Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36-"The thinnest kid at fat camp"

Dear Mr. President,

I watched Jon Stewart on the O'Reilly factor today. I really hate venturing into FOX news territory, even if it is to watch Mr. Stewart. I'm glad that, under your administration, a spade has been called a spade, and we no longer have to play along with the idea that FOX is somehow an objective news organization. I'm sure that offends a great number of FOX's viewers, but I have little patience for any one who can take Glenn Beck seriously. The man is a cartoon.

FOX news is one of the larger problems your administration faces. In my opinion, having the most popular "news" outlet working 24 hours a day to oppose you and your agenda, is almost as bad as having no majorities in the legislative branch. And since Congressional Democrats seem determined to make both a reality, I hope you're up for a challenging 3rd year. Once again, this is a failure of the American people. Too many of us are content to have news shouted at us, to absorb only what comes at us the loudest, the fastest and the easiest to digest. Too few are willing to seek out information, to verify claims even when we agree with them, to educate ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be indoctrinated. And this applies to many on the left, as well. I have no illusions about the nobility of those who agree with me- many are just as willing to brush aside the complications to the narrative that they embrace.

Why is it that we crave simplicity? The world is complicated! Morally, socially, economically, spiritually complicated. We cannot be dumbed down, simplified to the lowest common denominator and then expect to be governed accordingly. Why resist the complexity of reality? The morally ambiguous, the simultaneous acceptance of contradictory ideas and their constant struggle which we all know, on our most basic level, in our heart of hearts, is the only way to make sense out of it all. Our natural desire to be comfortable and protected even as we are independent, our founding principles, our religious faiths- nothing about America, or humanity, is simple.

I don't understand the desire to have everything fit perfectly into the way I see the world. I can't pretend that all liberals are good, or that all conservative are evil. As passionate as I am about the peace process in Palestine, I can't pretend I'm not horrified by the cartoons of Hamas, or insensitive to the need for Israelis to feel secure. Everything is a balancing act. Presenting the world to us in black and white, or red and blue, is something we should all be resisting with all of our might. But, for reasons surpassing my understanding, Fox wins the ratings games. James Patterson tops the best seller list. Sarah Palin may be the GOP's nominee for the 2012 presidential race. All around me, people reject the complexity of making decisions for themselves based on their own labors of discovery, to surrender their judgment to Oprah or Dr. Phil or Glenn Beck.

Anyway, Mr. President, I know Jon Stewart can be tough on you, but I don't think you'd respect him if he wasn't. He's not your man, any more than you are his, but I think both of you share an enthusiasm for the idiosyncratic, that makes me feel as though, at least in the fight against FOX, we're all on the same team.

Respectfully yours,


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