A few nights ago, a group of countries reached a treaty with Iran to start working on its nuclear stuff. While it is newsworthy, I don’t have any idea what happened or its impact on me or my neighbors.
Sure, I can parrot back news headlines and what my senators have to say about the deal–but could I explain it to a sixth grader?
Not a chance. And I’m not alone.
Most people in the United States are not foreign diplomats.
Most people in the United States are not nuclear engineers.
Most people in the United States know about foreign relations and nuclear treaties based only on what the media shows them.
This morning I woke up and on my Facebook “Newsfeed” one of my friends was calling Obama “a dangerous president” because of the deal we made last night.
Another friend said that “our country is going downhill and now taking the rest of the world with it.”
I kind of thought — “Really?” Is that what you think based on your years of experience in the field?
Or is that what the news channel that you decided to watch told you?
Our age of 24-hour news has made all of us “experts.” We all have our “expert opinions” that we try to shove down other people’s throats on social media.
I’m willing to bet that neither one of my friends who commented about Iran’s nuclear program has any reason to think what they think other than “well, that’s what a particular news channel said” or “well, that’s what a particular senator who disagrees with the President said.”
None of us know what exactly is going on in that program.
None of us can fathom what’s at stake.
None of us should think that we know better than experts just because we watched a certain news channel.
The age we live in is showing just how quick we are to take sides and fight to the death for something we know nothing about.
We know so little and yet we are so willing to put everything on the line to tell everyone how much we know and why everyone should agree with us.
A year ago, I “knew” that the guy I voted for was “the bomb.” I couldn’t wait to rub it in the faces of people who lost the election. I was super-arrogant about everything, too.
I am beyond grateful that I’ve been humbled to the point that I have realized just how little I know about everything that I was writing and fighting about last year.
It has made me see how silly people who think of themselves as progressive or politically active look so much of the time.
I believe in having opinions and I believe in voting for the person you think will do the best job carrying out your opinions.
But I do not believe in pretending that I know anything about other countries’ nuclear programs. I don’t know much about those who go through years of specialized training to understand Iran and its nuclear options.
This week is Thanksgiving. Instead of trying to provoke people into arguments on social media, why not set aside arrogance and opinions, and be thankful–so thankful–for the little that you do know.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Gandhi