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SENTRY JOURNAL » Critical Thought, Democrats, Emotional » Will the real "Critical Thinkers" please stand up?

Will the real "Critical Thinkers" please stand up?

When I was a child I watched a game show called To Tell the Truth.  Three contestants would stand in a row and claim they were “Mr. Smith” and they lived some sort of exciting and unique life.  A panel of four celebrity judges would try to figure out through a variety of questions, which one of the three contestants was telling the truth about their life and which two were the imposters.  Now the imposters pretending to be the real “Mr. Smith” could lie and fake their way through the show in an attempt to dupe the panel.  After a series of questions members of the panel would select who they thought was the real “Mr. Smith” and cast their votes.  The host of the show would then ask, “Will the real “Mr. Smith please stand up?”  The three contestants would pause and turn their heads towards each other as one by one started to stand until finally the real Mr. Smith stood up.  Panel members that were duped by the imposters smiled and took light jabs at each other.  It was a very simple but entertaining way of reading people and getting to the truth.  Good times.

The problem I’m having today is that I feel like I’m playing the reality show version of the same game with my elected officials when it comes to critical thinking.  You see I’m a critical thinker.  I don’t make decisions based on my emotional state.  I rationally evaluate each issue in an unbiased manner and examine the problem from many different perspectives.  I’m always looking for tested and proven methods that bring the best solutions to the table.  When it comes to issues like health care and global warming you can’t win me over by trying to appeal to my emotional side.  So these emotionally charged TV advertisements sponsored by special interest groups do not work on me.  Unfortunately they work on the majority of society.  So I’m asking my elected representatives, will the real critical thinkers please stand up?  Are you still out there?

Based on what I have been witnessing in Washington as of late, critical thinking is a skill that is lost in a sea of lobby and special interest groups.  The only critical thinking going on by our elected officials is how they can vote for budget busting bills that are unsustainable and get re-elected at the same time.  Forget that the so called model for health care reform has failed miserably in Massachusetts and that it’s breaking the state budget.  Tennessee took a whack at universal universal health care reform in 1994 and the systems collapsed on itself.  The Governor of Tennessee was forced to overhaul and restructure the entire program and he has since called it “a disaster.”  It doesn’t take a whole bunch of brain power to see that these two plans are the lighter versions of the recently passed H.R. 3962.  So why would any rational individual pass such a bill when we can see a clear pattern of failure in these two states.  Facts just muddy the water.  So hey, let’s just ignore the facts and press on full steam ahead.  Certainly there must be elected officials from both parties that can clearly see the dark path universal health care will take us down.  Anyone?

The same holds true for global warming.  Here again I’m looking for a spark of critical thinking.  I mean are we absolutely sure that global warming is a real event?  What if climate change is more directly related to sunspot cycles than man-made pollution?  There are studies that lean in this direction and they’re just as plausible as the studies that suggest man-made pollution is the central cause for global warming.  The hacking of email messages a few weeks ago and the content they contained raised many eyebrows about a possible cover up of statistical data that suggest the humanity factor doesn’t play such a key role in climate change.  So where is the critical thinking?  Shouldn’t we open the book on global warming again and look at it with a critical eye?  After all if we really want to save the planet don’t we want to get it right?  Any takers?  Anyone?

The awful truth is that critical thinking does not always lead to the most profitable solution.  It also tends to make things simpler and you can’t hide as much in a place called simple.  That’s why we need 2,000 plus page bills that won’t cover all uninsured and won’t start until 2014.  The more complex and harder to understand the bill, the more they can hide pet projects and payoffs in it.  And unfortunately this is the sad state of affairs in Washington these days.  We’re all playing the real life version of To Tell the Truth.  “We the people” are the judges on the panel and we’re asking the questions to three contestants trying to figure out which two are the imposters and which one is telling the truth.  Or maybe all three are imposters and our attempt to find the critical thinker is pointless.  We can’t even expect our elected officials to read the bill let alone be critical thinkers.

Personally I believe the game is rigged, and it has been for a long time.  Special interest groups flash all kinds of money and promises at our representatives.  They write the bills and we end up paying the bills.  Until we use our voice to drive these powerful organizations out of Washington, don’t expect the real critical thinker to stand up.  That individual is playing a much different game and we’re the ones paying for it.

The only fix to the game is for each of us to become critical thinkers on Election Day. 
   

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