Political junk food bad for the brain
Record spending on midterm elections in 2014 mostly went to campaign ads, and most of those ads aired on television. We like to think we live in an Internet age, but the king of mass media is still good old-fashioned TV.
Widespread debate about the content of political campaign ads missed the point. Rather than trying to find out who financed which ad or voicing our disgust at how negative those ads are, a more important issue is: do TV ads really influence voting?
I hope not. I'd like to think the people watching TV ads are smarter than the people who made them. But if campaign ads do influence voting, the fault lies with voters. It's our job to educate ourselves about the people we vote for; TV ads contribute nothing to that effort.
Political ads are junk food for the brain; if that's all you eat, the headache you get will be your own fault, and it can last up to six years. Wouldn't a few hours of research be better than a multiyear headache?
Advice to millennials
Applause for conservative millennials who are organizing. This kind of local organizing creates social capital, a critical element for a functional society.
I encourage their wherewithal and intellectual chutzpah, and, as a sexagenarian, I would seek to guide.
First, I hope they will keep in mind that political organizing is fine, but they can build the same social capital by organizing a bowling league. Plus, this could be fun.
Second, be very careful with the words you publish, even more so than with the ones you read.
Third, read everything, and tirelessly vet your sources — bias is ubiquitous.
Fourth, although a social science, you will know you are doing economics when the works of Isaac Newton scroll upon your reading list.
Lastly, by definition millennials are those born roughly from 1980 through 2000. The point is that you can afford the personal developmental flexibility to refrain from buying into any kind of dogmatism at this point.
Ask before posting
Some people will put their entire lives on Facebook. They post regular photos of their daily lives and the lives of their children.
It becomes a privacy issue when these people take it upon themselves to post pictures of other people without their consent, which is wrong. Many people, including myself, do not want to be in anybody's pictures on Facebook. I hate how I look in photos, and everybody who knows me knows this. To post a photo of me or anybody without our consent is an invasion of privacy, plain and simple.
It is an individual's prerogative to put their entire life in pictures on Facebook for all of their friends to see, but it is not their prerogative to post pictures of people who do not wish to be on Facebook. Please get permission before you post. If someone tells you not to post their picture, please don't. To do so otherwise is rude and disrespectful.
Dayton police desert
I left Dayton, Ohio, to head back home after a business trip. I had car trouble and approached two police officers in a gas station to help jump-start my battery. One tersely replied that could "mess up our electrical equipment." Then they sauntered out the door and drove away, leaving this middle-aged grandmother alone and stranded.
As a registered nurse, I, too, am a public servant. I do not turn my back to people who need me, as a nurse or a human being.
To Dayton's finest I pose these questions: Is that what you would want for your wives, mothers and daughters? Would you feel at all responsible had I been harmed while wandering the streets approaching strangers for help? And why did I receive more assistance from sympathetic strangers than two law enforcement officers sworn "to serve and protect"?
Certainly those police officers would have been willing to search for my body had I been murdered, but perhaps taking some preventive action would have been more effective.
I taught my children to look for a police officer should they ever get lost. Thank God they never got lost in Dayton, Ohio.
It's good to be home.