Hard to believe that it was just this week that a gunman held hostages in a Lindt cafe in Sydney. Now, that story is completely gone from the news, overtaken by the kerfuffle over whether Sony should have taken "The Interview" out of US movie theaters due to threats from hackers. Earlier, we were treated to reports of the murder of 100+ Pakistani kids at the hands of the Taliban. Thanks to Pope Francis, President Obama and Premier Castro, the US and Cuba are ready to normalize relations.
It's been a busy week!
I kept pace with the Sydney siege via Twitter and live feeds from the Australian media. I guess that makes me a news voyeur, something of which I am neither proud nor ashamed. I'm just following my fascination with a breaking story. You could easily argue that I could have been doing far more important things -- like helping at a homeless shelter or leading protests about police violence -- but I sat in my warm home, searching clips about far away tragedies.
Is there some value to this?
On the down side, you could argue that my time could have been spent better elsewhere. I had Christmas cards to write, presents to wrap, floors to clean, people to visit. On the upside, I guess you could say that I was bearing witness, filling my head with history for the time when these stories will have been completely forgotten.
There is value in remembering.
If you follow politics and the news at all, and see what people have to say about it on social media, you quickly learn that many, many people have very limited memories. They forget what their political party did in the recent past. They forget the position that their representatives held just weeks ago. This lack of memory makes it easy for them to accept whatever political attack is being made against those they dislike. It makes it easier for them to accept media falsehoods. It makes them easier to control.
In recent days, I have heard Senator John McCain blast Obama for establish diplomatic ties with Cuba. But that's exactly the position that McCain had espoused not that long ago. I have heard politicians and TV guests (including one former US vice president) claim that torture was legal, without mentioning that its legality was proclaimed by those with political motivations to do so. I even heard on TV presenter claim that George Washington condoned torture, when history shows that to be a lie.
I would probably feel better about myself if I spent more time doing direct charity. But is there no value to seeking truth? Is there value to being the pest who calls bullshit when the truth is slanted or ignored?
I guess I am trying to justify myself and my preferences. I hope that at the judgment, being a guardian of truth will be enough to tilt the scales in my favor.