If you are of a certain age, you remember the old 3-D glasses with one blue lens and one red lens. You also remember the disappointment of wearing them outside the theater. Instead of “comin’ at ya,” the world was fuzzy and confusing. At an early age, we learned that we cannot always make sense of the world through red and blue lenses. During election season, however, our favorite news channels or websites can often dominate our everyday, local common sense, and we see everything through our Cable News Goggles. And just like the 3-D glasses of yore, they might not always be suitable to wear in the real world.
Think about our options. One channel (or website) describes an organized army dedicated to destroying America on January 6, but the other channel describes tourists strolling through the Capitol. One channel provides alerts on the border crisis and a massive caravan about to invade. The other channel describes a group of tourists strolling toward the border. One channel tells you that isolated threats against school board members were fiction, while the other channel completely ignores a threat on the life of a Supreme Court Justice. One channel says everyone is racist; the other side denies racism even exists. Seriously, when a pretend shaman is elevated to a position of either fear or respect, it may say more about us as a nation than it does about him as a leader/villain.
Clearly, we have only one sensible path forward: Viking helmets. If Congress would require all evil-genius masterminds to wear fake fur and carry a spear, we could take off our Cable News Goggles, rub our eyes, and see state and local issues with more clarity. Someone in Viking horns may not stand out in Washington D. C., but he would invite bi-partisan laughter on any Main Street. Obviously, we have some details to work out, but clear rules about Viking helmets may be our only hope as a nation.
Fewer and fewer people actually watch cable news anymore; friendly algorithms populate our newsfeeds to reassure us that our particular view of the world is correct. Even if we pride ourselves on being non-partisan, independent thinkers, our news sources either trend to the blue or red side. That is no longer enough, however; we must pick a side, and the only thing worse than picking the other goggles is suggesting that some middle ground may exist. Pick a side, you coward!
This election season, I hope we can occasionally take off our Cable News Goggles. If we always vote locally in reaction to national figures wearing fake fur and horns, we are not helping ourselves as Okies. Instead of thinking globally and acting locally, we should flip the script by thinking locally and acting globally. Before we can export Okie common sense to the nation, however, we must rediscover it here, and we cannot do that when we blindly accept or reject national orthodoxies established by people who would never dream of visiting our communities, our schools, or our churches. No matter how mad our Cable News Goggles make us, we cannot allow national partisan fury to replace Okie common sense.
This week, I will hopefully wear special glasses to watch dinosaurs in 3-D, but I have realistic expectations. Modern 3-D goggles no longer have one red and one blue lens, and besides, a T-rex comin’ at ya is not nearly as fun as watching the real world through Cable News Goggles. Perhaps, big tech will eventually superimpose Viking helmets on people, providing us comfort and assurance that we are absolutely correct about absolutely everything. Meanwhile, the men and women running for office this month deserve to be seen and heard based on their credentials and plans – as Oklahomans – not through Cable News Goggles or as people with or without a Viking helmet.