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When I started writing as my passionate hobby, things were much different. My on-going quest for knowledge, academic credentials and work experiences was enough to add a level of acceptance to my written opinions. I had paid my proverbial dues.

If I had then quoted a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, member of the National Academy of Sciences and Harvard University professor, such as Steven Pinker from his book “Rationality,” that would have been a credibility insurance policy that would have resulted in additional approval from my readers. But things have changed.

When I taught and lectured, I’d often ask the students or businesspeople I was addressing what color my necktie was.

Although there were sometimes minimal nuanced suggestions as to the shade, it was generally accepted that, if it was blue, the tie was blue. It was at that point that I would suggest the only reason we called it blue was because we had agreed as a civilization the name of that shade was, in fact, blue. It was a universally accepted decision. Now, even things like the color blue are in question.

As Pinker states, “We tended to use the powerful tools of reasoning we’ve discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, as optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others.”

That tie is blue.

Then the lid came off, and a significant percentage of us began to hold on to fallacies, biases and illusions as our information sources. Even though our world functioned because “we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself,” this alternative belief system took hold.

That’s when professional liars and grifters began to play deeply on our prejudices, weaknesses and delusions and struck nerves that, to many, made sense. Their lies were surrounded with just enough truth and that truth seemed so real that rationality went out the window.

In a recent SNL monologue, Dave Chappelle alluded to the debate in which the soon-to-be 45th president said straight out that the game is fixed, and he didn’t pay taxes, didn’t play by the rules, and didn’t succumb to normalcy because he didn’t have to.

As Chappelle described it, admitting this information by someone who had benefited so deeply by a rigged system was a truthful revelation that had never previously been disclosed on a presidential debate stage.

The then candidate went on to say that, “If you want everyone to play by the same rules, change them.” This resonated so deeply because no one in the billionaire class had made such open statements about such matters in the past. Yes, our elected legislators had better pensions, better health insurance, and could invest in stocks about which they had insider information.

In addition, many of them had become rich on the same system that was depriving the working man of fair wages, opportunities to expand their wealth and protection from prosecution enjoyed by that protected class.

Education, the FBI, CIA and Judicial branches were all openly criticized, and this caused one ah-ha moment after another with those who had been suspect of them in the past. Yet, none of those significant slanted rules changed, and the rich got even richer.

The challenge for us as a society now is to attempt to find ways to begin to agree again about the color blue. We all know the system is often distorted, but openly destroying it, denying it or ignoring it will leave us all in a state of unhinged chaos. We have lots to do to fix these flaws.

I received a text immediately after the election that read, “I’m over politics … it doesn’t matter who is in charge. Just a slight of hand while both parties screw us over. I’m moving on.”

Let’s move on together and work to fix what needs fixed.

Let’s agree on what really is Red, White and Blue, and respect each other as we move back together.

Nick Jacobs, of Windber, is a health care consultant and author of the book “Taking the Hell Out of Healthcare.”

Nick Jacobs, of Windber, is a health care consultant and author of the book “Taking the Hell Out of Healthcare.”



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