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The Tentacle


December 1, 2003

“Through A Glass, Darkly…”

Alan Imhoff

Have you ever wondered whether or not you are being told the truth by those in a position of authority, or are just being spoon-fed enough to make it seem real?

Just after Thanksgiving I received an e-mail from a friend who lives just over the river in West Virginia. The message contained a picture showing President Bush along with two generals in a camouflaged position obviously looking at something. As there was no description along with the picture, one could only surmise the “photo-op” was taken at the Baghdad airport.

While there was no official text to describe the picture, somewhere along the line of posting the picture on the Internet, someone pointed out the fact that the President was looking through a pair of high-powered binoculars – with the lens cap on!

I realize security was extremely tight and photo-ops were probably rushed because of it, but to circulate a picture like that begins to make one wonder. You can probably think of several fitting captions, so I’ll leave that to your imagination.

For me it illustrates what all too often is the real picture that we don’t see, because to be politically correct or to make reality fit a political agenda, things are often not what they seem when told to us by the handlers of information.

It is not relegated to just government, don’t forget how great things were at WorldCom just a few years ago. I am sure you can think of a hundred other examples.

We are now in the midst of another presidential election. We will be inundated in the print and video media with all those politically correct statements crafted by consultants that have their eyes on demographic voting patterns, and I know they don’t have the lens caps on.

Candidates will serve up broad statements tailored to appeal to a litany of our concerns based on research done with focus groups. As the name implies, “focus” cannot have a lens cap on.

Photo-ops will be staged to make it seem to us these candidates are really doing something, even if the lens caps are on. We will have a steady diet of 30-second sound bites. (So if I were to use a dietary analogy here, I would say there wouldn’t be much meat to go with the all-inclusive “let us….” we’ll be fed.)

And the sad part is we still accept this same old pattern during elections. Since most of those we vote for seem to be always “running for office,” wouldn’t it stand to reason that what we see and hear during campaigns also has a tendency to carry over into elective office.

Remember we don’t call it “smoke and mirrors” for nothing.

How many elected officials close to us are looking through economic binoculars with the lens caps on?

How many officials at all levels were looking through those binoculars just a few years ago when taxes were flowing in to government coffers? How many bothered to take the lens covers off?

As we go down the stretch to our primary election on March 2nd ask those supporting presidential candidates, those running for the 6th Congressional District or U.S. Senate, and even the Board of Education what they see through their binoculars. Even with the lens cap off, do they know what they are looking at? Do they have a clear picture of what they see? Can they tell us?

Or is all we are going to get are the 30-second sound bites and perhaps a fuzzy picture?

Maybe instead of those in, or seeking office, the questions should be directed at us. Maybe we are the ones holding the binoculars and we choose to keep the lens covers on.



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