Cynicism is killing honest debate and discussion in this country. Read the paper, watch the TV news, go to the movies or just watch a late-night comedy show and you will be bombarded by negative attitudes on almost every possible subject. Almost every current event topic seems to be much more interesting when spun in a negative light. Even human interest stories will frequently contain a negative reference to something. We seem to be very willing as a society to believe the worst in the motivation of people.
Both presidential candidates and their support groups have been slamming each other with negative ads and speeches. The cynicism that is running wild through campaign is staggering. Let’s look at some of the biggest examples:
1. It is very easy for people to believe that George W. Bush got special treatment during his National Guard service. It seems impossible for people to believe that Bush joined the Guard and completed his service as his records indicate. Every small detail of his service is scrutinized for evidence of favoritism. There has been no credible evidence refuting the president’s National Guard record.
2. John Kerry must have had a political agenda going into his Vietnam War service, what else can explain all the quirky little details of that service. It does not seem possible for people to believe that John Kerry served his time in the Navy and was genuinely changed by his experiences there. How could a highly decorated war hero come out against the war when he returned home? He wasn’t the only one to come home against the war, but he was one of the most outspoken.
3. The Iraq War was a war for oil and US Empire. This seems to be such an obvious point that when it comes up in a conversation what more is left to say? Why do the people who throw around the blood for oil garbage ask why we don’t just buy the oil without invading? It seems to me that if the US invades a country to steal the oil, logically, we should actually steal the oil, not help that nation rebuild its oil industry and then buy the oil anyway. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to support France and Germany in lifting UN sanctions than it was to invade?
4. The president is a liar. This is so easy to throw around; it actually takes no thought at all. He said something that was not true, therefore he lied. Simple. Unfortunately, lies are defined as a deliberate misrepresentation and there is NO evidence that the president deliberately misrepresented anything.
The list could go on but I am trying to keep these posts a little shorter. Seriously, I must confess to a cynical streak myself. I think that Saddam moved his WMD stock piles to Syria before the US invasion; it is impossible for me to believe that he would destroy these weapons without getting something in return. Very cynical of me, I know. I also believe that the US government knows that these weapons were moved but for political reasons they cannot publicly accuse Syria of hiding the weapons. Ridiculously cynical on my part, next I will be telling you that bin Laden has already been captured!
I really believe that it is extremely important that we, as a country, not allow cynicism to consume us. It is a good thing to think critically and ask questions but we should allow ourselves to be just as willing to believe the good stories and not just the bad. Don’t let the comedians drag you down!