We’re getting sidetracked, America. We’re getting redirected to the insignificant periphery. Our attention is being drawn to the gossipy side story and away from what really makes a difference, what really matters.
Take the inauguration of our president of the United States to start.
Did you hear his impassioned address? Did you hear him challenge us to work together to resolve the issues plaguing our time? Did you hear him recall the words of the Declaration of Independence about our right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and then hear him point out our responsibility to “bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time”?
Or did you hear that Beyonce might have lip-synched the national anthem.
Or that Sasha yawned.
Then we could take college football, for example.
Did you know Notre Dame made it to the BCS bowl before getting beaten by Alabama?
Or did you only hear that Manti Te’o was tricked into believing he had a girlfriend corresponding with him online. When he found out she didn’t exist, he was backed into a corner, and was less-than-forthcoming about it all.
Did you know that Katie Couric took her valuable time to interview him, further backing him into the corner?
It’s so junior high, really.
To be so totally focused as a nation on the mistakes and the miscalculations is itself a mistake, when we could be focusing on the intended message, the meaning of the event or the best way to make things better.
Can we get to the real issue of Benghazi: the need to improve relations and heighten security at embassies abroad? Wouldn’t that be better than throwing sticks over who said what to whom and when?
Can we remember the vital issues discussed in the second presidential debate such as energy production and job creation? Or will the words “binders full of women” forever push those issues aside and let a slip of the tongue in a stressful situation take center stage?
I had to switch channels when I first began watching the inauguration. Announcers on the first channel were whining about a divided Congress and expressing their lack of faith in the country’s leaders. I didn’t want or need that in that particular moment.
The commentators on the second channel kept my attention as they gave the history of the Capitol, the names of dignitaries, the schedule for the day; all while emphasizing the significance of an election in a free democracy and showing the exultant faces of the throngs who recognized what America had done. Again.
Sometimes we have to change channels or find a new website, or blog or YouTube video. Too many are telling us something is important when it’s not. Too many of them are making us think about Michelle Obama’s new bangs when we should be thinking about how we can solve global warming or resolve immigration issues or overcome deficits.
For the record, I have to say here that no newspapers or news magazines I have read made reference to the yawn.
Did you know that President Obama’s second inaugural address was given on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Did you realize the year is 50 years from the year King expressed his dream for equal opportunity? And that it is 150 years from Abraham Lincoln’s courageous Emancipation Proclamation?
That is news. News that deserves to be celebrated by every American. News that shows how far we’ve come and to whom we owe that progress.
And we can go further still, if we don’t let anyone get us off track.