The Democrats are done for … no wait, they’re fine. President Obama will never recover … oh, wait, he will. Health care reform is dead … no, it’s alive. If you subject yourself to what’s happening in Washington, this constant switching happens several times a day.
Since anyone can create his or her own reality, there is no true way to figure out what is happening. With people sheltering themselves in echo chambers and partisan bickering, everyone tells the best story to make the viewer or reader feel better. Both sides are in denial, whether or not they really need to be.
With a 24-hour news cycle that depends on hyperbole and meaningless discussion, every single event, no matter how small, is picked apart in several different ways. In the 1930s, almost nobody except his coworkers and family knew that FDR was paralyzed the only time he ever mentioned it to the public was shortly in passing before he died.
Today, if Obama became paralyzed, we would somehow know about it before Obama himself. There would be a million talk shows speculating whether Obama’s paralysis would make our children want to be crippled. We would have roundtable discussions wondering how this would affect his reputation, with one saying it would help him, and another saying the exact opposite.
Whenever someone has a perception of reality, someone else will have the exact opposite perception. This is fine, but when they both have a megaphone you don’t know whom to believe.
With many forms of media, especially blogs, depending on hyperbole and exaggeration, even the simplest and most meaningless discords are stretched out into death matches with no survivors. People are never simply ‘disagreed with” they are ‘beaten,” ‘ripped,” ‘eviscerated,” or ‘smashed.” Somehow Jon Stewart pointing out Fox News’ fallacies is enough to put the network out of all existence and make Rupert Murdoch cry.
And with constant watching for gaffes and missteps on all sides, the simplest assertions can easily be twisted into all-or-nothing declarations that turn people to desperate panicking.
For example, last week at a fundraiser, Obama talked about the future of health care reform. He said that it is up to Congress to decide whether it’s truly worthwhile to abandon the effort.
It’s not. This bill is a culmination of liberalism that started 10 years before my 90-year-old grandfather was born, and abandoning it at this point is suicide on all fronts but that’s another issue.
That’s really all he said. It was a rather positive message for liberals. After all, it was a fundraiser. But oh no. The bloggers of America decided to come on and predict the death of the Obama presidency and health reform. ‘Obama Admits Health Reform May Die!” read the headlines, because apparently acknowledging that failure is possible is enough to say that it will happen. With Democrats scrambling and Republicans showing off their whopping 18-seat minority, any positive message is necessary to calm down Democrats.
And if we actually followed what Obama said, liberals would have a healthier outlook.
According to a historical scholar, this hyperpartisan, dysfunctional 111th Congress has accomplished more progressive goals in 2009 than any Congress since the 89th Congress, the legislature that created the Voting Rights Act and LBJ’s Great Society. That is a lot to be proud of a lot.
Now, the FDA even regulates tobacco. Back in the 1980s, the FDA wouldn’t touch tobacco.
And yet, you have people online saying that this Congress has accomplished nothing, and that Democrats cannot do anything right. Which is it? It can’t be both. With such conflicting messages, and any ditz-brain with a computer able to say anything, you start to feel like nothing in Washington can be figured out even with all the supposed transparency everyone talks about.
And if you’re a political junkie like I am, it can create immense amounts of stress.
Dawidowicz is a member of
the class of 2012.