Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who Do You Trust?

I've been in a mini-debate with a cousin about political stuff. He's libertarian; I'm liberal. (I still love him anyway.) ;) During the course of our conversation (via FB) he asked about trust. Why do I trust a particular source I used to back up one of my arguments? That got me thinking. Why do we trust the news sources we trust? Then I ran across a comic that referenced trusting only one news source as a bad thing. That made me go "yeah, I can see that". I rely on more than one source for my news, which is something I'm proud of. I listen to NPR and watch CNN. I glance at the headlines in my local paper and read the op-ed section a few times a week. I read both the liberal and conservative columnists so I can see both points of view. (They do a "from the right", "from the left" thing in the paper.) I skim the headlines on Google, which draws from a variety of sources. I read articles as I "Stumble" across them on-line. I talk extensively with DH, who reads a number of political blogs. I catch Nightline once or twice a week. I occasionally take a look at the White House blog since I like to go right to the source. Oh, and of course, there's always Jon Stewart.

And I think about things. I think about whether or not the arguments the columnists use make sense or not. I think about spin. Can I see a hole in what is being said? Does it agree with what I already know about a given subject? What are they REALLY saying? I frequently find that I can find GAPING holes in the conservative arguments that leave their whole premise in shambles. Basic flaws in logic, usually. (Cal Thomas is bad for that; he doesn't even make any sense half the time.) Rhetoric and name calling, and I have to admit there are liberals and Democrats that do the same thing. (Thank you to Jon Stewart for calling them out on both sides of the aisle.)

As to spin, it's insidious and something to be watched for. I remember the first time I really became aware of spin and how crazy it sounded when you got down to it. It was during the 2000 elections when Gore was smeared by the conservatives as being "too smart". Elitist, out of touch, that kind of thing, but it boiled down to too smart. HELLO- don't we want someone smart to run the country? By casting our ballots and holding elections, we are basically acting as a company hiring a CEO. Would we hire a CEO who would be fun to drink a beer with at the local barbecue, or would we hire someone who is intelligent and knowledgeable and can get the job done if we wanted our company to succeed? Personally, I'm going for the smart guy.

As for my support for our president, that was sparked by one thing. I have children. I have children who have toys that were affected by the product recalls over lead paint. When Obama was in the US Senate he introduced a bill that would have put more safeguards in place to insure that lead tainted toys were kept out of our country in the future. The bill didn't pass, but he gained my respect. He wanted to stand up to the toy industry and protect MY children. He's had my support ever since, even in the primaries.

There's another thing I've come to hold as a basic marker for my decisions. Where does the issue stand in terms of "Big Business"? Because that's a whole group I certainly do NOT trust. From what I've seen over the course of my close to 50 odd years on this planet, Big Business would do anything to make a buck, even at the expense of my children, my health, even my very life. They endanger and cheat their own employees. They endanger and cheat the people that live in their communities. They rape our earth and destroy our environment. They make flawed products and then lie to get us to buy them anyway. They don't care about the suffering of the poor, of animals, of children. They buy off our politicians. I know this is not true of all companies, maybe not even a majority of them, but enough of them that it's scary. That's why I could never, never, never in a million years be a Libertarian. I don't have that kind of blind trust in Big Business. I do not in any way, shape, or form believe the "market" is strong enough to control the evil a large company can perpetuate against us all. I mean, has Toyota gone out of business over their faulty cars? Has BP gone out of business over the oil spill? All you have to do is watch "Erin Brokovitch" to know what I'm talking about. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT US, they only care about the bottom line and profit, profit, profit. I am a liberal because I am hoping for government regulations to protect us against the evils of large corporate entities. I am hoping for honest politicians who will stand up and say enough to the corporations, you will not let greed cause harm to anyone.

But that's enough soap-boxing for now; the kids have schoolwork to do and Girl Scouts will be here in just a couple of hours so I'm signing off to get back to my family managing.

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