With the election of our new President, America will be under the leadership of a child of the TV generation. The generation that grew up without electronic babysitters is fading away. What got me to thinking about all of this was an article that I read on FactCheck called “Our Disinformed Electorate.”
Since MTV hit the airwaves the popularity of fast action and the sound bite has only continued to grow -- not that there is anything wrong with either one of those things. However, the number of people who are willing or able to sit and read a newspaper, and I’m not talking about skimming the headlines and taking a quick look at a story or two, grows smaller and smaller. Talk show hosts tell people what to think and how to act. Chain e-mails and their often totally fictitious content are believed as if gospel.
The art of critical thinking, of being able to look at a story and determine if it is true, a little off, or totally wrong would appear to be on the decline. Without that crucial ability I worry that today’s and future generations will devolve into nothing more than gullible sheep that blindly follow whoever is the most popular at the moment.
When I was in school (and I’m a child of the TV generation too) we had Debate Clubs. These were people who loved to discuss a topic from all sides and would meet with Debate Clubs from other schools in a contest to see which group was better at debating a subject. Do they even have these anymore? If they do, I doubt that many of their peers would be willing or even interested in sitting through a lengthy debate.
Humanity has achieved a great many things by the power of critical thinking. I hope we aren’t starting to devolve into nothing more than gullible sheep. There is an old saying about 'stopping to smell the roses.' Maybe it's time to stop, look, and think.