One thing that the "information age" has done for us is to give us nearly instant access to facts and figures. Sitting in on hours of debate on any number of issues has given me an epiphany (don’t you love that word). There has probably never been a time in history when so many half-truths and slanted figures have been thrown around. It only takes a few minutes to go online and find percentages and figures that will back up any totally outrageous assertion! It doesn't matter if they can be substantiated or not, you can throw them out there to prove your point. All of us have been fooled by reading reports and headlines that were total bologna! I've been "fact-checked" on some of the columns I've written and found out I was wrong. Then someone points out an article saying the fact-checking app is phony too! I don't remember who was responsible for the quote; "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see", but it's as true today as when it was written.
This leads me into some thoughts on what is probably the hot topic of the month, Syrian refugees. This week the Missouri Budget leaders meet to discuss methods of discouraging the Governor from accepting refugees. Keep in mind that the President has threatened to cut off funding to any state that refuses to accept these people. It appears as if there is going to be at least some states that accept them. We are all being "sold" on the problems and merits of bringing thousands of people in to our country and state. Some of the pictures we see are of hoards of young men without women or children and others are of nothing but young women and children. We are told that there is going to be a thorough application process and we are told that there is no database or file on these individuals to check. We know that there are already instances of refugees that have carried out terrorist acts in our country and we know that there are refugees who are assimilating into our communities and are a welcome addition. Each side of the argument is being embellished with facts and figures that are "kind of true". It looks to me like we are going to have to do what we did before there was Internet and cable news to tell us what to think. It is ultimately our responsibility to safeguard ourselves and our families. We need to inform ourselves with real facts, not just the current media hype. I know it's boring, but you can watch House and Senate debates on television and hear for yourselves what is being decided. All of your Southwest Legislators are urging the Governor to oppose the President's plan and encourage him to find homes for the refugees in their part of the world. Perhaps by next week we will be convinced that Global Warming is causing all the terrorist problems and if we all walk to work and take a bath in cold water we can have world peace! I think this debate is far from over.