Article by Michael D. Hume, M.S.
How You Play The Game Still Matters
by Michael D. Hume, M.S.
For most of my life, I’ve been a “live and let live” kinda guy. My politics were, well, non-existent. I could certainly see the points made by my liberal friends (a group which included pretty-much all of my friends), and I appreciated the compassion from which their positions seemed to originate. But as for me, I chose to devote my energy to my own walk with my Maker and leave political games to others.
This was a conscious choice. Way back in my Army days, I used to call myself a “card carrying apathist” in retort to the criticism of my buddies, who couldn’t understand why I didn’t get more into politics as an Army journalist. It just never was important to me.
In the past few years, I’ve come to see things a little differently. I still think politics is a second-order game that should not distract me (or anyone, really) from the pursuit of real meaning and Divine inspiration in life. But I no longer carry the apathist card… I have come to realize that I have to live in this world, and now that I’m a grandfather, I should probably grow up and make myself more aware of what’s going on out there. (I’m not fully convinced that’s true, but these days, I’m going with it.)
I have to say, it started when I found myself spending weeks at a time in Europe as a consultant and executive coach. My German being poor, I tended to spend what few leisure minutes I had watching the only English-language channel on my TV: CNN. And I was shocked to see the state of “journalism” that had evolved from my days in the profession. Objectivity – the watchword of the journalists of my generation – was gone. Few on-air media personalities even gave it a pretense. And when I got back to the U.S., I started tuning in more to the news and learning that the same evolution had taken place here – in spades.
I was being fed a steady diet of over-liberal faux journalism, and my hunger for objectivity made me question the motives of the liberal (“progressive”) complex I have come to refer to as the “Demediacrats.” When I was a journalist, you weren’t supposed to be cheerleading for either party, but to present both sides of the story fairly. If you were for or against a candidate or an issue, you scoured your copy to make sure your readers would never be able to tell. Suddenly, all I heard and read was vitriol against President Bush and his party, in the same places where you used to find something we called “journalism.” In fact, it now seems you can’t get to the highest levels of the media game without a clean slate of Democrat and progressive bona fides.
So I’m taking all this in, and it causes me to go back and do some research about America, our history, our laws, and our key institutions. Funny, the hunger for objectivity led me to dig deeper than my graduate study in public administration ever did… and I started to understand much more deeply the things I’d read and learned when I was studying for a Ph.D. I questioned things I’d not questioned before: why did these authors choose to do research in the areas in which they did? How did their personal motivations impact the conclusions they drew? Why did the liberal viewpoint find its way into print without fail, even when the work wasn’t as solid, while the conservative viewpoint struggled for air? Why did my professors choose the books they chose for me? What made my professors and my fellow students praise some authors, and eviscerate others who seemed to have turned in some solid work?
The one-sided Demediacrat cheerleading made me hungry for objective truth… that made me question some stuff I had accepted before… that made me study more deeply… and that led me to the conclusion that, contrary to what I was being told by a variety of institutions, America’s Founding Fathers were brilliant. They got it right. They set up a powerful system which has led to the greatest engine of strength, peace, justice, and prosperity the world has ever known, and which, while as imperfect as all nations in history, has been of great benefit to the entire world for generations.
In America, you can start a business when you couldn’t do it elsewhere. In America, when you’re poor, you still have a lifestyle many of the world’s oppressed people would consider wealthy. And in America, when you’re rich, you feel obliged to give something back to the society which afforded you so much opportunity. In America, as designed by the Founders, you can play the pursuit-of-happiness game with your life and liberty ensured; you might win, and you might lose, but you’ve got a fair game to play.
I still understand the compassion that drives my liberal friends. They want more people to do more for more people. They don’t want anyone to be able to lose the game. And while I disagree with their methods (getting a growing big government to control and mandate the compassion), I get where it all comes from. Personally, I think most collectivism starts with good intentions, leads to a big, out-of-control government, and ultimately ends up in authoritarianism that’s far worse than the things against which the collectivists originally campaigned. But in the early, compassion-driven stage, I do have a lot of empathy for my liberal friends.
But I still think you have to play a fair game. You can’t cheat. And I think subsuming key opinion-leading institutions (the media, government administration, academe, labor unions, even Hollywood) under only one side of the argument is cheating.
Wasn’t America better when we had an objective presentation of the facts and the people made up their own minds? Liberal friends, weren’t YOU better when you had to present a cogent argument for your proposals and win a fair debate over your opponents? I love my friends, even when I disagree with them… so I have to ask, is all this stuff OK with you?
Today, America is full of examples of the loss of objectivity and balance. Consider the villification of the Tea Party. Merely saying those two words in the presence of my liberal friends sometimes makes them regard me as insane. But I’m not. There have been hundreds of Tea Party events, where hundreds of thousands of normal people you might like have simply gathered to say they’re “Taxed Enough Already.” They aren’t violent. They aren’t racist. They even clean up after themselves when they go home, which eventually, they do. Yet the Demediacrat machine “reports” exactly the opposite about the Tea Party, because they want you to fear the movement. They want to win at any cost, no matter how much they have to cheat. Is that OK with you?
In contrast, we now have the “Occupy X” (fill in the blank) protests. These gatherings are much smaller than, and very different from, the Tea Party events. The Demediacrat machine generally champions this protest. But I wonder, liberal friends, if the things these protestors are doing are OK with you. So they don’t bathe and they sit in protest for weeks on end, different from the discrete “events” put on by the Tea Party. So they leave a huge mess for others to clean up. I don’t like that about them, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.
But the occupy-protestors are against “everything,” as one protestor put it to the applause of several others… and not for anything. Is that OK with you? A few have espoused anti-Semitism, the first whisper of which would get them removed from any Tea Party event. Is that OK with you? They’ve been violent, they’ve been at times vicious, and they’ve been arrested by the hundreds. Is that OK with you?
I started as an apathist, but I had what I’d call good “liberal cred.” I was a journalist, a writer, an actor, and a singer in the first couple decades of my working life… I only had liberal friends with whom to hang out, and I always felt we were working toward building a positive life of inspiration for ourselves and each other. But I submit that these Occupy X protestors are more agitated than inspired, that they’re about tearing down and not building up, and that their feet are on a path of negativity, not positive change.
You and I might completely disagree… but we could go to a Tea Party event and hang out without incident. We couldn’t go hang out with these Occupy X protestors, though. Neither of us would feel comfortable for very long, would we?
I’m just asking. As a friend.
About the Author
Michael Hume is a speaker, writer, and consultant specializing in helping people enjoy health, wealth, and inspiring lives. Those who want to make money “one less thing to worry about” can learn more at http://tinyurl.com/myownbiznow – anyone wanting more vitality can browse http://shop.enivausa.com/239824 – visit Michael’s web site at http://michaelhume.net
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