Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Sarcastic Thank You to the American Media and People

Why am I dipping my thanks in a deep irony sauce seasoned with a fresh grind of hostility? Because you (and by you I must indeed include me, as we are “We the People”) and the media we allow to taint our thoughts have successfully managed to befuddle and obfuscate every issue this election cycle. At times, it's been downright lies, but most often it's half-truths interpreted through our ever more polarized worldviews. I have been labeled, rightfully, in one such discussion as a “Centrist Intellectual.” (Let me wipe off the irony sauce and say thank you to my dear Deborah, who though we may disagree, calls them as she sees them, and this is I hope exactly the political persona I hope to project.)

As such, I now have no one for whom to vote. In order to receive kudos from the vocal of either side and their media masters, any show of intellectualism makes a candidate out to be not of the people. Candidates are CLAIMING IGNORANCE as a positive characteristic. Please think about that for a minute, and honestly assess of you want to support someone who claims to be no smarter than you. I can't balance a checkbook, I certainly hope the people for whom I vote are smarter than me. I want them to be smart... but I am apparently in the minority.

Secondly, there's no benefit in moderation today. Be a little in the middle as a Republican, and you are labeled a RINO and some Tea Partier will come along and kill you in the Primary. Be a little in the middle as a Democrat, and websites like “AlterNet.Org” will decide you are just part of the machine carrying on Bush policy. We have become enslaved to our false left-right political spectrum (where does anarchy fall on that spectrum may I ask?) and have paid corporate giants millions to have their talking heads on both sides stop informing us and start simply confirming what we already think we know. Obama's a Socialist? Beck said so, and that's just what I thought, so it must be true. Reagan's the devil? You bet Keith, tell it like it is! We take it and we feed our confirmation bias, and if we do flip to the other channel, it's just to see how wrong the other guy still is.

And that's if we even bother to go to a “news source.” Usually it's just a forwarded email we won't bother to confirm because it falls in line with what we think. Of course, we must then share this with our like minded friends and perpetuate those half truths ourselves.

So here I am, with no candidate to represent my thoughts except ones already in power whom I would like to replace with someone better, or hear the truth about once in a while. I can't; there's no one better running, and no one who's on the side of truth, on the side of America. If you think your political part represents true America, the simple truth is you are wrong. There is no party representing America, because there are too many of us to break into two easily definable groups, and the fact we keep trying is a detriment to our nation and our future.

I am about to make a confession. I am a Liberal. There, I said it.
Oh, you think I mean PELOSI Liberal? Oh hell no. I am a Liberal like Thomas Jefferson, the classical definition, the idea that LIBERTY should be the first consideration. The rights of the people. I see both slides wrapping themselves in that flag, and neither truly representing it. LIBERTY does not mean the Government doing everything for you. LIBERTY also does not mean a powerless Government. We have a Bill of Rights to protect us from an overzealous Government so that that Government can protect us from overzealous Businesses. Indeed, we seem to be on a path to eliminate the governments ability to do anything, and will instead sentence ourselves to slavery to banks and corporations to whom we will be indebted as long as we shall live. The corporation does NOT represent unfettered capitalism. The government MUST keep them honest, and not be enslaved to them. Simply ask Republican President and Monopoly breaker Theodore Roosevelt:

“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures. But there is another harm; and it is evident that we should try to do away with that. The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown.”
Speech at Providence, Rhode Island (1902-08-23), Presidential Addresses and State Papers (1910), p. 103

For there to be true freedom, we must be independent; independent of Government, of Corporation, of Political Party. There was a time Democrats preached that, as did this other Roosevelt:

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”
Franklin Roosevelt

I have another confession to make; I am a Conservative. There I said it.
Oh, you think I mean a PALIN Conservative? Oh hell no! I mean the one who wants to leave the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as our ruling ideal. We have to understand what that means. If we want to be Constitutionalist, our government doesn't establish a State Religion, we don't keep people from saying what they think, we leave guns in the hands of the people, and we let some bad guys get away in order to secure Liberty and privacy. Yeah, I know privacy doesn't appear in the Constitution. Primarily because the word in the 1700s related specifically to using the toilet. (Look it up- ever hear the term “using the privy”? Surely you can see the etymological evolution of usage here).

See, I think about these things, and you should too. Think, don't feel. Think, learn to cooperate, because it is what we have in common, which is a hell of a lot more than we disagree on, that will protect us from those who are jealous of what we have. Don't underestimate the internal threat though; we are more of a threat to our own Republic, either through over-legislation, or under-regulation; through taking advantage of an already ailing system, or destroying it so it cannot help those with legitimate need. The answer to America's future lies in the middle, and in thinking so we can differentiate real problems from banner issues meant to get our party elected. We indeed must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.

Now, I would like to think I haven't promoted a specific side's agenda here, particularly since I am pretty put out with both. Their posturing as left an impression of doom. Despite the S&P500 showing great progress since January, despite two years of tax cuts from withholding (which leaves money in your paycheck which you spend rather than sending you a check you put in the bank which only helps... the bank), and a severe slowdown on job loss. Also, no one came to take my guns, no one forced me to house soldiers in my home (except of course the one who pays the rent) and I am not a headless body left in the Arizona desert...yet. Also, I have not been locked in prison for my repeated use of the term “aham' d'Allah” or my possession and occasional use of Islamic prayer beads (usually while reciting the Shema and singing hymns or sitting in a lotus position). We are not as bad off as either side says, and neither side is really as bad as their detractors tell you.

But don't take my word for it. Put aside your feelings, read a lot, and THINK about it all. If you change your mind on nothing, you haven't done it right. We all are wrong about something. Go find out what YOU are wrong about. Stop letting the parties tell you it's all the other guy, because you know who's fault it is?


And that's why I am mad at us (and me too).

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Well said, Daniel. As usual. Maybe if I was as articulate as you are, we would find that we aren't that far apart in many ways. I think you expressed your frustration smoothly and made me see that I have many of the same concerns, but I don't have your belief that things can be repaired through moderation. On one hand, I want you to be right, but at the same time, I think the division is too deep at this point. I don't think the 'other' side is willing to compromise or meet in the middle, so that makes me dig my heels in all the harder. I do know that I am tired of the 'fighting', but as long as I have no indication that I will be valued or listened to unless I speak up loudly to defend my interests, that seems to be the way it has to go. Unfortunately, the middle keeps moving more and more to the left and I refuse to cross the line.