Monday, November 16, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth About Our Politics

Hello Bloggers! Long time no see! I am sorry for being missing in action, but there is a good reason and I thought I should take a little time to say hello and explain why I've taken a break from blogging. So, hello to all of you! Now for the explanation.

I've grown tired of the lies and insanity of American political debate today. It's true that it's always been a little insane, but still the lies from the right have been too much lately. Great American political debate has traditionally been based on actual facts, but the truth is those facts are now an endangered species.

It's clear that "facts" today are corrupted by deceitful politicians, non-governmental organizations, special interest groups, corporations, and many fake news sources. Even its cousin the statistic is manipulated and distorted these days. Everybody knows the unemployment rate is much higher than reported. The same goes for most other - once trusted - leading indicators.

There is no doubt, WE THE PEOPLE are being lied to more than ever. I like to call it the big con, or simply IT. It refers to many causes, but mostly it refers to information technology, which sadly creates the conditions that lead to most of today's factual distortions. Unfortunately, we are now victims of it, we are controlled by it, and we are now all part of it.

Who is the #1 enemy of it? For me, it's currently Rachel Maddow. She dispels more of "it" than any other journalist alive today. Cheers for Rachel!

Sadly few know about it since the corporate media controls access to the message, and they rely on it for most of their fake news and ratings (yes, the ratings are manipulated). In Rovian terms, it is the muddying of America's political waters, stirred-up using bucket-fulls of lies and propaganda. Unfortunately, unless it can be fixed, it could ruin the faith, trust and respect that millions of Americans like me have in our system.

Unless real reforms begin soon, proving that truth and the good guys can still win, I fear that I may be just the tip of a very angry iceberg.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still fighting the good fight when it comes to helping the good guys. I'm still writing letters and making calls to President Obama and our legislators, but I admit that blogging has lost most of its appeal. Right now I'm focusing on helping create real change through political action.

Sorry, but I never really got the sense that our blogosphere - more often echo-chamber than debate club - helps us very much. Usually it just sets us up as punching bags for the uninformed, angry right. Sadly, no matter how well you research and write it, they just seem to ignore it or trash it. It just doesn't seem worth it.

My recent feelings of disappointment got me thinking. Despite my desire for more facts, sadly, when you really research it, America has never really been a great place for reality-based politics. Historically, most American political debate has been shrouded in myth and patriotic fervor.

Consider the simple idea that we Americans have always seen ourselves as the land of freedom and equality. Is it true? It's great to hear, but for millions it is less about fact, and more marketing. The truth is freedom has never been free in this country, and we have never been about equality. The shining city on a hill has more slums than most people want to believe; the great society has never been as fair as people think.

The fact is we rank low in terms of many freedoms, at least those freedoms most of the industrialized world cares about - individual welfare, and freedom from sickness and extreme poverty. We have never been a nation built on equality.

For a rich nation, we have the highest prison populations in the world, the highest number of hate crimes in the world, and the greatest divide between rich and poor. Only crazy Republicans and die-hard, love-the-fetus-hate-the-child conservatives see us as truly free.

Unless you have great parents, or a great parent like Barack Obama, you're usually on your own. It's true anybody can make it, but helping people make it is a political no-no.

For God's sake, even Mark Twain included murder, inequality and hatred in his American tales over 100 years ago. Actually, most of America's greatest literary works have touched on our internal inequalities. What is truly American is the public's desire to ignore it's problems, and to think the opposite.

Inconvenient Historical Truths

Just think about our incredibly dark history. The slave trade, native American subjugation and genocide, a century plus civil rights struggle of inequality and murder, countless wars financed by greed and corruption (especially in Central and South America), and finally our greatest gift, the global military-industrial complex.

This is not to say we're a bad country. We have done a good job trying to set things right, and probably should be considered better than most. Still, today I'm talking about the bad.

So, whether you want to admit it or not we have been lying to ourselves as a nation for a long time, and are not always the good guys in every situation, despite what Republicans say. The time for American innocence, ignorance and negligent stupidity must end.

It's time to talk turkey about our past, our recent history, and today. We need to discuss who we really are, how we fit in globally, and where we're going. If not, we'll remain ignorant, buy their propaganda and lies, and suffer the ugly consequences.

How many question what would the world be like if only the Germans fought the Nazis? Well, we're the Germans now, and today's liars are the Nazis. Let's act before it's too late.

If we cannot evolve, then we deserve the despots who control us. If we cannot change, then we deserve the lies and the deceit they market to us as so-called freedoms. On the other hand, if we admit that America has a dark side, that we're being lied to, and that fear, greed and the desire for power drive it, then I think it's only reasonable that we find a way to pull the plug on that power.

First, we need to identify who they are. We need to name the people who are trying to control us - the ones who also want us to be afraid. As I've said on this blog in the past, we need to start by ignoring the 24/7 "news" media. TURN THEM OFF! They need to be the first we shut out, and shutdown. Second, we need to focus more energy on reaching political independents (blogging by itself may not be enough), explain the truth, and discredit the liars.

There's no doubt most of today's politicians follow those who wield money and power. Our interests have been replaced by a cabal of greedy influence peddlers, corporations and individuals from all parts of the world. It's now all about the global economy, corporate greed, and how the rich can get richer. That is the sad truth of today. It's time to see them as the corrupting influences they are; it's time for electoral reform.

President Obama must push for real campaign fianance and systemic reform. It's time to get the money out of the system.

Sadly, it's a long shot. It's clear that corporate Republicans and Democratic sell-outs will continue to undermine any progress. I'm even beginning to believe that Barack Obama doesn't have what it takes. The change we voted for (and often prayed for) is beginning to look like a sales job, or worse. Unless real reforms begin to take shape soon, the inertia will threaten to demoralize and undermine support within the rest of the American electorate.

So, what does all this ranting mean? It means that I've become so disenchanted that I can't seem to write like I used to. The lies, Republican manipulation, corporate corruption, and [mostly] Senatorial inaction have degraded the system so much it all seems futile. Unless I can see some light at the end of this dark tunnel, I will have little incentive to write about politics again. I'll probably start blogging about something else.

Let's hope the good guys can win one soon. Let's hope for real health care and financial reform. Those two alone would probably allow me to reconnect, to ignore the lies, and to fight for more CHANGE! They would go a long way to cure what is ailing me. In the meantime I'll continue to write my letters and make my phone calls, and hope for real progress.

My best to all of you. I hope you are are having a great Fall.

Monday's Political Rant - Michael