Seeing the forest and the trees

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

My first few weeks on my last job, I went to the owner a number of times with suggestions and questions.

When I explained that I was bringing all this up because I knew that pretty soon I wouldn’t notice them anymore, he understood.

We often lose the ability to see what’s in front of us because the familiar fades into the background over time. I recently saw a “what’s wrong with this picture” brain teaser showing a bus. The answer was that the door was on the wrong side of the bus.

Here’s my point:  First-graders consistently spotted the flaw, while most adults failed. When our minds have too much to deal with, we routinely developed blind spots; can’t see the forest for the trees as the old saw (saying) goes.

Upon learning that this newspaper was open to new guest columnists, I decided it might be more productive to share my concerns in print rather than with my dog and cats.

My concern is for America’s future. Most folks know about the Titanic, a massive, powerful beautiful ship which sank, of course, when common sense was ignored for foolish reasons. Having been warned of massive icebergs ahead, the ship nonetheless sped on because fools decided setting a record was more important than the precious lives onboard.

Even after hitting the iceberg, many folks went about trivial shipboard pursuits because they were uninformed. The ship was positively going to sink, but most passengers were unaware until it was way too late to help themselves.

Like the Titanic, America is massive, powerful, and beautiful. However, I worry that our Ship of State, like the Titanic, is on a very long voyage across a very deep ocean. Where America’s journey differs is not icebergs ahead, but rather a slow, steady leak.

I see Americans increasingly being told what to do and what to think.

That legion of voices, like a clever illusion, aren’t always obvious. My goal in writing for you is to question events, share verifiable facts, provide food for thought, then hope interested folks can better see both “the vase” and the “kissing couple.” 

Uninformed Americans are like sheep grazing near a wolf’s den.

Larry Sass is a guest columnist from Charlotte Court House. He can be reached at