Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn
One of those items is the manner in which we approach the information we receive, and how we share it.
While there is nothing wrong with being passionate, there is something wrong with being passionately wrong, and not acknowledging it, or spreading the errors further.
There is a scripture in the Bible that says, “You have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”
It is important to have passion, for it drives us to change things.
However, we should make sure that our passion is not fueled by error, untruth, or half-truths, which are the things the media loves to provide us with.
While mistakes may always happen during an election season, this past presidential election season was full of errors and half-truths that the media shared abundantly, inciting serious amounts of passion.
As a result, I actually heard people say some college campuses had set up rooms where students could go to get “help” after Donald Trump had won the presidential election.
In my opinion, the only reason that could even be remotely possible is that the outcome of the election created such angst among people, that folks really bought into the notion that his presidency was going to be completely detrimental to them.
However, if you asked them what he’d said or done to make them think that, they would likely be either hard pressed to answer, or to go into details regarding their concerns.
The point is, without stepping back and questioning the information they received, those people had become vulnerable to the half-truths they’d been fed, causing them to, “jump on the bandwagon,” without knowing why.
It’s similar to the scene in the movie, “Forrest Gump,” where Forrest just starts running, and many people join him, without knowing why.
However, one day he just stops.
And, it startles those who’d joined him, because they had no reason to start running the first place.
Then, they were just bewildered and lost, because he stopped.
Similarly to the scene in the movie, the media tends to shapes things in a certain way to support their agenda, which sometimes incites passion in people, even if it is not true.
I am NOT saying that Donald Trump is as pure as the driven snow.
But, what I am saying is that, much of what he has been accused of has been unwarranted.
People will always have disagreements; however, in a democracy, one should always be allowed to disagree without fear of retribution.
Still, when passions run high, and without a solid foundation to stand on, people will soon begin to act illogically.
Rochester’s mayoral race will also be coming up soon.
I encourage you to pay close attention to the information you may receive relative to the candidates who are running.
Whenever you read or hear something about them, take the time to see if it is actually true, and try to understand the context in which it has been stated.
Then, depending on your personal point of view, you will be able to decide whether or not to support or oppose each candidate, without tearing them down.
We can’t wait for the politicians to clean up politics.
It is something we must do ourselves, as a community.
Yes, since politicians are people, they will do or say things that are wrong sometimes.
However, we should determine what that means to us, as voters, and whether or not certain politicians should ultimately get our support.
We must determine how we will react to the news we receive, and how to direct our passion.
I recommend we do it in a constructive way that’s built on knowledge, rather than on information which has been shared with us just to stoke fires, and to keep divisions going.
This is a new approach; maybe we can try it this year!
If you would like to contact me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.