January 24th, 2012

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#505 – Dick Bernard: The “State of the Union”?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

This is posted BEFORE the actual State of the Union is presented by President Obama.

This [Tuesday] afternoon I sent my own mailing list a reminder of President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address this evening. The subject line read: “What would you ask President Obama?”

A friend, who I think would answer to “Leftie”, shot back: “How do you [Obama] expect to regain all of the voters you have lost since 08, either by breaking promises (closing Guantanamo) or failing to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? (Yes, Iraq.)”

In response, I said “I’ll respond when you can give me the specifics of what Obama promised, and when. These have to be first person (his own specific quote) in context…you know what I mean.”

Volley: “No one I know saves his [Obama’s] quotes. That is a cop-out.”

Counter-volley: ” “Cop out”? You can do better than that. You’re the one who provided the allegation. Where’s the beef?”

Of course, this business of standing firmly on belief or assertion is not one-sided, not at all.

Yesterday, or was it the day before, a coffee friend related about the endless “forwards” his right-wing uncle dutifully sends him. A recent one was so obviously false that even the uncle said he’d checked Snopes, and yes, it was false. But it must have been one uncle really liked, so he sent it on anyway.

Uncle apparently liked the made up version of “truth”.

Earlier this afternoon I happened to be in my coffee shop sitting next to the editor of the local on-line Patch publication. Patch is a burgeoning national alternative media, a creation purchased by AOL in 2010 and developed by them.

About a year later, AOL and on-line publication Huffington Post merged.

The local Patch editor observed that he gets complaints (with no basis in fact) that Patch must be left-wing – that Arianna Huffington herself is setting editorial policy for the local on-line publication.

On the other ideological pole, when the Huffington-AOL merger happened, I can remember a flurry of communications from the left, complaining that Huffington had literally sold out to the right….

(NOTE: I didn’t know this history till I started to do this column.)

There is a caution in noting these alternative realities: we seem to be a nation full of manufactured realities – our own fantasies of what is ‘truth’. It makes no difference what side of ideological spectrum one occupies, or even in the middle, we seem satisfied to delude ourselves. For what I hope are obvious reasons, this delusion is very dangerous behavior.

I’ll watch SOTU with great interest tonight, and tomorrow there will be endless translations of it, according to individual points of view.

And I’m still interested in that exact quote of the President which begins this post….

Now to the State of the Union address.