HE HAD A SENSE OF HUMOR
By James Turnage
The legend tells us that when God created man, namely Adam and Eve, he forbid them only one thing, to eat the apple from a single tree. There was nothing else that they could not have. As the fable continues, it tells us Adam, at the urging of Eve, ate the apple, believing he, himself would become a God. Wrong! They were banished from the Garden of Eden, and forced to toil for their existence, for whatever they needed. Nothing would be given to them again.
Why did he make the decision to do that one forbidden thing, to risk losing everything he was given. One simple reason, he let emotion control his thought process. Mr. Spock would have been appalled.
Intelligent men and women have long known that emotions are our greatest weakness. Emotions erase logic, and cognitive thought. Emotions destroy us, they help to create radical actions, whose consequences are most often long lasting, and sometimes fatal. Pride, envy, fear, doubt, and anger eliminate common sense, logical thinking, and education.
Emotions are at the core of many wrongs in the United States of America. I remember “13 Days in October”, when every day we had bomb drills, believing that if we hid under our desks, we would be safe. We were made to be afraid. Instead of educating everyone about the reality of a nuclear attack, we were given false hopes, which only created more fear. September 11, 2001 was used by our government to create so much fear, that they could tell us anything, and we would believe it. If emotion was not in control of the weaker minds in this country, there would have been no Iraq invasion. Bush won a second term for only one reason. Rove and Cheney created fear in the hearts of a great many Americans, by convincing them that a change in administration would result in another attack on American soil.
And here we are, in another presidential election year. Negative campaigns by both sides are attempting to convince the voting public that their opponent is a liar, a failure, and will further destroy our already diminishing quality of life. It’s working. Even in a family gathering, politics cannot be discussed, without anger enveloping the situation. Anger is created from fear, and fear is the strongest emotion of all.
I grew up post WWII. Politics was always a favorite discussion among my family. Several of my uncles had returned from the war, and our country was in complete upheaval. Unemployment was high, jobs were scarce, and uncertainty surrounded it all. The emotion that was missing, was anger. Solutions were at the core of discussion. My family, their friends and neighbors, all joined together to mend our country. War had taken its toll. Loved ones were lost, staples had been rationed, and the challenge of moving to a peacetime economy from a wartime economy seemed insurmountable.
Today we are not far from the problems of 60+ years ago. We need real leadership, leadership that will tell us what policies they plan to enact if elected now, not after they are in office. I hear nothing but negativity. I haven’t heard one thing that tells me either candidate actually has a program written on a single sheet of paper, that provides solutions for our many problems.
I grew up a political young man. Now the word politics disgusts me. We don’t need politicians, we need good and honest men and women who sincerely want to do the right thing for everyone, not only for themselves, and their supporters.
Solutions to end the use of emotion to move the American people to act in a controlled way would take courage. The elimination of unlimited campaign contributions is at the core of it all. Eighty percent of voters, vote one way or another because of what they see and hear on television. Radical networks, and campaign ads that are often complete falsehoods, and are allowed to portray candidates in any way they wish, true or false. Enough money will be spent on the 2012 presidential campaigns that will equal the funding necessary to support unemployment compensation and health care for most Americans for years to come. Putting a limited time frame on political campaigns, term limits on all of our legislatures, and eliminating the free ride given to congressmen and senators, i.e. pay, and benefits, might begin a process re-creating an effective and working government.
I often wonder why I think it’s so important to vote. Given the fact that the electoral college often makes my vote useless, I sometimes think I’m wasting my time. The answer lies in the fact that I grew up in this country. Hope has often been the only thing I’ve had. But hope is only another emotion.