Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I wonder if we are so used to multi-tasking and being able to completely change our visual and mental environment with a click of a remote or a mouse that we can’t concentrate or stay focused on one task anymore. Before I retired from the classroom, I was somewhat appalled by the textbooks that were offered for our perusal. My texts as a student may have had one illustration per double-page spread. Current texts not only have several images per page, but also drop quote boxes, inserts, multiple columns and/or graphic depictions of information. None of it is connected except by topic. It allows the student to jump from page area to page area in the same manner that they might surf for channels or Face book friends. Can this be good?
It has become apparent that when it comes to important problems that cannot be resolved in 50 minutes as a Law and Order issue, we either do not want to stay focused or cannot stay focused. I’ll leave the final analysis to psychologists. But, if we “could’a, should’a, would’a” stayed on task, distractions would not have become such an issue of national focus, even by the main stream media (in a few instances). Now, former President Jimmy Carter has jumped into the “racial” issue. This will probably be the focus for the rest of the week, if not the rest of Obama’s term in office!
The most recent examples have been because of well-publicized actions. One has been the utterance of the two words heard around the world: YOU LIE! Congress has had a full plate. Healthcare. Economic recovery. Corruption exposures. All of the debate and work on these important issues came to a screeching halt for 2 days as everyone clamored to find a microphone, camcorder, social network or blog to weigh in on Representative Joe Wilson (SC-R). The other was Kanye West’s intrusion on and insult to Taylor Swift. The majority of the political social networking traffic shifted from healthcare, the economy, and the hate or love for Obama to a ten second televised event and the President’s off-the-record “jackass” remark.
Other major distractions in the last year have included:
• Saturday Night Live’s negative portrayals of Sarah Palin.
• The President’s accusation that police at Professor Gates’ resident acted “stupidly.”
• Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that concerned, mainstream citizens who attended town hall meetings were “swastika bearing” “mobs” and that the movement was contrived, organized “Astroturf.”
• The President’s insult to Special Olympians on the Tonight Show. (And, still, he was invited to Shriver/Kennedy funerals?)
• The infidelity of conservative lawmakers.
• Michael Jackson’s death.
• The knee jerk reaction of parents to the “lesson plan” for Obama’s speech to their children.
• The refusal of ABC to allow conservative responses to the “infomercial” for ObamaCare.
More than ever in our lifetimes, we need to stay focused. We need to stay vocal. We need to stay committed. We need to continue to fax, email, call and write to our servants. And it only has to be on three things.
• Decrease the federal deficit/balance the budget.
• Decrease the size of the government/remove Czars, unnecessary agencies
• Rid the government of pork/corruption/special interests.
We need to stay the course and insist that the people who SERVE US pass no legislation that does not fit within these three criteria. And, if Paula Deen’s pants fall down again, twit and IM and have a good laugh for a minute or two, and get back to the business of preserving the Republic.