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America at a dangerous crossroad

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If the American people are turned off about politicians, it's because that's what the press has presented to the public.

Raymond L.
Flynn

The U.S. presidential voting begins in less than four weeks, but the national media has been making a mockery out of the campaign so far. What an insult to the intelligence of the American people. The media celebrities, with their fancy suits and big salaries, spend most of their time with "gotcha questions" to the candidates while giving the audience the latest polls numbers. We already know the poll numbers. America is divided on the most fundamental of issues. If these latest poll numbers are anything like the predictions they gave us during past elections, what a complete waste of time they are.

The political commentators keep giving us their opinion, which is not rooted in experience or even the facts, instead of letting the candidates explain how they will stop terrorism, drug addiction and violence in our cities. No, for the media, elections are about controversy, ratings, money -- and them.

If the American people are turned off about politicians, it's because that's what the press has presented to the public. Manipulated and sensational sound bites and shallow "breaking news" has created a political media circus in America. If we weren't facing so many serious challenges in the world today, it might not matter very much. But I'm going to more wakes and funerals every week for kids who are dying on our streets from drugs and alcohol.

Everyone knows that radical Islamic terrorists are planning everyday how to destroy our culture and religion, while the White House and Congress demonstrate no leadership. Our economy is tanking while out of touch TV editors are sitting around all day trying to upstage their competitors with more sensational sound bites for their on air commentators. What's going on today in the media is like the old popular radio program, "Can you top this." One commentator would tell a silly outrageous story, while their co-hosts would try to tell a more absurd version of the event.

I thought that the silly season might end immediately after the holidays, but that was not to be. While working out everyday on the treadmill and watching cable news, things only got worse. To their credit, some of the candidates are trying to give concise and well thought out answers to serious problems, but too many of the questions are only intended to ignite controversy for the candidates who are in the lead in the polls. Recently, President Obama injected gun control into the debate, so now everyone has to stop and talk about that. He did so while politically criticizing his rivals. So much for bipartisanship. Whatever happened to the president introducing legislation, working with Congress to enact it, while the media reports the facts?

I listen to people in the neighborhoods as much as anybody. They recognize me, and like to share their opinions with me. Whether it's standing outside a church, or walking Broadway for hours with my grandson. I also listen to callers on radio talk shows who know more about what's going on than the so-called media pundits and political commentators. America is running out of time. If we don't get serious and take our government back from the Fourth Estate and elites, we won't have to worry about ISIS or drug dealers who sell deadly drugs openly in places like Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston.

Years ago people were called political extremists if they talked about an enemy from within the country. Well, I've never seen the country this divided, culturally, politically, racially and economically. America must come together now. Unity can only come from the people themselves, not from politicians or the media. It's time for concerned and informed people to speak out, demonstrate and organize small community meetings, just like Americans once did. We also need our religious leaders to begin to encourage their congregations and parishioners to become loyal and faithful citizens once again -- to stand up against injustice.

I don't know if any mainstream media sources will publish this statement, but you can make sure it gets circulated to neighbors and friends.

RAY FLYNN IS THE FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN AND MAYOR OF BOSTON.

Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.

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