I have been accused of being an independent thinker and also a sheep following the herd. And I have to admit both statements have been true at various points in my life and in a variety of situations. It is impossible to live according to someone else’s rules. The key for independence is to be able to look, listen, research, and come to a conclusion. Whether that end goes along with others or finds you swimming against the current is not the definition of independence. To be independent is to have the freedom to develop your own opinion using whatever tools and materials are at your disposal. It means being able to search for alternative sources, evaluate them for accuracy and validity and utilize them in making a judgement.
The tricky point currently, is the step of evaluating a source. It is becoming much more difficult to suss the reporting from the spin, propaganda from the unbiased truth, the political from the factual. It used to be just like Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Now it is all about pushing an agenda that is aligned to one political point of view or another. The free press is getting harder to find.
Why this little rant? Well, tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July, the United States of America’s Independence Day and I’m not feeling very independent. I spent a little time on Facebook and it was hard to take. There was the usual flag waving and fireworks but underneath it was a current that was ugly. It was a “we are the land of the free and the home of the brave” BUT not for blacks, immigrants, foreigners, the poor, LGBTQ, and any that are different or have a different stance than those shouting with the loudest voice. And that made me so very sad and angry. There were a couple of people that I “hid” from my feed who had very unchristian things to say about a whole bunch of people I support. I support my gay relatives and friends, my friends and relatives who are not Christian (be they Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Atheist, or Wiccan), my friends and relatives who are Democrats, Republican, Libertarian, and Independent and of course all my friends and relatives who are not caucasians of European descent. We have become so divided that it is not the United States. It is scary.