and carefully researched analysis before something went to print. If we remember, Watergate reporting emerged over a period of years. Even then they didn’t get everything right, but most of it was correct.
Today we want it NOW! We even insist upon it as we check news feeds through the day. Part of the problem with journalism is us…
I’m not nearly as wound up about the press as many seem to be.
First, it’s hard to define what the press even is these days.
Most of the shows that fall under that blanket are actually entertainment programs.
Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and that genre are not traditional news outlets but were created for ratings and entertainment purposes.
When “news” programs stopped being general sources of information and became boutique sources of partisan information, we lost the ship.
However, we were given what we wanted.
Real reporters in Mexico die for writing the truth and many keep reporting until they are murdered.
Maybe we should hoist a few over the wall to show us how it’s supposed to be done…
“…boutique sources of partisan information…”
Well, we’ve done it with theology for years, I guess it was the turn for media and news to provide us with the same…
Funny you should say that…I just listened to a conference where that was demonstrated in such an over the top fashion it even surprised me.
I’m not easily surprised these days… 🙂
“However, we were given what we wanted.”
And that was my thought in my #25. If we demonstrated that we wanted impartiality in our news reporting, I wonder how things might be different.
As I have said – I watch or search for very little news. I find the only reliable source of news reporting comes from Al Jazeera – check it out.