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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: Windows of perception

  • Opinion is an honest attempt to draw a conclusion from fact. A belief is not based on facts leaving it inarguable.
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  • What do you see? A glass half empty or half full? Do we allow “our perception to be colored with other peoples pencils?” In his homeland of Ghana,Africa, Godwin Adadzie has studied with keen insight the perceptions that people from different walks of life spin:  “Government would declare it a fuller glass than if the opposition were in power. The opposition would toss out the contents as being irrelevant due to a change in the way such volume statistics are accounted for. A philosopher would ask, 'If the glass was in the forest with no one to see it, would it be half anything?’ An economist would explain, in real terms, the glass is 25% fuller than last year at this same time.  Financial advisors would see the glass holdings just under 50% of its net worth in liquid assets. Physicists would divide the volume into equal parts; one a liquid, the other gas.Their conclusion: it’s neither empty or full. But, a psychiatrist would ask, ‘What did your mother say about the glass?’ ”
         Is perception an illusion making it less true? We can’t calculate our center of gravity if the equation is missing the weight of truth. Views need credibility. Question your “window of perception.” Does it reflect with fact, opinion, belief, or a prejudice? A fact is verifiable. Opinion is an honest attempt to draw a conclusion from fact. A belief is not based on facts leaving it inarguable. Assertion of prejudice is a half-baked opinion based on an adverse, narrow-minded view of the world. Truth may not always be self evident, but I like to believe it is absolute. Perceptual illusion gets revealed: “the Obama Gang is the most corrupt and dangerous Administration in the past 150 years?” Is intent meant to manipulate the truth? Conservatives need intense dermatological treatment for that chronic itch they have to pin something on President Obama. Do misled muckrakers present with memory loss, failed history lessons, or both? Irrational echos of their own voice seems to pleasure them, so they keep on stirring the pot of self-deception to provoke a response.  Built on an unstable structure of beliefs, windows of false perceptions reflect “what can be called into doubt.”
        History has handed out disappointments when it is learned that the man in the big chair is not always immune to corruption. Many Presidents, or those  encompassing them, have presented with some form of contradiction. But, what is Obama guilty of?  Causing cramps of constipated hatred due to his skin color? Using him as a dartboard seems to be the only source of relief. Most accusations and controversies on his watch have been unfounded. Presidential rankings expert Curt Nichols states that history will define Obama as a “re-ordering” president. A leader who ushers in a new era of politics like FDR’s New Deal Era or the Reagan revolution that significantly increased the national debt. A “re-ordering” president follows one who was ineffective and caused the end of a political era. The Bush legacy??
    Page 2 of 2 -     Remember the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation and disgrace of Richard Nixon. It brought a new period of crisis for the GOP with indictment, trial, conviction, and incarceration of 43 of Nixon’s top officials. Loved by concervatives, even his hatchet-man, Spiro Agnew,  entered a plea of “nolo contendre” to charges of bribery and tax evasion.  
        The years before the Civil War produced an era of failure. Six of seven presidents made the worst president list. In the great game of chess that unfolded across the South, Ulysses S. Grant earned a reputation as an aggressive commander. Becoming President 144 years ago, he helped stabilize the nation, but two terms in office exposed corruption in seven federal departments. Nepotism also prevailed. Drinking problems and loss of a fortune on Wall Street left him a failed and scandal-plagued president. Once again, a Republican.
        Then there was Republican President Herbert Hoover who believed strongly in the Republican philosophy which lead the country down the road into the Great Depression. 
         Dealing out presidential judgement  requires a dispassionate look at the individuals and their accomplishments and/or failures if ideology doesn’t get in the way. Historians will pay no mind to charisma, legislative victories, or skin color. Their perceptions of fairness will be determined by the economy left behind. The 535 people in Congress will have to bear the burden of that judgement, whether good or bad. 
          German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated, “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”   And, that’s my opinion . . . .
     
     
    (Sharen Jergenson of Heber Springs writes her “And that’s my opinion column... “ for The Sun-Times monthly)

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