“Why is there so much emphasis these days on our differences!?!” This is the question that came up a few Fridays back over dinner amongst friends. The response returned, “Because so many people are so connected to information like never before.” I’ve pondered this statement ever since. I think he is right. People are connected now more than ever. When people can sync up to the web of infinite-info with the touch of an iPhone, knowledge is just there. But it seems to me that now more than ever the mood for McCarthyism has returned to the scene.
When did political views become so polarizing and why do we care so much? Well, the more I observe the perceived division the more I think that either we have too much time on our hands or perhaps we are listening only that medium for which we choose. When “fair and balanced” have become words that indicate a political agenda and when CNN has been dubbed communist, I’m left asking myself ‘what’s the point of trying?’
Incidentally, more out of determination to simplify and pay off those lovely student loans from seminary, my wife and I cut cable about 3 months ago, and my perspective on seemingly everything changed. From the moment we pondered disconnecting from cable, even the initial proposal sounded bizarre and wrong. We mulled over the idea for two months despite the fact that our “minimum” package was costing us over $70.00/month! Time and again we said to each other, “are we okay with this?” and “are we going to be able to make it?” Our parents though we were slightly odd, I’m sure. My mother asked if we were okay – like, really “are you guys doing okay?” The cable company representative thought we were in a tough spot financially – he was awestruck by my nonchalant response of ‘not-at-all.’
So, we did it. We bought the old rabbit ears and the conversion box (everything is digital now) for our 1992 relic of a Sony. Now we get only the local networks, a weather channel, some Braves games and a lot Jesus-TV (that’s another post for another day). We have really stopped watching a lot of TV AND we’ve started doing a lot of other things like reading, running more and playing games! By disconnecting from cable TV we have found freedom to truly connect in other ways.
I have to also say that my interest in political issues has become balanced and tempered to more important and more local connections in my life. There is a disconnecting freedom in connecting to the important things in life. It’s funny how much emphasis one can place on something so non-essential as the NEWS! It is still important to be informed. But, I am convinced now, more than ever, that in stepping away from the TV, I am stepping toward Christ and stepping away from the polemics and the divisiveness of the world.