Let’s Be Honest, America 2016 pt. 3: The Telephone Game, a.k.a. When Blind Faith Fails

An apology to those of you who speak to God daily:  this has nothing to do with your religious beliefs.  While I know there is a God, I also know that everyone has their own journey for a reason, and sometimes the belief has to stem from that journey.  It’s not my place to say, “God’s right Here!” – but it’s also not my place to say anyone’s wrong in their beliefs, either.

While it’s not my place to help anyone find an afterlife, I have every reason to be concerned about the current life we live – unfortunately, that means arguing with people who’ve become as fanatical in their political beliefs as they are in their religion.  This becomes extremely important as the politicians are equally, if not more, crazy and fanatical.  Again, the access to knowledge at our fingertips and the amount of information produced every second, minute, hour and day makes it difficult to imagine and sift through what is real and what isn’t.  Unfortunately, it makes it easy for those who realize how to use this knowledge to sway and manipulate knowledge to sway and manipulate the public -to what could be a disastrous result.

Most of us should be familiar with the telephone game:The first person whispers something to the second person, the second person whispers it to the third person, the third person whispers it to the fourth person, etc.  By the time you get it, what the original message was is forgotten – and usually what’s left is entertaining to compare.

Imagine a few people, with the money and resources to pay a few groups of “First people” a buttload of money to spread information.  Those people, powered by the internet to search and publish, research and twist, spread it to a few other people – not just through web pages, but at gatherings and meetings, on the radio and television, in the movies.  They spread it to a few more resourceful people, who spread it in similar ways.

Now imagine that first group being paid two things:  first, to spread said information with little “truthstones” (some facts plus some manufactured stuff) to lend credence to the story, and second, to cover their link to the original employer and source.

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  You’d think someone would be getting unhappy about a part of this and upending this scheme on everyone, but there’s a few ways around this:  Employ people who don’t need the money, who can pass for ordinary people like us, and who are equally fanatical about how this country should be run.

Some of us can find hintings of this, and can believe that one group could do this – but could all of our politics?

On one side, look at the stuff they’ve published, usually funded by their supporters but hitting theaters in parts of America where only the most popular films hit when they do.  (The other side, sadly, doesn’t have the grip on the media the party would have you believe.)  They won a few important cases, allowing them to manufacture and twist the news, allowing for outside groups funded by the manipulators to fundraise and air ads and information attacking the opposing party, etc.  The first amendment never said anything about the information being spread to be accurate, and while minor laws might punish the ordinary citizen, they’re mere mosquitos to the manipulators of that side.

On the other side, they do the exact same thing – they just try doing it more stealthly.  People often have to fight to get the truth from them, often resorting to illegal methods to do it, in doing so making the any truth obtained as murky as the lies both sides spread.  The same films are made, the same things happen on TV and in the Newspaper – same game, different players.

It’s easy to spell out how evil Trump is, and how horrible he’d be for the country – just as easy as it is to spell out how crooked Hillary is and how she belongs in jail.  Some of it is created by themselves, as they both tend to say questionable things (not always intentionally) that raises the ire of others.

A lot of it, however, is sadly the grown up version of the “telephone” game.

The things I believe aren’t based on what the opposition says.  I don’t need Trump telling me how evil Hillary is or how many crimes his supporters believe she’s committed – I can observe her actions and speeches and see that there are things to question about her presidency.  Likewise, I don’t need Hillary supporters reminding me of Trump’s mistakes or what he says – he says and acts in such a way as to prove how dangerous his election would be.  I also see how their fans act, people like you and I – THOSE people I care about.

Benghazi?  Trump University?  Do you even question who started these talking points?  I’ll give you hint:  Most people running for a higher position don’t brag about the mistakes they’ve made.  (They may talk about it, but there’s a huge difference between talk and brag.)

Quit buying into the lies – quit sending money to these supergroups spreading them, quit feeding attention to the people sharing them.  If you can’t prove or disprove it on your own (ie without a neutral party), ignore it.  You can find more in the actions and words of people, and how they handle problems and threats, than you will by the lies and misinformation of others.

In the final chapter of this next week, I will dive into sources I’ve been relying on for information, and explain some of the specifics behind it.  I won’t lie that it’s biased – most people don’t get the luxury of starting from a neutral point, sadly.  (That’s what makes my argument today so important:  unlike the existence of an afterlife beyond the pages of a book, we can prove – and choose to believe – what information is created by humans.)  How we choose to process the information, however, is crucial to the decisions we make in November.

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