Isn't it funny how we all think we have right on our side?
Published 01/04/2014 | 05:34
Do you think you are brainwashed? Do you think that propaganda influences you? What about newspaper and television advertising? Does it play a role in what you buy?
I imagine most of us say we are not brainwashed, that propaganda does not influence us and that we are adverse to all forms of advertising. And at the same time we will be convinced the 'other side' are brainwashed and influenced by propaganda.
Last week Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh threw open the doors of Buckingham Palace to greet, laugh and chat with Irish guests. Everyone who went to the event came away full of praise for the Queen and thought it had been a great evening. Imelda May said she had a great night and was greatly impressed with the Queen when she came to Ireland.
Next week President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina are going on a State visit to England – the first of an Irish President. On Tuesday the presidential party will be guests of honour at Windsor Castle and that same day President Higgins will address both Houses of Parliament.
How it has all changed and changed of course for the better. It's not at all that long ago since Queen Elizabeth was no friend of Ireland's. There was a time when it was not fashionable to listen to Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Day address.
I have mentioned it in this column on a previous occasion that I have been listening to a far right wing US radio station – Patriot Radio. It is scaring me because I keep listening to it. I have heard someone on the station say that all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.
A few days after the white blue and red flag was hoisted in Crimea I was speaking to a Russian who was so happy that Crimea had returned to Russia. This woman is wise, educated and knows what she is talking about.
And the same goes for religions. Christians, or should I say, fanatical Christians, believe they have the closest ear to God but so too do Jews and Muslims.
It is most likely someone born in Dublin will be Christian, someone born in Tehran Muslim and someone in Haifa Jewish. All accidents of birth.
And yet just look around the world, look at history and observe the damage that has been done in the name of so many 'isms'.
When I hear church people bemoan the dangers of secularism I find my heartbeat jump to a new stratosphere. I consider it a gift and great privilege to live in a state that is secular. With all its faults and limitations a modern-day democracy has a lot to recommend it.
And even in democratic systems it is always possible that crazy brands of fundamentalism will raise their ugly heads. I can still remember a time when I genuinely believed that Protestants, Jews and Muslims could be bigoted and never for a moment thinking that there could be such a thing as a Catholic bigot.
These days I look about and am really concerned about the levels of bigotry that are to be seen within the Catholic Church.
Isn't it funny how we all think we have right on our side? But maybe the more we see and learn about other cultures and religions we will begin to be wiser and more tolerant of people who think and believe differently than we do.