Brian's Corner

The elections are over. I can now watch television again!

It seems the buildup to our elections has been extended to begin right after a winner is announced, while the time it takes to announce a winner has been extended to weeks after an election. It’s all becoming one big blur. And, in Ohio, for months leading up to elections we’re inundated with television ads— not the nice, jingly type that exude warm feelings and higher callings. Some of them were down-right nasty, with each side using misleading assertions, pronouncements and mud-slinging. 

Along with the commercials, it seems there are entire shows and line-ups dedicated to politics. When did politics become so central to every televised news story? Frankly, I’d like to watch the news without wondering which political slant biases its content.  What would Walter Cronkite think if he watched television news today? Like Clara from Wendy’s 1980s “Where’s the beef?” campaign, Cronkite would probably wonder… where’s the news?

In ways, we’ve allowed ourselves to become lazy regarding how we absorb news, how we digest the content, and how we consider other/opposing viewpoints. There’s too much “my way or the highway” thinking (or not thinking) going on. And now we’ve been introduced to the expression “Fake News” to rationalize away any story with which we disagree. 

This topic resonates with me as Thanksgiving is just hours away. Fortunate families across America are gathering to enjoy a good meal, good fellowship, and hopefully, good conversations.  Some will choose to not be with their families, however, to avoid politically induced food fights or breakdowns of basic decorum. I regret that I am one of them this year. The past few years have been anything but “Leave it to Beaver” when my siblings and I gather and the discussion turns to politics. For many, politics has invaded these family gatherings, making them uncomfortable, to say the least. 

Politics should not be a blood sport. Turkey should not fly around the room with stuffing and mashed potatoes (save that pecan pie, please) following behind in its trajectory. If we can’t have respectful conversations about important issues with our own families, how will we with friends, colleagues, neighbors? I’m struggling like many of you to find ways to bridge these divides.

As we pause to say thanks this week, I encourage us all to pause from all that is divisive, and to celebrate what unites us.  We have much to celebrate in our families, in our work lives, and in our communities

Among my blessings are the colleagues I work with each day at CSU along with the hundreds of alumni who engage with us in Northeast Ohio and across the country. Thank you for your continued support, advocacy and Viking spirit.

Best wishes to you all for a calm, respectful, joyous Thanksgiving. Please “gingerly” pass the gravy!

Brian Breittholz,
Executive Director, CSU Alumni Association
Assistant Vice President, Alumni Affairs