The Pen is…

MArine 1 Leaving White House

Old Cold War Joke:

American citizen: The reason it’s great to be an American is that I can make fun of my president and write bad things about my government all day long and there’ll be no repercussions.

USSR comrade: Oh, it is the same here in the Soviet Union.

American: Really?

USSRian: Of course.  I can make fun of your president and write bad things about your government all day long and there will be absolutely zero repercussions.

Hahaha… Uhm, actually, it doesn’t seem funny any more.

Journalists in Russia these days have to be very carefully pro-Putin.  It seems anyone who publicly disagrees with him somehow has something bad happen.  The Russians seem to want to make that point so bad that they even once left a trail of radioactivity through London to kill one man (see here).  Funny thing, when Fox News recently characterized Putin as a killer, Russia demanded (is demanding) an apology.

OK, Putin is bad.  We all know that.  So that makes the joke still relevant, right?

The media in the US is under attack.    Alternate facts have become a huge deal.  The thing that is bad is that this Administration lies about things that have no importance!  Why does crowd size matter?  Nobody would have talked about crowd size if the Administration wouldn’t have brought it up!  And then there are things like the Bowling Green Massacre and all of those terrorist attacks that the media doesn’t talk about.  Can you say fear-mongering?  I knew you could.

I never, ever write overtly political stuff on my blog, but, to tell you the truth, I am both mad and frightened.  I’ll let you research it on your own, but look up and read everything you can about Steve Bannon (start with Wikipedia here).  He has been given unprecedented amount of power.  Remember, this is a person who has spent a big chunk of his adult life pushing out extreme right (often to white nationalist and neo-Nazi) propaganda (he doesn’t deny this, only that he himself isn’t part of the “alt-right”).  If this doesn’t scare you much more than the 1-in-3.6-billion chance of being killed by a Muslim refugee in America, then there is something wrong.  OK, the insurance underwriters (people who make or lose money off of it) give it a 1 in 20 million chance for being killed by any type of terrorist activity.  (Here are some stats for some of this).  Many analysts feel much of the policy coming out of the White House is coming directly from him, which explains the latest Saturday Night Live spoof (Bannon as the grim reaper controlling Trump).

I want to write more but there are a few things.  The first, I don’t have time to fact check everything.  How can I write about misinformation if I don’t triple verify my sources without becoming a hypocrite?  I can’t and I don’t have time to fact check.  I have also noticed that a lot of the big issues are not as black and white as I thought before I started doing research.  To be fair, I’d have to at least acknowledge the other point of view (I know, so few people do), but that would be even more time.  And then there is the fact that I do not do political posts.  Ever.  OK, almost never.

Freedom of speech and a free and independent press to me are some of the greatest things about this country.  Yes, I am a huge First Amendment fan.  Look at history and how many things our press turned up that has helped us normal people.  From automobile safety (about every safety feature on your car, from seat belts on up, are a result of the press) to the health issues with smoking, the press has been there.  They discovered Watergate and uncovered  every scandal you’ve heard of (which should be obvious).  It is the sacred duty of journalists to keep the government honest and report to us when they aren’t. Soldiers may be what has kept us free from those attacking our soil, but the press is what has saved us from tyranny and oppression, from both our own government and from industry.

If you love your freedom, thank a journalist.

So when we see these attacks against journalists we need to ask ourselves why they are being vilified.  What is being hidden?  And then we need to remember that old cold war joke.  The great thing about being an American is that I can make fun of my president and write bad things about my government all day long and there’ll be no repercussions.

Let’s hope it stays that way.

— — — — —

I do not put up political posts, I hate putting up political posts, I do not want to put up political posts, but I will not apologize for putting up this political post.

disclaimer – I have friends who are or were journalists at many different levels.  I know their integrity.  When somebody calls them the lowest of the low, I take it personally.  But since it is exactly those journalists that protect our freedoms, I believe we should all take it personally.

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7 thoughts on “The Pen is…

  1. Britta

    I always worry when I venture into the realm of politics on my blog (which has only been a few times, really) that I’m missing something. None of these issues are as black and white as they first appear and, like you, I don’t have time to fact check everything I write about (I suppose I am also a much more big picture person as well, so fact checking all the details isn’t something Im particularly interested in, either). Lots of good commentary here, though, Trent. We are certainly living in some uncertain times. I frequently experience an internal battle of not wanting to bring politics up in the blogosphere, but also recognizing that my blog is a place where I have the power to post what I want…and sometimes that means joining the conversation about what’s happening in the world and in our country right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      If the title wasn’t a clue, it was after reading and commenting on your post that I decided I needed to write this, so thanks :) And pretty much what you wrote here as a comment here I could have used as a comment someplace since that’s very much how I think and feel. It’s just that this is such an extraordinary time in history that I have to push myself out of my comfort zone and say what I think.
      Earlier today I left the following comment on somebody’s blog, and I feel it can work here, “I think the future is going to have to belong to average folk who never dreamed of getting involved. We need to find our voices and make sure we are heard. It can’t be one voice tweeting his message from the Olympian heights of the White House and everyone bowing down to that voice, we need to raise up a chorus, though if not loud individually, together will sound loud and clear and powerful.”
      Anyway, back to my usual fiction and stuff for now, but I’m sure there will be more political ranting soon ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Robin

    I usually avoid political stuff on my blog too, but now that I’m angry and frightened, and now that politics are so pervasive in our everyday lives (some say that is a sign of an autocracy), it’s difficult to avoid. I’ve been trying hard to research all sides, and understand how time consuming that can be. I agree with you that are journalists are important. They are part of the checks and balances.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I know I’m not going to sway many people, but I’m hoping that having people like us who usually try to stay out of it get involved and put up posts like this is going to help keep our worst fears at bay.

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  3. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee in the Snow ( Feb, 2017) | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Bannon is very scary. I think some of the “comedy” shows have done a much better job at taking down the extreme right than any straight news source. It’s good to see SNL keeping up the pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

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