Homework for Adults

OK, this is the age of opinions. I get it. Social media has created a platform for everyone to feel like an expert on the topic of their choosing.  60 seconds of scrolling should make any sane person question why they spend so much time arguing with friends, family and mostly, total strangers about politics, or other crimes against humanity.

As your friend and fellow community member, before you dive knuckles-deep into your keyboard and publicly embarrass yourself, I urge you…. no, beg you, please  take five extra minutes to try and understand the topic of which you are preparing to launch a tirade! It not only makes you look stupid, it makes us all look stupid.

Some of us remember the days of helping our kids with homework. If math and science weren’t challenging enough, there was an occasional research paper requiring citations, none of which could be Wikipedia. Remember citing sources? A source is a place where you find reliable information relevant to the chosen topic. Keyword: reliable.

In this example: The building and naming of the new Civic Center Arena.

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Todays Two Cents ‘author’ falsely believes the Civic Center Arena will be built with property tax revenue.  Further, that naming the building after Regional Hospital is some kind of tribute to them. If only this person would have paid attention to one relevant article or TV news story in the past four or five years, they could have learned the following:

The original Civic Center was built using the same funding source that will be used to build the new arena: sales tax revenue. To be exact, a little less than 1/2 penny of your sales tax contribution, otherwise known as the Vision Fund. All of the many additions over the last 40 years have been built either with the same fund, or revenue generated by the Civic Center. No property tax.

Regional Health is the region’s largest employer with well over 5,000 employees and growing. Yes, they are a non-profit hospital and they are exempt to property taxes, but their thousands of employees do, in fact , pay sales tax and property tax. And a lot of it. Some of our community’s highest wage earners work there and those positions cause the creation of other good paying jobs and more importantly, the generation of cash flow in our economy.

Regional Health, as part of their system-wide re-branding, has purchased the rights to name the current Civic Center campus. $3.6 million over ten years is a much neededArena boost to the Civic Center operation which is paid for by revenue generated from events held there and a supplement of BBB tax, our tourism tax. In other words, Regional – soon to be Monument, is paying $1,000 per day for the right to have their name on the buildings. It’s good for the City and good for Monument. It is a marketing contract.

I’m sure the person who used a few of their precious moments on earth to contact the Rapid City Journal’s “Two Cents” about this property tax atrocity will soon be attacking something else with the same ignorance and vigor as they did this topic, and nothing I can say or do can change that. I am simply pleading with you to use calm discernment before going off half-cocked. We will all be smarter for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Morning After (Election Day)

Someone will win, someone will lose, and initiated measures will either pass or fail. NowVoting Booth that the election is over: the world is neither a better or worse place. The Sun will rise in the morning. Nothing has changed in the overall scheme. The happiness or relief sought from this election cycle has not, and will not come.

There has been a great deal of political wrangling over fixing the broken system, ousting corrupt politicians or bringing about dominance of one political party over the other. Prepare to be disappointed as this is not the first, or last election cycle where these things are on the ballot.

As time goes on, it’s clearer to me the system is not broken as much as we, the people are. Social media has become the dumping ground for political rants, threats and conspiracy theories. Friends attack each other, relatives issue ultimatums over family member allegiance to a politician or a cause. Made up statistics, unverified “news“ accounts related to history or political activity have rendered social media perhaps THE primary tool of misinformation rather than a source of entertainment. Unfortunately, politicians must use the same platform.

Terms such as misogynist, hate, corruption, liberal, conservative, fascist, patriot, traitor and others have definitions that are now fluid, changing with each generation and antifa-nov5sometimes with each new noteworthy event. If you don’t accept something or someone, you hate them. If you disrespect a woman you’re a misogynist. If you stick up for women’s rights you are feminist. If you support the president, you’re a fascist. If you are against the president, you’re a traitor. These things have nothing to do with politics or the political system but have more to do with people and are sometimes byproducts of media-hungry consumers waiting to be fed by antagonists. Our ability to influence others seems to be decreasing while our need to be heard by others is increasing. This noise is drowning out civility in our communities.

I ‘m not saying we are headed for civil war but we can certainly expect more civil and social dysfunction over our obsession with self-relevance on social media. Here are some points which could be important for surviving the effects of social media storms resulting from the midterm elections and leading up to the next election cycle:

  1. It’s OK if you don’t express your opinion publicly.
  2. It’s OK if you don’t react or respond publicly to someone else’s opinion.
  3. Neither democrats nor republicans are ruining the country.
  4. Different opinions are not wrong, they are just different.
  5. It’s OK (and encouraged) for you to become involved in government policy making.
  6. Arguing with others on social media does not constitute being involved.
  7. A Google search is not the same as research.
  8. Attacking your friends and family, especially publicly, will only create loneliness and isolation.
  9. Check social media post sources before you read them, believe them and especially before you share them.
  10. When in doubt, post about cats or children.