The 30,000 Foot View

Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” For years my company managers heard me say this quite often: “Just skip the ‘stuff’’ and give me the executive summary.” Both pretty much mean the same thing. And just in case you don’t understand either of these, let’s make it easy: Often we get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of what we’re doing that all of our attention is given to JUST what we’re doing at the moment and not what the overall picture is supposed to look like. For that reason, it’s often better to occasionally back away from the detail to make certain to see or imagine what the final result is to be.

So it is when we look at something from 30,000 feet in the air rather than from ground level. Stand on a street in Durango, Colorado and you are simply standing on the street of a small town in southwest Colorado. Fly over that same street at 30,000 feet in altitude and look out the plane window, you’ll see you’re above the Rockies. That street in Durango is still there, but it’s just a blip on the map you are looking at. Both are true, but each has different perspectives.

The picture at the top of this story is of Beirut, Lebanon was taken from a  jet. Imagine how different Beirut looks from a downtown street than from looking at it from a plane.

So which view are you using today to look-in on the American political world? If we’re honest with our answer to that question, most of us will answer, “I can’t see the forest for the trees.” And today’s American political “forest” is pretty nasty.

Perspective

Would you like to change your perspective? Honestly, it’s probably driving you crazy. I’ve asked hundreds of times in the last decade or so why we cannot easily discern the truth about our political landscape. We certainly don’t hear the truth about it from politicians, political pundits, or the media. Everything THEY say is skewed from their political perspective and their political agenda.

Remember Bill Clinton and his response during his impeachment process when under oath he answered a question by saying, “It depends on what your definition of the word ‘is’ is!” How are we to know today’s political truths so as to shape OUR perspectives to prepare us for whatever changes we should and could make going forward? We’re a year and a half away from elections for Congress and the presidency, and there are already 20 Democrat candidates announced to run. Talk about noise and confusion! Not only are our perspectives flavored by what we hear those candidates say about their ideas and plans, but the media also takes those ideas and puts their spin on them to filter for Americans who watch, read, and listen. Political perspectives are certainly problematic for the process of voters making educated choices. How can we shape our perspectives based only on facts? That’s a really hard one, but it’s one that we MUST find a way to implement.

Facts

The foundation of shaping a factual perspective is to find facts. Contrary to what today’s media wants you to believe, there are NOT different versions of the truth of any issue, political position, statistic, or policy. Each is absolute. Our problem in getting facts is the methodologies used in today’s politics in distributing facts. Why so?

Newspapers sell newspapers. Radio and television shows sell 30 and 60-second ads. Their goal is readers, subscribers, and viewers. Facts are secondary (at best) to the media!

How do we make certain we really get the facts? In reality, we may not get all the facts from our current politicians and candidates for future office. But if WE are honest and if WE are diligent, there are ways to find MUCH of the facts. And we can ferret those out minus the filter of bias that engulfs ALL of what we see, hear, and read about them from the media. How?

  • Read. Reading is almost a lost art. The internet and electronics have just about destroyed it. Baby-Boomers grew up in an environment that encouraged reading to obtain information. We had no other option. Unfortunately for finding facts, we must sort through the noise, and reading gives us the best vehicle for doing so. Get your hands on as much of the writings available directly from the candidate or politician you are looking into. That’s possible using today’s media vehicles. Look for quotes. Search for legislation for which they have expressed their support or have written themselves. Find some of their historical writings and/or speeches. Getting it from the horse’s mouth is the only way to find the truth.
  • YouTube. I think it is asinine for today’s politicians to say one thing or take a controversial position on a matter when many know they’ve previously expressed the exact opposite. It’s as if they have forgotten in this YouTube generation, everything is on video. It may take some time, but use your search engine to look for their writings and speeches. Again, getting it from the horse’s mouth is the best way to know for certain what they say is where they stand OR if they’ve changed positions on a matter. And then find out why and when they made those changes. Examples: Bill and Hillary Clinton years ago called themselves Pro-Life. They changed. Barack and Michelle Obama AND the Clintons were all against same-sex marriage. Now they support it. How do I know that? YouTube!
  • Interviews. It will be tough and require careful timing, but we all should certainly be willing to find and watch or listen to as many interviews as possible for as many candidates as possible who are running in 2020. Unfortunately, the liberal media outlets have proven again and again they have an intense bias for conservative candidates while being “in the tank” for Democrats who are running. But watch and listen — not so much to the interviewers as you do how candidates respond and the content of what they say. Make some notes, especially when something they say gives rise to another question you may have for them.  Because there are so many candidates already that have declared for a presidential run in 2020, you will have ample opportunity to examine their answers on specific positions that interest you. Start early: soon they’ll start dropping out like flies. That in itself will open the door for new questions. Typically, the closer we get to nomination time, candidates began to firm their positions. Comparing policies closer to conventions with those candidates hold today will tell you something about their character.
  • Town-Halls and Debates. This is going to be an even more contentious season of Town-Hall meetings and candidate debates. Candidates will find it more and more necessary to begin to harden on their stances on controversial issues like Pro-Choice/Right-to-Life, Same-Sex Marriage, Immigration, Healthcare, taxes, First and Second Amendments, and even more. They will do this when it becomes more and more necessary to showcase the reasons why they would for voters be a better choice for each office than would their opponents. Town-Halls are typically better at garnering facts because they are usually more inclusive of audience members and questions and answers are more in number and allow more follow-up after the candidates respond to questions. This season will be much more difficult to watch regarding these public displays, but buckle down and stick in there because seeing and hearing what they say checked against details of their policy positions that are already in the public domain will be very important.
  • Endorsements. This is always a tough one. It’s tougher now because of the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the “Citizen’s United” case. It pretty much allows unlimited financial contributions to PACs and SuperPACS. It’s impossible to know who in total have made campaign donations to any candidate because these organizations are not required to identify contributors as the candidate’s campaigns must. But the telltale sign of some of those contributors is endorsements. Two examples are the NRA and Planned Parenthood. Each organization has specific political agendas that are extremely controversial: the NRA private citizens’ gun rights and Planned Parenthood abortion rights. Checking endorsements for candidates from these and other organizations against their stated positions an be a sure signal of candidate’s truthfulness.
  • Speeches. One might think this is an unnecessary practice because candidates will almost always use the contents of speeches carefully so as not to raise alarms regarding policy conflicts. That is true MOST of the time. But often candidates find themselves caught up in the excitement of campaign rallies and giveaway certain ideas that just may conflict with their previously stated policy positions. We’re often guilty of relying on the media to point to such conflicts for us. But as we’ve seen so many times, Leftist media are quick to give Democrat candidates passes on conflicts while slaughtering Republican candidates. They typically call GOP folks “Liars,” while covering for Democrat candidates for their “mistakes” in the conflicts they expose.

Summary

Wow! That sounds like a lot of stuff to do and keep track of. It is. And it is true that most Americans are not willing to pay the price to find facts and confirm those facts are real. Here’s what most of us do: we say “I’m too busy to watch that debate, listen to or read that speech, Google the position on taxes and healthcare that they promoted when they ran for state office and see if they’ve changed. I’ll just wait until tomorrow morning and catch the analysis on CNN, MSNBC, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or FOX News.”

That’s the REAL danger! Answer this: why are so many Generation Z members so open to socialism and so against capitalism? It’s because they’re going to high schools and universities who most of their teachers and professors are hardcore Liberals from the 60s and 70s. Those educators hated conservatism and despised capitalism then and demonstrated for socialist and even communist causes. What do you think they are going to teach our kids but their own ideas?

Here’s the scary part of the above scenario: these educators know that these kids were raised in a freer environment than did Baby-Boomers. They abhor personal accountability and responsibilities. Their parents were and are enablers. These students are sponges and therefore subject to what they are exposed to for the duration of their formative years. Those kids get all their information from 24/7 electronic news, the internet, and cable television. For the most part, most of the information and “news” disseminated to them comes from news anchors and reporters who are the same 60s and 70s people as are those teachers and professors! 

So how do we spend most of our time at the 30,000-foot level and get all this information we need to absorb that’s at ground level?

We can get just as absorbed and distracted at 30,000 feet as we do on the ground in the middle of everything. To ferret out the facts we need, let’s face it: we MUST engage. But we must do so without letting the “noise” at ground level drown out the realities and truth that we find there.

Organization and planning are the keys. I know, I know: we too can get caught up in electronics, in “instant news,” and in letting social media shape our political positions. We’re NOT saying we cannot take advantage of those to “assist” us. But we must use them as nothing more than “A” tool rather than “THE” source of our information. Use them to confirm what we have learned.

Honestly, it is much easier for conservatives to simply listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, Tucker, and FOX News for information. On the most part, they do give out conservative info. But I don’t agree with everything THEY say. I DO agree with certain things I see and hear from MSNBC, CNN, Rachel Maddox, and Chris Matthews — granted, it’s not much though!

It ‘s unbelievably important for us to find facts and use every resource we have to do so. And we cannot always verify that every “fact” we surmise is really true. But I promise, if we truly investigate objectively and organize our doing so, we can then form objective opinions based on facts rather than emotions.

Remember this: there are many people around the World who still believe the world is flat! How is that possible? I’ve actually flown around the world, and it really is round! But everyone has done that. We form our “facts” based on our own experiences. And doing so is the ONLY WAY WE CAN KNOW FOR SURE.

I guarantee you that November 2020 election results need to be based on facts of policies. If results are based on emotion and “maybes,” we may find ourselves soon speaking in Chinese.


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