Tuesday’s Quotes #25 – Especially true in our sound-bite world…

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

— John F. Kennedy

I’ve been increasingly dismayed at how many people espouse extremely strong positions based on something akin to ether. In conversation, it often becomes obvious that those strongly held opinions are at odds with what the speaker really thinks about the topic. Although this phenomena is certainly not new – the desire to follow a path laid by others is innate to us humans because joining together is how we survive – but our world has become more crowded with information, accurate or not, and everyone’s opinions (even mine – isn’t that the point of this blog?), that we frequently do not take the time to think the things that we are hearing through. Ironic that in the information age, many of us seem reluctant to look into a claim before we allow ourselves to react, or before we help to spread it via social media. I’ve even seen things posted by people who I know would never have shared an article had they read it – because the article itself was opposition to the headline. And these are not isolated incidents, not are they limited to individuals of any one political persuasion (or even nationality), or any particular age group. The spanning of generations reinforces my own, anecdotally based, opinion that this is not an educational issue, or a matter of upbringing. I think it is a by-product of having too much available to take in – it is just easier to let someone else tell us what the truth is than to reason it out for ourselves.

So, I’m taking this opportunity, once again, to share the 10 Commandments of Logic:

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JFK photo from insidegov.com

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Bonus quote – Niels Bohr

Once again, there seems to be much to discuss in the news, but between my daughter’s college graduation this weekend, and my #1000Speak blog post-in-progress for the 20th, I’m choosing to push that aside, again, for now. Next weekend is a holiday weekend, which will give me lots of time for catching up…

Instead – feel free to ponder this quote from Niels Bohr:

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

Photo courtesy of Gettyimages

Commuting thoughts

We Didn’t Start the Fire. Nope. But we’re still trying to put it out. But we can’t expect to – it’s been burning much longer than us baby-boomers have been around, and it will almost certainly keep burning long after we’re gone.

There is just so much boomer history crammed into this song. Heard it on my drive into work this morning & it stuck in my head most of the day. I had other rambling thoughts about time vs distance, and the high-speed/heavy-traffic approach to driving in the megalopolis that is the Boston to DC corridor. And how, or if, that played into other differences between people born and raised in the northeastern US, and those born and raised in other parts of the country. And why is it that traffic always flows fine at these speeds, except when some poor soul from out of the area thinks speed limits have meaning.

In short, my usual semi-coherent thoughts while driving.

Tuesday’s Quotes #24 – Invisible Government

“Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Oh my. Words of warning from our, 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, over 100 years ago, and still disturbingly true.

This is not a Republican v Democrat issue (although, the Republicans do stand out for including the intent to continue the fight for unfettered political donations in their 2012 National Platform – and bankrolling the McCutcheon case all the way to the Supreme Court). It is not a Conservative v Liberal issue (and the so-called Libertarians are just as guilty). It is an issue that we the people must recognize as critical to our survival as a Democratic Republic. Curbing the donations to, and spending on, political campaigns must be addressed in order for anything else to be addressed. When potential candidates spend most of their time courting the wealthy donors, by saying the words those donors want to hear at functions that can only be considered auditions, we have become a democracy in name only.

Money needs to come out of politics. Until it does, our legislature will continue down the inaction path it has been on, and our infrastructure will continue to crumble.

Campaign contributions are not free speech. Big spenders do not have more of a right to be heard than the rest of the population.

Image of Theodore Roosevelt was borrowed from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all of my friends, family, and extended family – mothers or nurturing fathers, and everyone who has helped guide someone younger than yourself, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, and leave you with this thought on motherhood from Oprah Winfrey:

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.”