Those who believe in the Law of Attraction say the more attention you give a subject, the larger it gets. In one of his many programs on public television, Dr. Wayne Dyer put it this way. Suppose you’re in a shopping mall and you see a store filled with ugly lamps. And you say to yourself, “Those are the ugliest lamps I’ve ever seen. I hate those lamps.” But then you go into the mall and purchase fifty of those very lamps.
That’s what seems to be happening on the current political landscape. In a recent edition of New York Times, columnist Charles Blow says, Enough is Enough; it’s time for that to stop.
It won’t, of course. As a nation we seem to be suffering from the DT’s–delirium tremens, a Latin medical term dating from 1813, which translates literally to “trembling delirium.” The DT’s are usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol. But perhaps overexposure to any toxic substance might produce the same symptoms. Consider what those are: hyper excitability, anxiety, irritability, agitation, tremors, seizures. The DT’s.
Looking at recent press coverage of the galloping campaign for the soon to be vacated White House, the diagnosis seems to apropos. But at least some in the media are beginning to realize they’re being played.
The great Walter Lippmann once wrote:
“The news of the day is an incredible medley of fact, propaganda, rumor, suspicion, clues, hopes, and fears, and the task of selecting and ordering the news is one of the truly sacred and priestly offices in a democracy. The power to determine each day what shall seem important and what shall be neglected is a power unlike any that has been exercised since the pope lost his hold on the secular mind.”
When I was a cub reporter, still cutting my teeth in journalism, I kept that quote on my desk as a reminder of what I’d become involved in. Eventually I would eventually veer away from journalism on the belief, promoted by Hemingway and Garcia Marquez and buttressed by my own experience, that it is an impoverished form. Nevertheless, the Fourth Estate is essential to our democracy. Although we don’t seem to like priests much these days, there’s no denying the power invested in the office.
Will Charles Blow’s call to abide by Law of Attraction put an end to the DT’s? Probably not, but at least he’s taking a stand.
As my friends in Australia say, “Good on you,” Mr. Blow.
And good on you, too, Michiko Kakutani, for giving us something else to focus on this August 28, 2015, fifty-two years after Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered the famous speech everyone knows him for.
Ms. Kakutani’s essay on the lasting power of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” was first published in the New York Times two years ago during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Thanks to Twitter and the power of the Re-tweet, it’s available again-–and most worthy of our attention.
Why spend your time looking at ugly lamps when you can fix your gaze on a “radiant vision of hope”?