Opinion:  Law of averages


“So,” he queried, “on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you place your confidence in CNN?” Next, he asked those assembled their take on Fox News, the would-be yang to the Turner-spawned giant’s ying.  Without hesitation, one claimed a stake in the ground, “I’d give one a zero and the other a 10!” As the conversation unfolded, each pronounced their own assessment of the relative surety in these two well-recognized examples of the Fourth Estate. At this luncheon, the disagreement, while significant, did not devolve. Fervent assertation of the superiority of one position over another was interrupted by gentle reminders of similar history and shared experience. As views diverged, some subtly redirected those most vehement that relationships are not measured by a single conversation, nor should they be. Isn’t this good and responsible thinking? Shouldn’t our views be tested in the expanse of time, learning, and allowing each to mature and change to their own capacity?

But as the gathering dispersed and the check was appropriately divided, one might wonder, how do we good-thinking citizens find our way to common ground when so many of us consider the opposition to be of zero value, even as we laud our own views as irrefutable, perfect dimes? Is it possible that we are absolutely, conclusively and undeniably perfect? Moreover, is it possible that they are entirely, without question, unequivocally flawed?

As its central hook, the long-running television game show “Family Feud” polls our fellow citizens to garner an “average” American take on countless topics. It seems that we believe ourselves, in the majority, to be eights on a 10 scale as to how well-liked we deserve to be. But if half of us are tens and the others are zeros, don’t we all become fives?