In the behavioral sciences, we like to say The best guide to future behavior is past behavior.
Or, put more simply, people (and their institutions) don't like change, and don't like to change.
Watching CNN this morning as I worked the treadmill at the Lafayette Park Hotel, where I am attending a week-long leadership conference, as I didn't have control of the remote* (Dear Lord, let me return home soon!), I was forced to watch CNN "report" on the second day after the referendum in Iraq.
As you can surmise, things are pretty bleak over there. "Insurgents" are still attacking whatever they can get at. (Mostly Iraqi civilians.) The entire Sunni population did not warmly embrace the proposed constitution. (Hey, people don't like change, and if the referendum passes, there is going to be a huge change, as you all know, in the power structures in Iraq, and the historically-dominant Sunni are going to get the short end of the stick.) In fact, the situtation the very pretty CNN reporter painted seemed so dire that I began to feel quite depressed.
But then I realized what had actually transpired: a brave people had struggled to assert their right to govern themselves. A messy, rather unsatisfactory outcome.
Not nearly as neat and tidy as a dictatorship. (A return to dictatorship is an outcome that is of course still possible, when all is said and done.)
But good old CNN, "Old Reliable."
Nothing new there.
For some reason, watching their broadcast I was reminded of Dana Carvey's character, Garth Algar, in Wayne's World, who at one point, with his lip trembling, forthrightly proclaims:
"We fear change."
Yes, in all honesty, we do.
*I gave up on CNN some years ago when their collaboration with Saddam Hussein in order to maintain their "access" was disclosed.
Update: Now that I have had time to read it I see that Seneca's post, immediately below, explores a somewhat different aspect of the problem of the media's perceptions, and all of our perceptions, of what may be going on in the world.