On the EDge: We can all use a break from the news

OPINION — I really, really, really need to take a break from the television, the internet, cable news, and the rest of it.

I’m sick of all the explosive divisiveness that has shattered a nation’s calm.

I’m sick of the news – the fake news, the real news and the gray news somewhere in between that borders on truth and deception.

But. I. Can’t.

I try to go onto Facebook to communicate with family and friends and there it is, the name-calling, the accusations, the anger that I have to wade through to get to what is important to me.

As a guitar aficionado, I like to go to certain pages or sites that I favor for information from playing technique to building tips.

But, first, I must hurdle the stuff that just hangs out there, click bait begging for a look-see. Luckily, I can determine what to check out and what to avoid.

I look at Twitter and it makes Facebook look tame. What was emerging as our finest, most timely news aggregation source has become a bloody battlefield where angst and venom are spewed at an incredible level and pace.

I go to my home page on the Internet to scope out what else is going on in this big old world and find myself dodging it all once again.

Look, I understand the responsibility of the media in acting as the watchdog for our culture and society. I get it. I hold that as a sacred trust. But even the most trusted sources are starting to get to me as they eke out little bits and pieces that are billed as the biggest story since Watergate.

I’m no fan of the President.

Not even close.

And, I must underscore that there is a responsibility to the truth and exposing it.

But, this nightmare right now is wearing on me.

Even in polite company, you can barely go five minutes before somebody starts railing about politics either pro or con without regard for the positions of others.

There is only so much we can take, right?

I’m beginning to wonder: What is our capacity for this stuff?

I remember the Watergate era. I saw how the media handled that story. It was one of the most important stories of the century and it was handed with aplomb.

I wonder, though, what would have happened if there were 24-hour news outlets and the Internet back then. Even Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward couldn’t keep up with it and I shudder to think how outlandish it would have been when you ponder the addition of the fake news sites and, of course, highly charged personal injections into the mix.

I remember how the Nixon embarrassment drove me away from politics entirely for the longest time. I was so dissatisfied I had no stomach for any of it as we stumbled through the Ford, Carter and Reagan eras.

Then the whole Congressional bloc took its stranglehold and ruined it all, leaving us with career politicians who do not give a whit about us.

Your politics will determine how you felt or feel about the ensuing years. I think we can all agree, however, that we have found very little we can celebrate together.

And, now, instead of pointing our anger at those who are most deserving, we are taking it out on each other.

That’s not how to resolve those differences between us.

We’re about a month into spring and I keep waiting for that rejuvenation thing to occur, that annual budding out of hope and reason that marks the season.

I keep waiting for fresh blooms, clean air and sunshine.

I know it’s out there somewhere but the drama and trauma have pulled the veil down tight and it is suffocating.

I can remember sharing words of hope and encouragement in the past, words from true believers who had the right intent and the desire to do what was best for the nation rather than a particular party, lobby or special interest.

That doesn’t mean kowtowing to power without debate.

That doesn’t mean building coalitions based on “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

That doesn’t mean forfeiting your individuality.

It does mean, however a change from demonizing anybody who dares think just a tad differently or shutting their opinions down as being irrelevant.

So, I turned on a hockey game and am immersing myself in the fluid ebb and flow of a sport of grace, speed and improvisation.

The NHL is playing the Stanley Cup Playoffs right now, the annual tournament to determine the best North American team on ice.

These guys will knock each other around a bit.

They’ll race up and down the ice at frightening speeds, but remain completely in control as they draw up suddenly and fire the puck at the courageous guy in goal.

Yeah, there will be a fight or two along the way. It’s part of the sport, part of life.

But, know what?

At the end of each playoff series, when one team is eliminated and the other moves on to the next round, these guys line up and shake hands at center ice before you can say “Oh, Canada.”

It’s not only an NHL tradition, but the sportsmanlike thing to do, the gentlemanly thing to do, even though moments before the final whistle, they were going at each other with all they had.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that?

Meet me at center ice?

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

No bad days!

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • high5 April 18, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Finally! I told you months ago to turn off that TV Thing ????. Hopefully you can n then get back to reality?

  • Proud Rebel April 18, 2017 at 9:53 am

    The problem for you, (as I see it,) is that you likely will lose a whole bunch of readers, if you move your column away from politics. After all, Ed, if you aren’t talking politics, a lot of us won’t “have you to kick around” any more! 😉
    I’ve enjoyed your columns over the years, from clear back to when your columns appeared in our local embarrassment of a news paper. I’ve enjoyed having you get my blood pressure up way past the boiling point, and I’ve enjoyed the (rare,) instances of agreeing with your point of view, (even though it was usually misguided.) 😀
    You have always shown yourself to be a gentleman, and a person of deep thoughts.
    Yes, our current situation as a country, are quite troubling. I frankly have doubts that we can ever regain our balance as a country. But I know for sure, that if we all just give up and bury our heads in the sand, that our country will continue down hill.
    I fear for our grandkids, and for their kids.
    Politics has always been a dirty game. Always. But prior generations have been able to sweep their scandals under the rug. It’s just not possible to do that anymore.
    It’s no wonder that nobody who is honest, intelligent, and capable is willing to run for political office. Nobody with common sense is willing to have their entire life, and the lives of their families, picked apart. There is no one, anywhere, that doesn’t have some skeletons they would rather not see let out of the closet.
    Anyway, I’ve gotten off track here. I’m just trying to say that this country needs you, and people like you. People who are not afraid of controversy, people who actually try to encourage others to think! Not more people who say, “I always agree with everything you say.”
    But frankly, I couldn’t care less about hockey.
    Some bad days, But no “Ditto Heads!”

  • dogmatic April 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    So so sad Eddy boy, but I’m glad you are finally in the final stage of grieving and now excepting the inevitably. The love affair with B. O. Is over and the left wing whiners was dumb enough to think that misguided love could be transferred to Hillary.
    The stupidity is mind boggling.
    I personally did not go through the grieving process when Obama was elected because I wanted to give him a chance before I made a judgement, but after 8 years of his pathetic leadership I am finally celebrating the recovery of the American I remember…….
    I’m so proud of our new First Lady, so much more class than M. O.
    she didn’t say “I’ve never been proud of America until now”. Remember that?
    Is that you Eddy Boy, are you no longer proud of American?

  • comments April 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Is it finally time to rename the column ‘over the EDge’?

  • DB April 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Ed, no one is forcing you to watch/read all that stuff. Just turn it off when you’ve had your fill. Nowadays, my fill is about five minutes (or the first pharmaceutical commercial, whichever comes first) and that goes for ALL the news networks. BTW, our country has been divided in one way or another for decades, certainly ever since about two months after 9/11, presidents both Republican and Democrat.

  • commonsense April 19, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Interesting that you think Watergate was the most important story of the century. It was about Nixon obtaining information by covert means from the Democratic headquarters which might be used for political reasons.
    How is the Watergate scandal any different than the Obama people surveilling Donald Trump?
    Yes, for months Obama’s National Security advisor collected info on candidate Trump and the Trump cabinet members covertly for purely political reasons. This is a felony.
    So maybe this is the the big story for this century?

    • comments April 19, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Yep, and how about using false and fabricated pretexts to start a war that has cost trillions and thousands of lives (Iraq). The problem with Nixon had is he made some enemies in high places. Had he been loyal enough to the banking cartels which run our political system he likely would’ve not need to resign or even close to it.

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