In the days before our present high tech means of transportation, whistle stops were how US Presidential candidates reached the potential voters. One of the famous news photos was of Harry S. Truman holding up a copy of the Chicago Tribune with a banner headline stating “Dewey Defeats Truman” and was taken on the rear platform of a train, Wednesday, November 3, 1948, at the St. Louis Union Station. Contrast that mode of communication with the May 1, 2012 television speech to the nation which President Obama broadcast live from a US military base in Afghanistan.
What used to be person-to-person and fairly straightforward has become a blinding confusing of sound and images. We are inundated by candidates debates along with every form of electronic advertising imaginable. If any one got any real clarity from such furor, it would be a miracle. The flow of information, authentic or false, via the Internet, cable TV, global positioning satellites, cell towers and even video billboards on the side bulletins in big cities continue to make communication more and more complicated.
What does it mean for the human spirit that the information flow is non-stop, that “Everybody’s talking’ at me. (and) I don’t hear a word they’re saying”? It means I hear, well, “only the echoes of my mind”.
That isn’t enough to nurture our spirits. We need to open ourselves to others’ voices so we can find our own. We need to hear their story so that ours makes sense to us. Filtering out just the right words and exchanging those thoughts honestly with one another is simple but not easy at all. It is, however, well worth the task.