One of the things I am grateful for is that my early education included some training in critical thinking. In not blindly accepting whatever you see, hear or read.

Well, seeing is believing they say and if something happens right in front of you – and you can feel the heat, the pain, the happiness, the relief – then you are probably pretty clear about the truth of the situation. Maybe.

But trust what you see on the Internet, or in a link you get in email? Trust what you read on shared posts on Facebook? Pretty much NEVER!

I enjoin everyone to stop and THINK! I’m not saying I have a perfect record in ferreting out falsehoods, but I grow more and more skeptical about the things that cross my eyes and ears.

Today, in two of the usual places I check to catch up on what my friends and family are up to, I saw a post to an “audition” for the voice of Duke Nukem purported to be done by Morgan Freeman.

If just that alone wasn’t enough to raise a “huh” from you, then the inane banter that was supposed to be coming from Freeman as he “pretended” to not understand what was happening should have been the second clue. It boggles the mind to believe that Freeman would have done this in the first place – but beyond incredulous that he would have let it go on as long as it did.

And as the clip went on, the voice doing the very good imitation of Freeman slipped up and his Dutch accent came out.

While this example of people not using their critical thinking is harmless enough, it scares me that they will be not be using this apparently lost skill in this critical time as we decide who to elect this November – both in the Presidential race and in the various other races.

Stop, stop, stop blindly forwarding ridiculous stories that your common sense and critical thinking should have questioned.

I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you sit – personally, I am about as middle-of-the-road as you can get (one of them darn swing voters) – just try to apply some critical thinking to the things you decide to post, share or forward.

Back when my very liberal Aunt was alive, she would send me clippings from magazines about different political footballs – the ones that supported her side of the debate. I would volley with an article debunking this point of view from my rather more conservative slant. We would then have a phone call and discuss the merits of both sides of the issues.

What I am seeing these days is no civil discourse. Opposing points of view are treated with such vitriol and disdain that it becomes difficult to contribute anything to the discussion. There is really no discussion.

The issues are so massive, so complex, that there are no easy answers. It is hard to even formulate the right questions to ask. So the only way to figure things out is to engage in meaningful dialog.

So, when you do see something that just seems odd, outrageous, juvenile, or ridiculous – put your critical thinking cap on. I’ll try to do the same.