OPINION – We typically associate buyer’s remorse with a sense of regret that a person feels after making a purchase. This shame often stems from the lingering sense of having been taken advantage of by the seller.
This kind of regret can also take place in settings that aren’t strictly economic. It can also happen in personal relationships and in politics.
Buyer’s remorse should be treated as a learning opportunity.
For instance, suppose a particular candidate campaigned for president on the promise that America was done with being the world’s policeman. What if this candidate committed to the voters that our military would only be used to defend our own country or our closest allies?
Like it or not, this is one of the primary reasons Donald Trump was elected last November, to the consternation of establishment hawks. He promised to put America’s interests first.
I can’t help but wonder how many of his most passionate supporters are experiencing buyer’s remorse, now that the president has fallen into lockstep with the establishment’s foreign policy wing by attacking Syria.
Their elation that things were finally going to change at the highest levels of American government is not squaring with reality. They got suckered into a knee-jerk response, and they’re not happy about it.
My goal here isn’t to rub their noses in it. A surprising number have been very forthright in expressing their dismay at how quickly their candidate was assimilated into the Borg mentality of Washington D.C.
This is a prime opportunity to recognize a couple of unpopular truths that might have spared a lot of people the current regret they’re feeling.
The first truth is that most of what we are fed through our mass media is not a reflection of the way things really are. There is nothing weird or shameful about refusing to accept what the media or various politicians are telling us.
Anyone who is serious about not becoming a willing dupe must accept the fact that independence of mind is the essential antidote to deception. Writer Paul Johnson had some worthwhile suggestions for what this kind of independence is like.
We must be willing to treat current consensus with skepticism and to think things through for ourselves.
This can mean ignoring or rejecting whatever the media is throwing at us so long as we remain convinced that we are doing right.
This doesn’t mean we arrogantly suppose that we alone have all the answers. It means we understand that the self-righteous rush to judgment by mass media and the U.S. government was not predicated on truth.
Paul Rosenberg zeroes in on the problem when he writes:
The facts don’t matter. They didn’t matter when Bush said Hussein was building nuclear weapons and they didn’t matter when LBJ said our boys were being attacked in international waters at the Gulf of Tonkin. They simply don’t play in these exchanges.
Too many things that have been stated as facts remain unknown and unknowable by our leaders and our media. That’s a pretty poor foundation upon which to base an act of war against a nation that has not materially harmed the U.S. in any way.
By refusing to accept at face value whatever narrative is being peddled by the D.C. establishment and its media, we don’t risk basing our worldview on calculated falsehoods.
The second unpopular truth that could spare us buyer’s remorse is the recognition that the rot that permeates Washington D.C. is systemic. Changing a few faces and names here and there is not going to change the nature of the beast.
The charade lasted for a few weeks, but in the end, the new boss turned out to be same as the old boss. Never forget that bitter taste in your mouth as the next federal elections approach.
If we’re serious about using our influence to create better, more responsive public policy, we should forget about the Beltway and start focusing on our state and local governance.
The reason our influence matters more as our focus becomes more local can be summed up by accountability. Bureaucrats who live half a continent away and are focused primarily on consolidating and perpetuating their own power don’t care what you have say.
On the other hand, your neighbor on the city council or the state representative whose kids go to school with your kids, these are generally people who don’t require that you bring a check when visiting their office.
You may not get your way in every local or state matter, but current efforts to influence Washington are wasted.
Instead of treating our national government and media as if they represent the only things that matter, we should relegate them to obscurity in every possible way.
We may just find that the things that really matter were much closer to us than we realized.
Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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