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(HOST) Commentator Willem Lange has been watching the news and listening to public reaction, and wonders why very few people seem upset.

(LANGE) Most of us know only what we read in books, newspapers, and magazines, hear and see on the electronic media, and garner from conversations. Our information is pretty uniform.

So how do we account for the sharp divide between conservatives and liberals? Clearly, the bias or personal interest we bring to, say, the Constitution, the Bible, the Quran, determines what we take away from it. And our problem seems to be understanding, and respecting those who derive conclusions different from our own.

Also, we’re co-opted by our circumstances. I love Social Security, for example, because I’ve been getting it for years, and can’t deal objectively with any schemes to change it.

In addition to that, none of us is receiving the facts necessary for wise choices. In the flap over warrantless surveillance of American citizens, proponents claim it’s legal and necessary; opponents the opposite. Both can’t be right, but how are we to know? Yet in spite of our uncertainty, each of us has a strong opinion on the subject.

What I find most confusing is the apparent lack of effective outrage across the country at what appears to be obfuscation, stonewall-
ing, fear-mongering, and lying by public officials. Whom do these people work for, anyway? Why haven’t I heard more than a peep about it from Congress?

The new House Majority Leader defends his lobbyist-financed travels to Boca Raton, Scottsdale, Rome, Venice, and Paris. “We can’t lock members up in a cubbyhole here in Washington,” he says, “and never let them see what’s going on around the country and around the world.” If the Congressman wants to know what’s going on around the country, I’ll send him a ticket to the Northeast Kingdom. If he wants to know what’s going on around the world, let him travel to Sudan (I won’t buy that ticket!) and talk to survivors of the janjaweed.

The President was asked recently in Buffalo, New York, about secret surveillance. In a tone implying he was speaking to a nitwit, he answered, “You can’t do it without a warrant!” That so? So where’s the outrage?

The proposed federal budget increases the military allocation, continues tax cuts to the wealthy, and slashes benefits for the weakest and poorest. Our reliance on military might has squandered our resources, imperiled the viability of the nation, stunted our imagination, and frittered away the good will won by our fathers in World War II.

Trust us, we’re told. We’re protecting you. These are the folks who ignored intelligence of a possible attack by commercial aircraft. They became convinced, in spite of expert evidence to the contrary, of the existence of WMDs in Iraq. They told us of “yellow cake” purchased by Saddam Hussein. They knew the Iraqis would strew flowers in our path. They knew Katrina was coming. Somebody explain it to me. Where’s the outrage?

This is Willem Lange up in Etna, New Hampshire, and I gotta get back to work.

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