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Keep It Simple, Stupid

October 23 2020 (316 words)

Okay, so now it’s come to this: As one exits the northbound New Jersey Turnpike, where the Lincoln Tunnel leads into midtown Manhattan, there is a massive billboard dramatically lit against the dark, pre-dawn sky that reads simply:

Trump – Pence
Law & Order
Vote Tues, Nov 3

This implies anyone casting a ballot for the other major party ticket must favor anarchy and chaos. The message makes no sense, but it does have a visceral appeal.

It’s interesting how we here in the United States take such pride in our reason and our collective commitment to the rule of law, yet we allow so much of the public discourse to be driven by raw emotion.

And speaking of reason and the rule of law, it’s an article of faith a healthy democracy requires an informed citizenry. Since we live in an unrivaled age of information, our democracy should be in tip-top shape. But it doesn’t feel that way to me.

Having the right tools for the job is an absolute pre-requisite to getting anything done. But those tools must be utilized in a way that will accomplish the desired objective.

In our case it is a free press, broadly defined as an open exchange of ideas throughout all strata of society, which is supposed to enable everyone to gradually become better informed.

But this sort of ongoing mentoring is hard work. And it often yields no tangible economic result for the individual or organization that agrees to undertake the chore.

Since we have succumbed to a society-wide pre-occupation with getting ahead, the idea of trying to improve the population’s general level of understanding has taken a back seat to making money.

Why bother educating the common rabble for their own edification, when it is far easier and much more profitable to manipulate their basic instincts into buying whatever it is you are trying to sell?

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
October 23, 2020

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