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There Has to Be a Better Way Forward

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

By the time you read this column, the U.S. presidential election will be just a few days away. It seems appropriate to quote from President Ford’s inaugural address in 1974 after the resignation of President Nixon as he said, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” Now, we can look forward to the end of our current election cycle nightmare.

Regardless of the outcome, we are clearly a divided country, where political polarization seems to be getting worse, not better. As someone who believes in the voice of reason, compromise and finding win-win solutions to our national problems, I am deeply concerned about the close-minded positions of many Americans. As this election campaign has demonstrated, many people are paying attention only to the personal flaws of the “other” candidate. As a result, there is very little discussion about the important policy issues, about our national values or about a positive vision for the future.

I can certainly understand why someone would prefer one candidate over another, even if they are supporting the lesser of two evils. But I do have trouble understanding those people who have elevated their chosen candidate as someone who could do no wrong. Believe me, neither of these candidates is the next messiah.

Much of the responsibility for this sorry situation rests with the media. Long gone are the days when newspapers and television stations reported both sides of the story in an impartial way. Nowadays, most of the major news outlets, from Fox News to CNN to MSNBC and others, are perceived as having a bias toward the Republican or Democratic parties. Their choices of political commentators, of the daily news topics and the headlines they post often suggest a leaning one way or the other.
In today’s media world, almost anyone can publish their political opinions. There is no requirement for checking the facts or presenting other aspects of the story – one of the basics of Journalism 101. As a result, people gravitate toward the sources of information that confirm their current beliefs, rather than media outlets that might challenge their ideas.  An even more serious concern is thinking that there are simple, easy answers to the many complex challenges we face in our society and around the world.

So, how many of us are willing to keep an open mind about the two presidential candidates – their flaws and their good points? And how many of us will be willing to put our opinions behind after the election and work together for a better America?  I believe that something has to change in our media-centric world for that to occur. We need to put this nightmare behind us and move forward again.

Jacob Safdeye

South Florida Legal Guide 2016 Financial Edition
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