Aural Astigmatism

Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.     Ben Franklin

Astigmatism is a defect in the eye. It’s caused by a defective cornea focusing light incorrectly on the retina. Our vision could be 20/20 but the brain’s visual centers get a blurred image.

I get the impression people suffer from a form of Aural Astigmatism like when a human’s ears detect a sound and misinterpret the meaning of that sound. Or the person fails to properly define the dangers associated with the production of that sound.

I live in a very rural community. You’d miss it if you blink or get a green light when passing through the intersection of gentility and graceful quietude. But, alongside the road is an active railroad. Trains pass while conducting commerce on a regional and national scale. At night you hear a deepening rumble on a regular basis. The trains whistle when approaching the road crossing, warning of the imminent danger traveling at what seems like cosmic speeds for something so large. But, because of the frequency, and regularity of the incident, because of the similarity and repetitive nature of the activity: we accept anything sounding similar and mistake the one – for the other.

Several years ago I heard the familiar rumble in the night. The sound was closer than I thought normal but I accepted it as a matter of the clarity of the air and the barometric influences of the time. I rolled over and slid deeper into sleep. The rumble came closer and I noticed what I believed was the actual huffing and chugging of the locomotive as it glided on its rails toward its final destination.

Then the roar came. It was a primal sound ending with an evil shriek and the thunder of Nordic Gods hammering destruction’s anvil descending on my little corner of Asgaard. It wasn’t a train.

It was a tornado.

I actually slept through a tornado’s approach and passage over my house. Five houses east of my home the twister descended to tear the roof off of an elderly woman’s house and let the rain cascade in. Trees on the lot next to her fell and then: it was gone.

This is an example of Aural Astigmatism. I thought I understood, based on my experience and belief system. I nearly suffered great loss because of my prejudice toward believing it couldn’t be a different element creating the sound. I was sure the sound was a train. My aural astigmatism accepted it as such.

When we hear politicians speaking they’re transmitting a message. Sometimes it’s what we want to hear. Other times it’s not. We must listen closely to interpret and understand what’s exactly being said.

Hope and Change. We all want to live with one and expect to enjoy or suffer the other. But, without proper attention paid to the details of the speech we can think we hear one thing when the speaker means something else. Not all change is good if the element propelling the change is contentious to the desires of the people to be changed.

You can look at anything from 360 directions. There’s no solitary truth. Democrats have no more answers than Republicans and vice versa. Being an acceptant, compliant droid of any political ideology is dangerous. It’s dangerous because as a person says: “I’ll protect you”, and directs you to stand in one place (ostensibly for protection), he could be herding you to an area he can control you better. What appears beneficent protection could become de facto slavery. Paternalism could be an Overseer directing his slaves. Commanding directives issued from the foundational platforms of political ideologues can sound soothing, but a Judas Goat’s bell tinkles pleasantly while leading his brothers to slaughter.

Looks, and sounds, can be deceiving because the intent of the effort is concealable in the body of the act. It’s concealable in the rumble mistaken to be benign by impression but is genuinely malignant and self-serving in motive.

Maybe we need a set of properly Prescriptive Political Spectacles to replace the Rose Colored Glasses some people want us to see the world (and their performance) through.

Thanks for listening.

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