Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Saturday, April 24, 2010
(This story is an example of the random train of thoughts that a boring job can take you down)
Today in the lunch line a teacher came through and she said, “I got the salad, but I really want a hash brown too. I don't have to pay for that do I? It's just a little hash brown.” Her face scrunched up in a pout and she suddenly looked injured. “It’s so cold out side…I just want one little hash brown.” I told her “sure” and we went into the kitchen. I pointed to the hash browns and asked her to pick which one she wanted because my hands were dirty. As she reached for the hash brown she sadly expressed her need for the extra item. When she put it on her plate she then pointed down and said, “Now doesn’t that look so much better?” She walked away with a solemn thank you and went to eat her lunch in the teacher’s lounge.
I stared after her in thought. How interesting. Why did she feel like she could only get what she wanted by trying to make people feel sorry for her?
That thought reminded me of a movie I watched last night called Roshomon. It’s about the trial of the murder of a man. With four people who witnessed the murder and testified with their own version of the story. All four testimonies were drastically different from one another. Each person bearing a strong conviction of his or her innocence and bravery. The trial ended and then shortly after we learned the true story through a man who saw the murder but wasn’t involved. It turns out everyone mostly told the truth but lied about his or her role in the situation to initiate pity from the judge, all in the pursuit of protecting their name.
Then that thought made me think of a conversation I had with a man named Brent Hatch. He’s the father of McKay Hatch, president of the “No Cussing Club.” Brent mentioned that another local newspaper wrote about his son’s club. The article was demeaning and misinformed, with an attack on the whole Hatch Family. I told him, "The news lies, I don’t know what I can believe anymore.” Brent laughed and said, “People see what they want to see. Just take everything you hear with a grain of salt.” After we talked I wondered, “Why is drama more important to the press than truth? Of course...money."
As I continued working in the lunchroom this question from Sunday came back to me and then I remembered something Mitt Romney said in his book “No Apology.” He was talking about personal freedoms that America stands for. One example was Freedom of Press. He told a story of when he and his wife attended the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. He said:
“The audience warmly welcomed every national team as it was introduced into the stadium, but the Chinese gave some of their loudest cheers to the teams from North Korea and Cuba. We wondered how it was possible that nations ruled by tyrants who deprive their citizens not only of freedom but also of economic substance could be celebrated. The explanation of course is that the Chinese people don’t see media reports of North Korea’s population being starved to feed the maniacal military ambition of Kim Jong-il or of Castro jailing dissidents who advocate freedom and democracy. The Chinese people receiving only glowing accounts of these tyrants; their information is shaped by a monolithic government rather than by the varied perspectives of the free press.”
Earlier on he also states, “There is no First Amendment Freedom of Press in China. The media is prohibited from criticizing certain Communist Party Officials- those who do may lose their jobs or be imprisoned.”
So then I thought, yeah, some stories of “The Hatch Family” are lies, but a lot of people and press support them too. People have a choice, they may believe as they wish, and that's part of being an American.
So then I thought of our First Amendment. It's like a balance scale, opportunity on one side and responsibility on the other. The press is authorized to print what they want, but the power of their influence gives them a responsibility to do their job well and get the information right. It seems that many people want the privileges without the responsibilities. They've forgotten- freedom means sacrifice.
Which made me think...I want to try harder. I can make a difference too.
And then I thought, "How did I get on this topic?"