Very often, I don’t know. Je ne sais pas. Often, Je ne comprends pas.
About the Clinton emails, for example, I haven’t been following. I don’t know much about Hillary Clinton except that certain people I respect who do know about her have no respect for her, despise her, but on the other hand … This binary thing. Of course I have an opinion (first definition in my online dictionary: ‘a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge’) about Clinton, but that’s not the same thing as thinking. I have an opinion about the silly things, about the way Clinton is so often called Hillary, while Trump is Trump. I have an opinion about the way this whole thing is played out on the media that reaches me. I have an opinion about the way meatballs should be cooked (poached, since you ask; no need to pan-fry them first).
I’ve recently come out of Facebook, or maybe just ducked very low, because of this: it’s a medium that excites immediate opinionating, and I was doing that, about things I hadn’t thought through, and I was getting into binary arguments I shouldn’t have, and was being liked or disliked, but a lot less than I was disliking myself for getting into this mess.
Radio phone-ins: some are very good, they filter. The comment threads on news sites are moderated but less filtering, they are more a free-for-all, which is their point? Current online Guardian offers me the opportunity to opinionate about the US election, Bake-Off, Uber, Russian involvement in Syria, England cricket team selection and something titled ‘The end of cleavage’. I could, if I could be bothered, comment on all, not least the cricket thing, which is a part of my life, and the Bake-Off thing, which I’ve never watched but which I still, oddly, find myself opinionated by, but why?
There is news and there is news, the latter being people’s opinions (those party promises, all of them: ‘We will listen’) which are scrunched, analysed by well-paid people and then themselves become the news, and then policy, and then round we go again, and can someone get a grip? I’m thinking, enlightened despotism. Because this way of democracy clearly isn’t working (and not just because I disagree with some of its decisions).
The Brexit vote was won by the comment threads, the surrender to opinion. Not thinking.
No, I don’t distrust ‘the people’. Among them, the 27.8% of the electorate, well over a quarter, who didn’t vote in the referendum. The 33.9% of the electorate, over a third, who didn’t vote in the last general election. More people didn’t vote at all than voted for any particular party. I do trust; see last post. I trust in a third of the electorate’s disaffection from political rhetoric.