Use critical thinking skills for nat’l politics

Matt Adelman

We could have, fairly easily, not written anything beyond that headline and gotten our point across. The last few weeks in national politics have revealed how easily we as a nation are swayed, like tree branches in a Wyoming wind.

The health care debate, which we highlight this week on this editorial page (the two syndicated columnists offer two very different viewpoints), filled much of our social media feeds and seemed to
dominate the national news programs. How you felt about the House bill that passed mostly by party lines depends on how you feel about Washington politics in general, which news programs you watch and whose social media posts you bothered to read. Rarely in this debate have we witnessed true critical thinking, such as weighing opposing opinions, checking the facts versus the hyperbole and memes, and deciding for yourself if the proposals mesh with your world view.

Instead, we have been force fed days of inaccurate “facts” and opinion poised as news. That flood of propaganda has had an impact on our collective psyche, and not in a good way. It has made us switch off critical thinking and turn on emotional, knee-jerk reactions that only serve to divide our country deeper because we feel like we are drowning in a pool of despair and helplessness.

The reality of the health care debate, of course, ranges somewhere in the middle between the GOP’s chant that ObamaCare is collapsing in a horrible, painful death (it’s not there yet) and the Democrats’ insistence that the GOP plan is inhumane and criminal (it’s not that bad). We would do good to think about that before we post another meme.


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