Life Was SO Much Simpler

Life was so much simpler – when we were less informed.

With the advent of social media and electronic delivery of news, we are instantly aware of things that would have taken hours, days or even months to filter down to us. Life (as we used to know it) moved at a slower and happier pace. Reaction times to news or events barely crawled along. We had to roll out the morning paper or listen to morning radio or TV to hear about national or world events. Things took time to soak in. Once things were known interactions between people happened face to face or voice to voice. Discussions were had around the water cooler or in the break room. We interacted with one another on a person to person level. We were a much more tolerable people because of that. Interactions with friends, co-workers or relatives included every other aspect of life, and not just about the most recent political scandal or salacious affair in Hollywood. We were rounded in our dialogue.

Today the war of words is hateful, spiteful and full of half-truth and innuendo. No longer do we spar or duke things out with multiple rounds to determine the clear winner. Both parties of any argument people now go for the jugular within seconds. We don’t talk things out with honest conversation or debate. We pass judgment immediately based on “clear” lines of distinction. Those differences are usually spelled out with two simple letters – D or R. If you are a D you are labeled immediately as a wacko left-wing commie radical with not an ounce of patriotism in your body. If you find yourself with an R next to your name you are branded as a right-wing extremist bible-thumping gun-toting intolerant hater who thinks refugees should be pushed off of the boat.

In the real world both sides have a handful of people that go to the extreme in their views (left or right). But for the most part our society has a mix of ideas and values that make us land somewhere  between those two dreaded letters. A distinct problem with social media (and instant messaging) is the fact that whoever is the quickest, sharpest and craftiest deliver a stinging message that’s portrayed as pure and honest fact.  The ones who get the most attention are those who yell a quick unverified half-truth, peppered with underlying deceit and deception.

Political correctness has gone amuck. If you dare say anything about race, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or anything that is a social hot point you risk your fortune in a matter of hours. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true or moral. It only matters that you have no right to inject your belief system, especially if it steps on toes of any special interest group. And those “special” groups garner less than 5% of our entire people group.

I consider myself a technical progressive. And that’s a feat for someone my age (early sixties). Many of my peers have only given up their flip phones after the carrier no longer supported their dated technology. I am all for the latest and greatest wireless remote applications that automate everything. I’m waiting for the day that an app can buy, season, cook, and hand feed my food to me (that day is coming!).

But how can we roll back the information age to a saner, kinder and gentler time?

Democratic Bickering Resolution – 101

I avoid political things nowadays (on social media and other places).

But everything political, governmental or social issues are now IN OUR FACE  – and controversial to the core. Current topics and issues in our country are dividing and conquering us. We are becoming bitter enemies by things we believe or state (either out loud verbally or by posting to some form of social media). We are in one continuous slug fest with family, friends and co-workers.

Considering the technology that we enjoy in 2017, have you ever wondered why we’ve not really heard much about solving our governmental and voting differences by doing so using the available technology and being able to vote electronically?

What if we could solve all of the bickering within a matter of days or hours by simply casting an electronic ballot on issues? The electorate could truly have a voice, and a quick one at that. From referendums or new proposals for laws WE could make real decisions on issues facing our country. Our representative form of government needs serious tweaking.

This could be our answer!

Such a plan could be done at every level of governing. Local, state and national elections would all be done this way.  I know there would be naysayers of every persuasion that say this is unfair and that poor people would not be able to cast a vote or it would be a burden on them to do so. Correct me if I am wrong, but most of the panhandlers on the street corners and even people living under the bridge are quick to whip out their smartphones when they need to. In 2017 you are going to be hard pressed to find someone who does not have some form of current electronic technology, usually in their pocket or purse. We know that because of government programs that have given away such phones to people “in need”.

So I propose that every level of government devise a way for people to be able to vote on issues electronically. It would be quick and sure. If handled with all of the security and safety precautions it would be an honest and precise process. And voting totals could be confirmed after a simple keyboard request to tally the results.

Of course the key to the success of such a plan would be in on the front end – the vetting process. Before you could get a login and password to vote as a bona fide and registered voter, you’d have to prove several things.

  1. Prove that you are a citizen of our country (electronic copies of birth certificates) 2. Prove that you are still alive (easy through social security number verification). 3. Prove your residency for your voting precinct. Getting all parties to agree on what is required to prove you are eligible to vote will be the biggest fight you’ve ever seen. But once this is resolved and set in stone the real decisions of democracy could be determined quickly and accurately.

I truly believe this would be a fair and equitable way to make up or down decisions. And one of the BIG benefits of such a plan would make it easier for many people who claim to be disenfranchised for whatever reason would be able to be heard. And that could happen easily. But as with everything, the devil will be in the details.

Voter apathy in the United States has been a sad thing to watch.  But with the advent of the internet and things like social media people are now engaged in current affairs like never before. I say that if you take a guy (or girl) who has never voted before in their life and show them a current hot button revision of our law that they could make their voice be heard by a simple electronic vote that would take less than 5 minutes of time from the comfort of a recliner, I’d say we could increase greatly the number of participating citizens. And they could be involved in every decision at every level of government.

I know that such a plan could be easily done AFTER some very heavy lifting required to get us out of the current mode of operation that we languish in. But the results could be realized in short order and implemented without months and years of red tape and delay. If only we would consider making this change.

We really need to stop all of the bickering and fighting and name calling. We are better people that what we see in the news (fake or not) and on social media. The truth is we are not a very social society currently.

We need real and lasting change from our elected representative government types. We (the people) need to be the ones deciding things in this country and not a bunch of loose cannons that vote their own consciences on every conceivable thing – that WE face.

I welcome comments and suggestion about such a proposal.