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Size doesn’t matter, but lies and bias do

images-1 taken from https://amplitude.com/blog/2016/06/07/cognitive-biases-ruining-growth/

So, I embarrassed myself yesterday.  On Facebook, I posted a link to a biased news story that wasn’t completely correct.  It showed millions of Muslims gathering to protest ISIS.  Granted the crowd part and the quest for peace part and location were all correct, but this gathering was not a protest but an annual event of a religious nature.   I posted it to show that Muslims in other countries do protest against terrorism (because I’m sometimes asked why ‘they’ don’t speak up more).  My intentions were good, and to be totally honest I only cross checked the story with one other news site BECAUSE it was something that connected with my views.   Surely, it was correct.

BUT, it wasn’t.  And just because my intentions were good and it supported something I believe it doesn’t mean it’s right.  And, this is, what I believe, one of our biggest problems  is right now.  It’s way too easy to back up our belief system with proof.  It’s also really easy to connect with our crowd and get all riled up about the other side because, you know, they’re assholes or idiots trying to take away our way of life.  And when we humans vent with people of the same mind we tend to get angrier and angrier.  With all this ‘proof’ we shut down the other side, and they are no longer one of us.  They are the bad guys.

I don’t give a torn ballot how big or small the inauguration crowd was.  Seriously it says nothing about who the new president will be —- although it does provide a glimpse into his or, one day, her popularity.  I —- take a picture here —- agree that the crowd size shouldn’t have been a story.  But, unfortunately, when the enormity of the event was bragged about beforehand, people are going to pay attention to it, and, well, report on it.

This would have been a perfect time for our new president to show that he is here to lead not rule by ignoring such trivial stories and focusing on telling us what he was signing and why.  But, instead, he accused the media of lying and had his press secretary recite “alternate facts.”   Unfortunately for him, the numbers are real.  They weren’t important before, but now they’re proof that either the “leftist” media is lying or proof that the president is, depending on who you ask.   Real fact is fake and fake fact is real.  Am I really living in an alternate world?

Accusations, name calling, fact skewering has gone amuck.   We’re all clinging to our version of reality while the real world is crumbling before our very eyes.  We cannot afford to continue giving in to bias just because it supports our side because it’s quickly becoming the norm to use that shit as ‘truth.’

I’m sharing this here because in a few months I will be crossing the border back into my own country, and I am so very concerned about where things are going.  Too much anger is brewing and too many lies are being clung to, and they have been for too long of a time.  We have got to get it together.  I am not the enemy, nor are my fellow Republicans, but our inability to collaborate with the other side will be the end of us.  Tschhhh, do not go into the blame game; my point is people we need to talk and listen and find ways to work together versus apart, and we need to go back to ‘just the facts mam.’  I don’t want to hear about how my side did this and how your side did that (vice versa), and blah, blah, blah.  We’re all the asshole idiots if we continue to go that route.

Regardless of whether you think the media coverage was right or wrong —- our president flat out had his people lie to the American people because his ego was bruised.  His people are waisting precious time playing the word game and manipulating us into a bigger divide while calling for unity.   This is dangerous, and no one’s side is going to be served unless we unite against our own ignorances.  Better, affordable health care, more money in our bank accounts, education, the pursuit of happiness for ‘we the people,’ all of that is at stake for every one of us — despite how each of us thinks we need to get the job done.

Please, America, do not allow our leaders to be as careless with their media posts or speeches as I was with mine, despite how well intentioned they think they may be.  Do not allow yourselves to do that.  We have to be vigilant in ensuring the facts we use to base our solutions on are indeed facts and not some spin to serve our own interests.  The irony of it all is if we ever get to this point we might actually learn that the majority of us want the same damned things.

But if we continue to allow this crazy making that’s going on in our society (including our contribution to it), I’m sorry to say, we are all the bad guys.  We chose to not be a united folk after all.

And if anyone needs a tutorial on how to begin talking to the other side, this little guy has some great pointers:

I’ve got a hand gesture for you…

tolerance

Last week the UAE showed the world — well the UAE anyway, the rest of the world’s media didn’t seem to pick up on this story — it’s hand gesture for tolerance.

You see this Islamic Middle Eastern country has a governmental department dedicated to spreading tolerance.  Ewww and get this it’s led by a woman:

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, who is the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, announced the charter, explaining that it will aim to combat bigotry, extremism and racism. She also highlighted how the charter and the discussions around it will work to highlight the true essence of Islam.    

Quote taken from WhatsOn Uae.com (click here for more on this)

I’m not gonna lie when I first read about the hand signal I rolled my eyes because who needs this?  And what kind of fluff is this?  And, before anyone comments or messages me:  No, I’m not typing that this country is perfect.  It has its bigots, just like every where else in the world, and it has its inconsistencies — but now I’ve got a hand sign I can flash to someone being intolerant.  So there — might even be more powerful than the illegal middle finger.

I am sharing this because wanna know what did make the headlines in my home country?  Green Starbucks cups!   It seems there’s drama over the new cup, which features a drawing of a bunch of different folk, which is meant to represent our freedom to be who the Eff we are and emphasise our need to, you know, tolerate one another.  Some don’t like the color, some don’t like the people on it, some think its a political ploy, one Internet troll posted it was anti Christmas because green is the color of Islam (I thought it also was connected to Christmas) and the idiocracy goes on,  blah, blah, blah.

It’s a coffee cup — it’s not religious or social propaganda.  No one’s indoctrinating anyone into any shit, and no one is hijacking Christmas.   And, I know — please God tell me I’m right on this — that the amount of people who really got ticked off and believed all this anti-Christmas crap is miniscule.  But, you see it is being covered (although thank God not extensively) and it is being discussed.

When I find myself in conversations that inevitably include someone saying something along the lines of “why don’t they (Arabs/Muslims) do more to speak out” against insert terrorism group of choice, I always point out they do — it’s just not covered in whatever whomever I’m speaking to is watching, reading or listening to.  Arab countries lose their young in the war against extremists (not to mention their people and land tend to be the victims of terrorist attacks), their leaders speak up against the atrocities, and they invest in programs that emphasise the Islamic principles that are identical to some of our christian ones.  I’m not just typing this to be all peace and lovey — people here are just as ticked (if not more) as people back home, and they want what we all want:  to live their lives without violence.  So when trolls post shit like not wanting to associate their faith with another one it ticks me off because all faiths are about unity and doing good in this world.  Idiots who contort that and do other things in the name of God do not represent their alleged religion.  Um, just like, I hope, big talking heads who spew more nastiness do not represent we the people (had to throw that in there so close to election day).

Now I know flapping my hands like a dove isn’t going to stop terrorists, just like the color of a coffee mug isn’t going to destroy christianity, but the fact that we’re allowing ourselves to continually get riled up over messages that divide us is a problem.  The stupid Starbucks mess isn’t the issue — the fear, hatred, ignorance that feeds this is.

What I’ve decided that I want for Christmas is every country to have its own Ministry of Tolerance.  If we all got serious about this and put real political clout behind it imagine its potential.  I know there I go being all peace and love on you again, but aren’t we allegedly entering into that season?

And for the folks back home who will be voting this week (citizens living overseas have already done so), please remember to not vilify your fellow citizens — including the folk who didn’t vote for your guy or gal.  We’ve gotta get a grip and throw more tolerance versus Eff you out there!

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