Sunday, February 13, 2005

Love Is In The Air

It’s that time of year where Cupid is sharpening up his arrow tips and getting ready to pierce the shields of many unsuspecting people. With one shot the little pusher of romance will make you take that second look at a passing ship, or cause you to delve deep inside yourself to analyze the love, or loves, of your present existence.

I think younger folks tend to throw around the four-letter word a lot hoping that it will stick to someone. As time moves you along its fragile silver thread we tend to instinctively know what love is, rather then have to speak the word out loud seemingly for reassurance.

Another mistake of the young is that love is the tag you place on a significant other. Sure many will say they love their family, but never really take a step back and truly think about what the love of family means.

In the world of today many people would not dare use the word love to describe a relationship with a friend of either the same sex, or the opposite sex, for fear of a negative reaction it might cause in this politically over-corrected world we now find ourselves to be a member of.

Once again I shun what everyone thinks and can honestly say that I have many people in my circle of friends and family that I love. Not all female, not all male, and not all family.

Love to me is unconditional. We hear that term thrown around a lot when we talk about a dog. After all, we assume that a dog’s love for us is unconditional. Of course I’m willing to bet that there are some circumstances where that dog just might turn on you in a heartbeat.

The love I give to the people in my life that really matter to me is truly unconditional. My entire family, both near and far, fall into this category. I cannot, and will not, give up on a family member regardless of how they choose to live their lives, the mistakes they have made, or for any other reason that I can think of at this time.

Friends that fall into this region of my life were not sought out, but they have over time became equally loved as if they too were family. This does not in any way mean that new friends are not cared about, it’s just that the type of feelings I am talking about come with time. I like to think of new friends as future family members in the making!

It saddens me to hear of people who have parted, whether married, dating, or even a strong friendship, and they suddenly hate the other person. In these cases I wonder if there was truly a loving relationship to begin with, or if they were just living a false commitment.

I’m certain my friends and extended family know who they are, and that even though I don’t spend near enough time communicating with them, that I am still thinking about them all often.

It brightens my day when I also think about my wife’s family, and am proud to include them into my world. Sometimes when you marry I know that the family that comes along with the deal can be difficult.

In this world perfection is not anywhere to be found. There is not one among us who can claim it, or even pretend that we have discovered it in others. Your family, whether extended, adopted, or created, is your anchor on the Earth. Accept their shortfalls, and embrace their strengths.

There are times when I think that gullibility is one of my traits. I tend to see only the good in people, and assume that they too are on the right track in the school of life. It would take a lot from a person to say that I dislike them, and I can’t think of a single soul that I can say that I hate.

Let’s no freak out now, there are plenty of folks that are still using up good oxygen that are in need of severe punishment, and atonement for their crimes. Though I have no love for these criminals, I can’t say that the emotion of hate is in me either. Sometimes you need to show the unfortunate people who just don’t get the whole concept of love thy neighbor why heading down a vicious path was a poor career choice.

You may not always understand what makes a sibling tick, or why crazy aunt Gertie seems to enjoy making fun of everything you do. If they are family, chuckle to yourself, smile, look in a mirror, and hopefully you’ll realize that you seem to have some of the perfection pieces missing from your life as well.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Call your family, hug a friend, and take your kids into the backyard and spend some extra time with your dog instead of letting him watch the affection pass him by through the sliding glass door.

To my friends and family, I love you all. Even if you have never heard me tell you that in person, know that in my heart you are all loved and thought about often. I hope this Valentine’s Day brings you comfort, and someone gives you an extra hug!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Is The Right Wrong?

The right wing has often abused the news media for not covering all sides of an issue. Recent articles have caused major problems in the mainstream media machine with the less then perfect reporting of the facts. Or should I say the lack thereof?

Is this poor reporting due to an agenda by any single group trying to force their opinions on the rest of us, or does it all boil down to just plain old shabby reporting?

People long for the time when reporters took pride in getting the story right the first time. The integrity of a reporter would be so strong that they would go to jail rather then reveal their source for a hard-hitting article. What is happening to the journalist these days? Is this difficulty of penning a great news column actually a conspiracy piece to further an agenda, or merely having a tough time keeping up with the Jones’s?

I think reporters are still trying their best; the real hurdles come from technology and its rapid growth throughout our culture.

Back “in the old days” when most people heard or read the news they did not have a choice but to either believe it, or try to come up with some reason of their own not to follow what the story was saying.

As technology advanced we no longer read one newspaper, or watch one news channel. Now we watch the news from around the world, and can get equally globe-spanning newspapers. Now when a story breaks, the online community runs to their computers and instantly millions of words hit the Internet picking apart any news article and dissecting it like a pimple-faced trekker who just watched Star Trek 27 for the one hundredth time and discovers that Mr. Spock had on the wrong medallion in scene 63 because it has nothing to do with the kolinar ritual from Star Trek The Motion Picture.

What crazy nut job would want to report the news these days? I hated to have my English teacher bleed all over my papers with her vicious red pen, and that was just trying to please one deranged woman. After all, it was obvious to me that not one of my writings was poorly written!

Add to all of this the pressure from writing article after article that’s cutting edge, in the moment, full of excitement, finger pointing and intrigue. In a world that asks a Pulitzer Prize winner, “Yes, that’s nice, but what have you done for us today?” you quickly begin to realize why many reporters have their facts all mangled and are often caught just making crap up.

The competition must be fierce, and to expect someone to go out daily and knock an article out of the conspiracy ball park is unrealistic, but these are what the top news agencies demand day in and day out from their reporters.

Am I making excuses for dishonest reporters and high-pressure news organizations? Perhaps, but only to maybe shed some light on why our news tends to be as reliable as a fortune cookie message. Just as in most of my life I do not blindly follow anything or anyone, I don’t receive my news from only one source and call it gospel. I watch Fox news, CNN, read blogs and other online sources, listen to discussion television shows and talk radio. Heck, if he’s on a roll I also enjoy the great Dennis Miller from time to time. After all, what’s wrong with a little sarcasm thrown into the mix to take the edge off?

My point here is that I gather my information from a large number of resources, and then usually can formulate my own opinion from there. It’s amusing to listen to friends or family who receive their current events input from one biased source, and then attempt to discuss what they know with others.

Arrogant? I’m sure I have been called that, but I like to think it is more like a strong and informed position in most cases. Even with my pig-headed views I still have been known to change sides on an issue when more facts seem to point out a different course. This only means that I continue to learn and accept that my own views may be incorrect as well. After all, we are all imperfect humans. Yes, even you.

The other day I heard a friend tell me that a family argument exploded when a family member was making comments such as, “If Kerry were elected our troops would be home by now.”

Do any of you reading this actually believe that statement? Even most Kerry supporters know that regardless of what John Kerry thought about our going to war in Iraq, he would have had no choice but to ride out the current situation which would mean to support the elections and continue to provide military support to the Iraqi people as long as they needed our help.

John Kerry himself admitted this during his campaign. Anyone who thinks otherwise is one of those narrow-minded scary types who don’t even know enough about their own views to make an intelligent argument. You see these people portrayed on sitcoms when someone turns to them and says, “Stop trying to help me.” In case you missed the subtlety here, the idiot was trying to help out in an argument but had the facts so wrong he had no clue what he was even saying. This simply makes the other persons point seem that much worse.

So watch the news, read the news, explore the Internet, and make up your own mind about what you are hearing. Don’t hang on every word from Dan Rather or Rush Limbaugh. When the local news jockey interrupts “Alias” with a news flash commercial about the disaster that is infecting your home city take it with a grain of salt. Chances are it’s just the action news team trying to get you to stay up and watch their show only to discover that the disaster is a new pothole on 2nd street!