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

9 comments:

Sue said...

Michael you speak the truth and I am proud of you! I feel the same way, So many times I'm embarrassed, dismayed, sickened by the actions of our people and our nation. Those who say "how dare you say our country is not the greatest on this earth" are the same people who put down Michelle Obama for the things she said in the past, the people who are blinded by the mistakes our country has made. The way we do not respect each other and treat each other with dignity and equality. We're slipping backwards when we should be moving forwards in our plans and our thinking. We do have a long way to go before I can say we are the greatest country in the world! I sure hope we get there in my lifetime! Take care Michael!

Mukwa Ogimaa said...

Michael,

I am in agreement with your assessment. We American's seem to swallow myth hook, line, and sinker. I do not agree though that we should abandon the effort to deliver us all into a better social contract. I've been thinking and I am beginning to think that our failing is that we are failing to define the common ground, that which binds us all together.

I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of American's on the political right are really all that much different from myself. I'm increasingly convinced that we are engaged in a class struggle. I can clearly see differences between the uber wealthy/powerful and the rest of us. Those are the people who control the corporations, foundations, banks, lobbyists, and corrupt lawmakers. They are the ones who are truly different from myself and most Americans.

They are the one's controlling the media and the debates. Perhaps this is where you can focus your energies. Don't give up the fight. We need you. Perhaps, by our force of numbers we can make IT work for us!

Infidel753 said...

I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of American's on the political right are really all that much different from myself.

You're overlooking a critical factor -- religion. Yes, of course there is a class struggle going on, but then how is the Republican party able to attract enough support to be a major force? By means of religious fundamentalism. There are tens of millions of Americans who are not rich, but will vote for the Republican party against their own economic self-interest because they believe the fight against abortion, homosexuals, secularism, evolution in the schools, and so forth, is paramount. Remove that factor and you'd have a political situation more like what exists in western Europe.

As Republican party identification shrinks, it has reduced itself to pretty much just the 20%-25% of the population that makes up the Christian Right. Religion is what enables the Republicans to remain a power even though -- indeed, because -- they've largely abandoned any pretense of a rational or reality-based world-view.

The left ignores religion at its peril.

by Michael Boh said...

Thank you Sue. I especially agree witht the idea that we're slipping backwards when we should be moving forward with the rest of the world. Who knows, let's hope it's the last gasp of a dying breed.

You too Mukwa, great assessment on your part as well. Sadly, common ground seems especially elusive if Infidel is right. Unless we can get the electorate to consider civics instead of religion when voting, we're all doomed.

Thanks for the great feedback Infidel. As usual, you hit the nail on the head. My main political concern these days is all about the independents, and how they will vote in the future.

They don't seem to see the GOP as a discredited party. They still think we have a two-party system. The corporate party continues to con them, and they continue to buy it. Unless they catch-on quick, we're all potentially doomed to go backwards even faster after 2010.

Forget the Republicans, they're a lost cause. We need to focus on the independent voters. It's our job now to teach them, and discredit those who are lying to them.

Mukwa Ogimaa said...

Religion is definitely a point of departure is some respects. Yet my faith shares much in common with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. The reality is that most faiths share much in common.

Finding and building alliances based on common/shared values is often very difficult. Especially in the face of the cynical deliberate divisive efforts of those who are out to benefit themselves. Those who insist that they have the only path to a higher power/GOD while espousing the limits of human comprehension and spirit are to my mind just a subset of those whose only concern is themselves.

Unfortunately, many people fail to reflect upon their own beliefs. My sense of things is that if you can remove the threats/fears from most peoples lives and then seek common foundations we are all more similar than different.

How often do we engage in these discussions about what we share in common? How often are the differences used to build barriers to communication? How often are the differences used to foment hatred and to divide people?

Believe me when I say, I do not have any answers. I just wonder if a change in perspective might be useful and so I offer my thoughts to see if they help us to at least start looking at things a bit differently.

B.J. said...

“The time for American innocence, ignorance and negligent stupidity must end.”

If the Web and the Internet have done nothing else, Michael, they have exposed us to “all of the above.”

The uneducated cannot detect revisionist history, because they have never learned history in the first place.

The uneducated are being told that the educated are the “elite.” This is how they are being controlled. They have been told by “the usual suspects” that higher education and those institutions long held in high regard (Nobel Peace Prize, for example) are all in conspiracy against them and against America. They know American is the greatest nation on Earth and has no need to interact with other nations or consider global problems. They believe all this because they don’t know any better.

Lacking a well-rounded liberal education makes them susceptible to manipulation by ideologues. Yet, these are, by and large, not bad souls. Most are hard-working, salt-of-the-earth folks with a strong faith in a higher powere. They are merely preyed upon because of their core values.

What is the antithesis of ignorance? The return to an education system that truly educates. Have we gone past the point of no return? It’s very possible.

As for “news,” I did better than turn off the TV. I disconnected cable altogether about five months ago, and I have not missed it at all. I decided to seek out “straight news,” and to form my own conclusions. No more “opinion” shows where I could only find validation of my beliefs rather than facts! (And, that includes MSNBC’s nightside.)

There is so much more to be said about your thought-provoking post, but I will conclude with this:

Looking back through the years since the War Between the States, most efforts to improve our nation have been made by Democratic administrations.

We came to our current administration with the highest of hopes, and it is the very people we so sincerely want to benefit, who are being manipulated into rejecting the very policies which will help them.

BJ

ghostrider6265 said...

LETS TELL SOME MORE LIES

When the administration lies, as in often the case, Obama is lying. It is hard to remember a more corrupt government in Washington, although such corruption is commonplace in Chicago. It has spread like a nasty rash, and Obama’s Recovery Lies are just the most recent evidence of corruption.
Obama Failed Recovery Lies

We know that Obama “inherited” this economy from George Bush and we also now know that Obama has pulled this economy back from the brink in his recovery efforts. (By the way the link goes to the white house video of Obama Quoting he brought the Economy back from the brink, so don’t be surprised if that link breaks at some point when the Economy doesn’t look better than when Obama took office.) The Obama Recovery is doing so well it is not only creating or saving jobs it is creating districts, such as the 9th district of Arizona that has had 30 jobs saved or created although the district doesn’t exist.

by Michael Boh said...

Thanks for all the great comments guys. GR, I don't have anything to add. Let's all just get along.

I'll try to write about the health care debacle soon. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say the whole process is making me sick. Of course the Republicans are the worst, but we all know they're a lost cause. A bad joke!

Sadly, I'm now thinking that Reid put the public option and anti-trust language in his bill just to give it all away to the four horseman of the apocalypse - Nelson, Lincoln, Landreiu and Lieberman. They never intended for us to have it.

It's all so depressing. I'm also beginning to believe the progressive Senators who constantly tell us it will all be okay are full of shit. I just don't believe them anymore. I also don't beleive much in Obama anymore. He's not doing enough.

Anyway, have a great THANKSGIVING everyone - Michael

The Arsenal said...

Great post Michael!
I think the truth is frequently less convenient than the alternative:
"One is astonished in the study of history at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, skimmed over. We must not remember that Daniel Webster got drunk but only that he was a splendid constitutional lawyer. We must forget that George Washington was a slave owner . . . and simply remember the things we regard as creditable and inspiring. The difficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and example; it paints perfect man and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth."
-W.E.B Du Bois