The bag of marbles – a civics lesson


Suppose I stood in front of you with a bag and I reached in and pulled out a marble.

A White marble.

I set it down in front of you

The next time I reach in the bag, I pull out a black marble. I set that next to the white one.

And then I reach in the bag again and pull out another black marble. And I reach in the bag again and pull out yet another black marble. And I reach into the bag 10 more times and I pull out 10 more black marbles

You are staring at the marbles in front of you and you see one white marble surrounded by a dozen or more black marbles.

And I reached into the bag again.

Another black marble.

Would it be reasonable to assume that the bag is filled with mostly black marbles?

And then I let you look inside the bag. There are loads and loads of white marbles and no remaining black marbles at all. Hundreds of white marbles are in the bag and the only black marbles that existed had been pulled out and put on the table.

But that’s not the biggest thing you see.

The biggest thing is, the biggest volume of marbles inside the bag was green marbles.

But from what I showed you, you would conclude the bag was filled with black marbles and your probably wouldn’t even consider green or red or yellow or any other color – because you were only aware of what I showed you.

Now of course you are smarter than that and you know me so maybe you knew where this was headed.

Allow me a second bite at this particular apple.

Once upon a time I was listening to a female friend complain to my wife and me about her boyfriend. My wife and I were friends with this particular friend for many years and I think we may have been at dinner or at some kind of social function, possibly a party. The friend went in and on, complaining about the guy and explaining why she was breaking up with him.

Afterward, on the drive home, I said wow, her boyfriend is a real piece of garbage!

Of course, I didn’t say garbage, but…

My wife offered me an interesting point of wisdom. She said, well, don’t take her side too strongly and say anything bad about him to her because when they get back together you’re going to look like a schmuck.

I was amazed! I said, after all the bad things she said about him, they are obviously breaking up, right? And he is obviously a piece of garbage.

My wife said if they get back together you’ll have said things she’ll remember. She was with him for a long time. He has redeeming qualities; she’s just mad at him and she’s not looking at those right now. She’s venting so she’s not giving an accurate picture of their relationship or of this guy.

I thought about that for a long time.

She was right. They got back together. I still didn’t trust the guy and many years later when they finally broke up I didn’t didn’t care. In fact, I pretty much was as arms length as I could be around him. The only information I really ever got from her about him was when she was mad at him. She was more my wife’s friend than mine and that’s just how that particular thing worked out.

But I learned something from it.

I learned about the marble bag.

And I have seen the marble bag employed over and over and over.

Mostly from our news media.

I’ve said it before, I’m a proud Republican.

I voted for Donald Trump and I’m glad I did. I’m not even gonna couch that with some kind of a coward ass phrase like “I don’t agree with everything he does or did or blah blah blah…”

Come on.

People who supported Obama didn’t agree with every single thing he did and almost nobody who supported Hillary Clinton agreed with everything she did.

Let’s not play that stupid game here.


The marble bag.

Why do so many people in United States dislike our President? In fact, why do so many people around the world dislike our President?

Well, the main reason is because Republicans never fight back when people try to smear them. They just run away. Sad to say but that’s the truth. Our guys are so dang afraid of what the media is going to say, they’re so afraid that one person is gonna be upset by one thing a Republican does, that they tend to turn tail and run at the first sign of bad news. And running away – acting like a coward– encourages your opponent, a bully, whatever.

How do I know this is true?

Well, I’ve been fortunate to travel to many different countries. Aruba. The United Kingdom. Canada. Mexico. France. Italy. Bahamas. Other Caribbean countries. Other places.

What I see in the hotel televisions and in the airports is just shocking.

There was an incident in Miami and in Tampa during the 2000 election where the news media was showing people rioting in the streets – or so it seemed. As it happens, I live here in Florida and I was present for some of those things. What our local news showed us or what we saw ourselves driving around was nothing like what they were putting on National TV. If there were 20 people gathered at a stop sign, they would zoom in and when the lights and cameras would come on, those people would start screaming. As soon as the lights and cameras turned off, then went back to sipping on their Starbucks and chatting like normal people. In other words, they were playing to the cameras. Oh well, isolated incident – right?

Only it wasn’t.

I watched on the evening news every night as they misrepresented situation after situation after situation.

And I thought, wow. They’re really really getting this story wrong.

And then I went overseas!

Oh my God, we have the worst news media – except for every other news media in the world.

I was in Italy. I was watching how they would take snippets of things here and there and play them over and over in the news, and the commentator would expand upon it, but then I would open my phone and go to my local newspaper and watch the actual video unfettered and think, wow they really got it wrong. And why were they focusing on that anyway?

Black marble.

I went to the UK. I talked to an actual reporter in a pub. And he said things like, “You are the smartest Trump supporter I have ever met.”

And I said, no I’m not.

Do you really think they’re going to come over here and open their mouths in London? Where they know it’s a far left situation? Come on. We’re not here to insult you guys or pick fights, we’re here for a vacation.

But, but, but…

Black marble.

You don’t have to believe me but I have seen this. I watch lots of news channels. I was shocked on election night because I figured Trump was going to lose. Jenny will tell you, she asked me before the election and I said well he’s never been leading in the polls so hopefully we can elect enough congressman and Senators to counterbalance whatever crazy stuff Hillary’s going to try…

On election night I couldn’t bear to watch, so I put on a movie.

Two hours later Dirty Harry was over and I put on MSNBC to see what was going on. They look like they were attending a funeral. I couldn’t figure out why but I didn’t hang around. I flipped over to CBS. Gloom. ABC. There they finally were saying that based on the returns Hillary had almost no chance to win. I was shocked – because

… Because black marble.

Because for months this woman refused to go to places like Michigan, so Michigan said if you don’t care about us we don’t care about you, and they didn’t vote for her. They voted for the guy who said, hey Michigan – how about we try to bring some of those automotive jobs back?

White marble?

But nobody bothered to really show that too much. Oh, I mean, they did, but they were running around tripping over themselves trying to get the next interview with their queen in waiting instead of reporting the facts.

Like what facts?

One of the news people who was a far left guy said he was driving through Pennsylvania and he said, “You know what? It’s Trump sign after Trump sign after Trump sign…”

And in my neighborhood and in my area, which voted for Obama in the prior election, I didn’t see any Hillary signs. I saw very few signs at all but the ones I saw were Trump signs. And I figured oh I’m just driving through a Republican neighborhood. Except I wasn’t.

White marble.

And so what I realized was our news media is extremely biased. When they took a poll – an anonymous poll – of how people in the media voted, 90% of them voted for Democrats. You can say they are unbiased in the reporting but if you watch more than one channel you will see they are not. Most of the channels say the same things and one or two other channels say something different and all of a sudden you realize there are different marbles in that bag.

But there’s something else.

What if the marble bag was clear?

What if it didn’t matter what I put in front of you, what if you could see right through to what was still inside the bag?

What if you could see the truth?

Then the person showing you the marbles would have absolutely no power because you could see for yourself what the reality was.

Shame on me for not getting to know my friend’s boyfriend better.

But I’m gonna pat myself on the back for watching a little news when I traveled to different countries.

Because I can figure things out for myself.

And so can you.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

7 thoughts on “The bag of marbles – a civics lesson

    1. No, I’m sure our media describe London as very middle of the road politically. I would have thought so, too. Then I visited. The way the voting broke down, London seems very left wing. This was last year, and I talked to lots of friends who live outside of London. People who live outside of London consider London very different from the rest of the country. I think that’s true. It may be similar to New York, where whatever happens in New York, New Yorkers think is the most important thing in the world. People who live in Florida don’t really think what’s happening in New York is all that important, but to watch the news you would think the world was ending if anything happens in New York or Washington DC that causes the least little bit of inconvenience. London seemed very much that way. But happily, London is not all of England and vice versa.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “Why do so many people in United States dislike our President?”

    Because he’s a narcissistic bully who boasted about sexually assaulting women (among other things). Apparently that’s okay with some folks … but I’m not one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoughtful and well written. Thank you.
    When did people start expecting humans to be absolutely perfect? Foolish concept pushed by self righteous and angry. (Who are soooo perfect themselves and have their own lives under control….and arrogantly say/are told/believe its their way of the highway because only they know the truth and true path…forget all that diversity and acceptance of others thoughts and culture…)
    Used to be people said “Be gracious in defeat as well as in winning”
    Used to be when a kid had a teacher/adult they had to mind that irritated the heck out of them, the sensible would say, “It’s only for a short time, deal with it. That’s the way life is. Grow up.”
    There are good people on both sides. Trump is right on that. Only the blinded by anger people can’t see that.
    Yeah, never criticize a friend’s boy/girl friend even if justified – stay a arm’s length or else it will come back on you

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I just did a blog on this. American Media vs London specifically because I was just there. Everyone does have media spin but I feel like our media spins it more dramatically. The riots in Paris recently were not over hyped based on what friends who lived there were seeing with their own eyes.
    When I compare that to the fires in Paradise Ca. All the emphasis on the medical equipment left behind, what poor planning that was. People died in their cars because the roads were too small to allow adequate evac of humans, something the town knew for decades and always put off. But yes, let’s get up in arms about the medical equipment left behind.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Dan,
    I applaud you for opening up a political can of worms. The analogy of the marbles is true and can be applied in many different ways. What I assess from your post is the media is also guilty in proliferating the divisiveness. I agree.
    Before I retired, I worked for county government and as a budget director, once a year I was in the hot seat when I presented the budget to the county commissioners. I would be interviewed by the media and when the interview was printed or aired, it was rarely accurate. It was always biased on any popular opinion especially if it meant raising taxes or not funding a popular project. Thanks for raising the issues on your post.

    Liked by 2 people

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