After hearing about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband in his home, I think all of us, and especially the politicians need to step back and think about what they are doing to the temperature in the room. This recent period of hyper politics has been with us since the ascent of Newt Gingrich to the Speaker of the House in the Clinton years. It has only gotten worse. We are tearing the country apart with our elevation of politics to a blood sport.
The debates and conversations are rarely about ideas and most often rooted in cultural war issues. What a shame. We need ideas and the best thinking to tackle our problems. If anything, the culture wars are an issue in themselves. What a waste of time and energy, but it does rev up the bases. I don’t see a lot of thinking going on, just people repeating insults, slogans, cheap shots, and mostly words not worth the effort to say them.
If I remember back to my adolescence in the 60s, our culture was changing big time from the culture my parents grew up in. I think the same could be said about the period they grew up in pre WWII and during the War, not to mention the country they returned to from the War, and experienced in the 50s. I do not remember my parents or my grandparents fighting useless culture war fights. There were some good fights during this time for civil rights and the tragedy of Vietnam. Yes, my parents scratched their heads sometimes and found changes hard to accept or adjust to, but they seemed to know what were the good fights worth fighting. Most of what is tearing us apart today is not the good fights worth fighting.
Recently, I have come out of a short lived retirement to go back to teaching. I have always worked in a school setting with our teenage population. I see young adults trying to make sense of what is happening in the world and trying to prepare themselves for a future. It is up to us to make sure they get a chance at a future. Yes, these young adults are growing up in a very visual world and they are being flooded with information. The crucial skills seem to be critical thinking, problem solving, reading to understand, transferable skills, and developing filters for the flood of information that is useless and intended to push an agenda.
If I were to suggest a priority, it would be to be to learn to filter the noise makers out. Learn who and what to trust. Education will change, it has changed greatly since I was in high school, but the need to learn how and what to trust is the starting point. Good things will happen when we learn what is really trustworthy and to filter out the malarky (there’s a word from my youth – maybe it needs to come back into vogue – lol).