Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hard Choices, Thoughtful Decisions

I was born in the final months of the Eisenhower administration and I have a great deal of respect for his accomplishments during the Second World War and afterward. However, that does not mean that I would like to see a return to the deportation policies or the tax rates of the Eisenhower era.

Politics often frustrate me.  When I hear politicians or elected officials support policies which are based on either bad economics, bad psychology or both, I worry about future of our country and planet. That future is important enough that I have decided to comment more on political issues than I have in the past.

I agree with those who claim that there is a bias in the media. There are examples of extremely biased news on both the left and the right. The most consistent bias is the preference for sensationalism. Every medium wants to enhance their ratings and the most unusual, most radical, most provocative statements are the ones that bring in viewers.

This bias is most unfortunate during the election cycle because it reduces the conversation to the lowest level and tends to boost the popularity of the most outrageous candidates. The bravado that sounds good in a debate or a news sound bite, does not serve us well in working through difficult social issues in our own country or with our neighbors.

One of the best ways to move beyond the hype cycle is to read the books that have been written by the candidates. These books, whether biographical or prescriptive, provide a much greater insight into the decision making process that will be used in forging future policies.

My reading for this week is Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices. Focusing on her years as Secretary of State, Hard Choices is great review of recent world history and a wonderful lesson in what you can accomplish when your goal is to tear down walls rather than build walls.

You might also like:

The Curse of the Visionary
The Paradox of Certainty
Adam Curtis at the True False Film Festival