Mamma said ...

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011

I think I've mentioned that I am pretty apolitical. The first time I voted I was eager to be connected with a political party. I was 21 and a couple of months (yes, I had to be 21 to vote). The candidate stood for everything my very young persona understood. And he won.

It didn't take long, however, for me to realize that I had voted for a personality rather than a philosophy (sound familiar?) While some of his ideals were mine, there were many other issues I couldn't agree with. I learned my first good lesson about politics. "Truth is not determined by majority vote."

Some of my ideas go well with the Democrats, others jibe with the Republicans, and I hold a few truths dear that even the Libertarians and possibly the tea party (that isn't a party) would agree with. That means I'm not invited to any political parties. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, I don't read the Huffington Post, and I ignore most of those in between when I can, but it's difficult. What ever happened to news that was simply reported, not commented on? Where's Edward R. Murrow or Daniel Schorr?

Some wise person once remarked "The press will shape your opinions if you don't keep yourself informed." And that seems to happen more and more. It's easier to find a talking head to agree with (or not) than to think about an issue and develop one's own belief. I have firm ideas about how things are, or should be, but I don't expect everyone to agree with me and I don't call them idiots when they don't as seems to happen a lot these days. Because this state is nearly 85 percent independent voters, you'd be hard put to find two people who think alike in any gathering anyplace in Alaska except maybe a party convention. Believe it or not, most people I know can form an opinion without having it force fed to them. That's what makes today's so-called TV news reporters so irritating.

I don't need to know what Sarah Palin is doing or what someone thinks she is going to say. I can ignore her ... too bad the far left can't. My mom always said "If you didn't holler he wouldn't bother you," speaking of my grievances against my brother. Apparently the media hasn't learned that lesson or didn't have a pesky brother. Sarah does -- or I imagine he might have been -- and she apparently learned to get her licks in first. Whether you like her politics or not, you have to admire her control of the far-left media. She jabs; they yell.

I also don't care that Barack Obama has moved his re-election headquarters to Chicago. I'm sure it means something important to someone, but it only makes me believe the man is not as intelligent as the press want me to believe he is or he'd stay as far away from the Chicago political machine as possible. Another thing my mom used to say was "Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas" (brings new meaning to "Politics makes strange bedfellows"). That usually pertained to my wanting to run on the Wild Side, but seems to apply to Chicago politicians too.

The tragic episode in Arizona brought out the worst in our commentators. The gunshots hadn't echoed before certain (so-called) journalists were casting stones that eventually ricocheted (can I use that word these days?) and created even more animosity resulting finally in the self-ordained truce proclaimed by Congress for the State of the Union Address: Democrats and Republicans sitting together in harmony.

The press' (both right and left) reporting of and commenting on who was sitting with whom reminded me of a particularly fiendish punishment my mother devised for my brother and me when our arguments became vitriolic -- yes, even children, (maybe especially children) can be vitriolic. We had to sit together on the couch for 10 minutes without fighting and every time one of us whined "she's looking at me" or "he hit me first" the 10 minutes started over.

This was before TV so sitting on a couch with one's brother with nothing to take our minds off the argument at hand was a difficult call. I think our top time was about an hour. We both eventually learned to take another of our mother's great pieces of advice to heart: "Ignore him and he'll go away." About the time we outgrew the fights, we were back to 10 minutes flat. We finally learned "Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more"

It sounds like I think the TV news generators act like a bunch of kids. Most of the time they do. When half-time at a football game or a pregnant entertainer gains more attention than world events I can see why some people never listen to the news.

Chet Huntley, the grand old man we all remember, once said "Journalists were never intended to be the cheerleaders of society."

Virginia Walters lives in Kenai.

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