Summer’s here – time to sign off and get out there!

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Jonathan Weiss
Jonathan Weiss

Social networks are an odd, but necessary animal in my world. From keeping up with the latest Veteran geared news, to commenting on the current status of our initiative, there always seems to be something to write, or catch up on. The newsfeed on one of the more popular Social Networking sites, which reflects my friend’s posts, comments, and shares, seems to be a petri dish for American pop culture. There isn’t much that isn’t shared, and for the first time in my life, I think there may be too much information coming at me.

Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, life was fairly simple. If it was news, it came on two stations at five, or landed at your doorstep early the next morning. Our days were filled with everything away from the phone. From baseball, to family dinners, we existed to share our life experiences with others in person. Computers came to my world in the 80’s, and I remember my first one, the TI994A from Texas Instruments. It didn’t do much by today’s standards, but it was intriguing, and made me wonder if all those Science Fiction books from the likes of Asimov, and Niven, were really going to come true in my lifetime. If I could have only seen what was really on the horizon. 

Here we are, in the glorious future, which was so painstakingly drawn out for us in those novels. Flying cars, and trips to the outermost regions of our galaxy, along with glass domed houses, transporters, and peaceful unity among the human race… That is what our world looks like, right? No, sadly it doesn’t resemble that at all. However, we do have some incredible technology, made incredible advances in the fields of medicine, and science as a whole, and figured out how to blow each other to kingdom come one thousand times over! Some great and noble advances, and some not so great, or so noble. We are here though, and regardless of what this future was supposed to look like, this is what came about.

That incredible technology, which is allowing you to read this article, can open your world to so many ideas, thoughts, and opinions. However, it is the opinions which have begun to dominate our lives, and our perceptions, disguised as facts. No longer to we have news organizations fact checking everything that comes at us, or television reporters who investigate, and make sure that what is disseminated to the public is accurate. Instead, a lot of us rely on what we used to call hearsay, and pass it along as actual news. While that may seem a little innocuous, it can, and has, lead this country down a very slippery slope. The public is awash in millions of news bites, tweets, and posts, which all claim to be the real deal, but as time as very often shown us, are nothing more than… opinions.

The Fourth of July is just about here, and the weather has definitely started to resemble something like summer. We are all excited for some time off, and millions will share all these exciting events with their friends instantly, via their mobile device. We will all peruse our friend’s photos online, and receive their texts, and wave a flag or two, all while watching the pyrotechnic wonder which will be blasted off before our eyes, and ears.

So here is the patriotic point, the subtext, the meaning behind all that I have put before you today… Engage yourself with your community, your family, and your country. Become a participant, instead of a spectator, in this, your, amazing life. Challenge yourself to become a more knowledgeable individual, and never take what you hear, or read, at face value. Technology was meant to add to your life, not become it, so strive to make more memories, and fewer posts… But most important of all, remember what makes the United States of America such an amazing place to call home is that we are free to not only dream, but turn those dreams into reality. If we can remember these few things, there is still a chance for flying cars painted in Red, White and Blue.

Jonathan S. Weiss is a United States Marine Veteran and the President of Veterans Outreach Initiative of Texas (VOIOTX).

In 1999, he and wife, Maggie, moved back to the area and Weiss has worked to help other veterans in the community since. You can read his full bio here. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole. 

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