Pardoe’s Perspective: A Nation of Cynics

I have been a cynic most of my life, long before it became trendy. I have always believed it is healthy to challenge the status quo, to question, to display a lack of trust in the government or individuals.  I’ve even written books on being cynical at work.  I favor the thought that people tend to be selfish in their actions. For most of my life, cynicism was a lonely affair. Talented cynics are rare.

With this last election, what emerged was that many more people jumped on the cynicism bandwagon…in fact, most of the country did.  The questioning of events became something beyond mere questioning or raising of differing perspectives – it became harsh, damning, vicious and even threatening.  People confused a healthy skepticism with outright attacks, distortions of the truth, unfounded conjecture, or lies.  Little memes put on social media not only attacked candidates, but the people that supported them.  In a given week I was indirectly accused, on the net and by quotes from politicians, of being deplorable, a racists, a sexist, a misogynist, and xenophobic (which is true, I am against aliens coming to our planet).

Politicians tapped that twisted bitterness, exploiting it for their own agendas.  Talks of “The Resistance” emerged.  People showed up at congressional town halls, not to make a point, but to simply be loud and angry. They confused live meetings with being on the internet.  People protested things that were made up.  In Berkley CA, the students rioted against people that did not agree with their ideology. What happened to “When they go low, we go high?”  Berkley only lacks the book burning to be the very fascists they claim they are rising against.  The irony is not lost on many of us. The left, in sending messages of “resist” are creating a new political climate where anger and even violence are being ordained by their leadership. Know this, the chant of, “Resist” will eventually lead to violence.

The media has attempted to convert this cynicism into news.  They parade pundits and political consultants on the air as “experts.”  Almost every political consultant/expert said Trump was not going to win the election right up until midnight the night of.  They had one job to do every four years and blew it, by astronomical proportions.  Yet how many of them lost their jobs as a result?  None.  So why listen to their take on anything?  They are literally making stories off of their speculation and guessing, which we already know to be faulty.

The blur between outright lie, misperception, speculation, and reality is a threat to our very way to life.  It leaves us with no source for the truth because all truths become suspect.  In a world divided by cynics there is no calm voice of reason.  All that remains are snarky and biting commentary and division.  People that never had a voice before share the same space as experts.  The internet has not elevated us, it has lowered the bar to provide every moron a place to voice their often bizarre frustrations.

Cynicism is a good thing, in proper doses.  Thanks to the internet, everyone believes they can thrust their opinions on others.  Anyone that does not agree with them is to be bashed in social media.  For many, it has driven them to not express any of their personal opinions on anything other than their preference regarding cats, lest they become a target.

This is not a game of “the loudest voice wins.”  Most of the time the loudest voice is just that – loud (not right).  Cynicism has a place in our society.  It is good to question authority and our leaders.  What isn’t healthy is the thinking, “You can only question leaders of the other party.”  We have gone past cynicism here and have entered the realm of talks of ousting a legitimately elected leader because half the country didn’t vote for him.  This is a dangerous road these newly branded cynics are goose-stepping down in the name of “resistance.”

To the people who have decided to become cynics in the last year – stop it.  Most of you are not doing it well; and this was my thing so it’s okay to judge.  Remember, every time you bash a politician you are simultaneously attacking those that voted for him/her.