Angst and awakening

This post is extremely personal in nature. Those who engage in political dialogue with me know I occasionally am overwhelmed with angst for my country and its future.

I know and hold dear a large number of persons who solely depend on Fox News and folks like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity for news and political analysis.

To my chagrin, these people, having been indoctrinated for years to distrust alternative sources, absolutely refuse to read or listen to facts.

Hence, the one person in the world I would expect to read my blog and take pride in my efforts has made it clear there is no intention of doing so.

This is a blow to a journalist who fully documents every link-laden post.

I struggle every day to get at truth – to “peel away layers of obfuscation” as a magazine commercial puts it. I pursue truth, not to prove a point or validate my views, but because such pursuit is my obligation and my privilege as a citizen of a free society.

People closest to me have turned hostile and left me incommunicado - for no other reason than the difference in our protected political beliefs.

How can a nation be healed when a large cadre of right-wing broadcasters are telling adherents that, for love of country, they must distrust and despise their fellow Americans?

Fox News hammers this distrust home to its “fans.” Any evidence to the contrary, facts are rejected as fabrication – no matter how credible and venerable the source.

I had the good fortune recently to watch Bill Moyers’ return to PBS – a 90-minute special about media shortcomings in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. What Moyers presented came directly from the mouths of media representatives themselves, freely admitting failures.

Bill O’Reilly immediately attacked, calling Moyers a member of “the far-left fringe,” words which forment fear in his “Factor” fans. This man’s documented lies are legend, yet he tells viewers who they should or should not believe.

Nothing in my journalism education, training or work prepared me for persons who reject facts.

I wrestle with all this constantly – this malaise of the heart – and turn for comfort to the words of an old poem.

The poet is Rabindranath Tagore of India, Nobel Laureate in Literature for 1913.

Here is Tagore’s poem in its English translation:

Where the Mind is without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by Thee
Into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, Let my country awake!


airth10 said...

I was thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to read an article about how shabbily the media treated the Democrats, especially after 9/11, parroting the Republican position that they were the party of has-beens and do nothing politicians who had no new ideas. And to enhance their points about the Democrats, Republican used character assassination and other tactics, which the press was also happy to repeat and reinforce.

Since there has been a lot of soul searching and discussion about the role of the media and how it didn't question enough the Iraq war, I think this would make an interesting topic. Moreover, any ideas the Democrats did come up with about the war on terror were immediately shot down and trashed by Republicans, which the media in general was also happy to repeat.

Unfortunately we can never expect Fox News to do any soul searching even though the reverse is true, that the Republicans are the party of no new ideas and of stale thinking.

Anonymous said...

I loved it! The poem is wonderful. I feel the same. I hadn't really put it all together as well as you did. I immediately recognize the lack of some people's ability to accept facts. They always have to some degree, but lately it's a pandemic of enormous proportions. It's like National Schizophrenia. Everyone is suffering from acute delusions.

Keep Strong. Falzone for Amerrica

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear me! Just when I'd emailed a friend and told her:

>>No need to pray for a while. Jerry Falwell is going to be so busy straightening out God for creating gays, lesbians, sex, feminists, liberals, that antichrist male Jew, and instructing God in the literal
interpretation of the Bible's inerrant word of God, etc., that God isn't going to have time to listen to us. Pat Robertson will be the first to hear from God, appear on his own 700 Club, then on Bill O'Rielly's "FOX Factor" to announce:

Jerry got God molded into the Religious Right's image. Not only is that a "Fox Factor"; "That's a Memo!" <<

Then I come on and read this blog that's quoting Tagore's beautiful invocation for " freedom... knowledge...words of truth...clear stream of reason...thought and action...," and I bowed my head and heart as I, too, intoned,
"Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father, Let my country awake!"

Dead Pan Jan revived again!