Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time to be plain & simple

I have undergone a few major transformations in my life, probably not unlike most people, the more years go by, the more transformations - many of which are listed in Gail Sheehey's books - in all their iterations.

But to talk even semi-openly about politics in any public discourse will in fact, freeze your opinions and thinking in time, and state, "this is who I am!" - and most times especially in these days of Facebooking, Googling and Public Online Forums - you can never undo those moments. Many elected officials and even employment opportunities have been effected by past speeches and written thoughts. It is not my intention here to equivocate. So, at some point one must be deliberate and careful lest you reap the consequences later, of an un-thoughtful moment.(**) More than a few times in private discourse I have found myself guilty of just that.

My most recent life-change was based on my personal development after a car accident and the 5-year recovery time from it. (including 6-weeks in intensive care) Having been close to losing my life - I have thought carefully about when to start re-staking my Social and Political positions again, as well as being ever mindful of my own advice . See above(**)

First, my political, and philosophical position and a short history of it. When I was little and a bit too-young to even hold an opinion, I found myself paying more attention to what my parents were saying (or not saying). My mother had few opinions other than what I could and couldn't do :-) at least none she often shared. My father (said, he) was an Eisenhower Republican and when I started listening to his comments at age-nine (9) or so, he was also very much a John Birch Society sorta' guy.

And, sadly, my father's opinions also reflected the more common opinions of that era, that one might associate with a man of his age raised in the Anglo-centric "South". Moreover, my father was not shy in blatantly sharing his opinions with me, even attempting to rationalize them with pseudologic. All of which after age ten (10) or eleven, (11) I stopped taking seriously and began vocally opposing - and still to this day oppose - being a product of the "Love Generation".

Back in my school days, unlike present day, I found then it to be rare if ever, that a teacher would venture a personal political opinion to the class. Furthermore, having been in high school during the Nixon Vietnam War years, my personal, political-social philosophy and opinions bordered on being that of an anarchist... Young and stupid, I know. During those years, having payed attention to the sources I exposed myself to - I was also somewhat "anti-corporate". And, having watched too many formulaic movies over the years, where the big bad evil corporation was always an all-too-easy target, I still have that anti-corporate thing simmering low-down in my guts.

But all that being said - and after some college, I started a short lifetime of reading from multiple sources, including some education or perhaps indoctrination into the finer workings of the American economy. And, also having been trained in earlier years as an NASD multi-licensed Investment Advisor... I can also say that even in the most liberal of scenarios - giving the "Corporation" a free reign with multi-level lobbying influence throughout our "political infrastructure" is probably a bad thing.

Conversely, harshly reigning-in the "Corporation" to the point where it is choked and intimidated through a too-strict tax structure or even adverse statutory meddling can causatively "spook" high net-worth individuals and institutional investors out of risk-taking, business-building ventures. That is also bad, and I believe, a worse thing. But only worse - if you want the country you were born in to do well. If you don't, or have been taught and remember only how bad America is - and happen to be in a progressive, more *evolutionary* frame of opinion, then, go ahead, Make Mao's day.

Today, looking around me, I find the political climate and published discourse within most standard media, to be almost toxic. And, not surprisingly, most all standard media is - Corporate and/or Mainstream. Corporate/Mainstream Media by definition, or has an ongoing, vested financial interest in keeping the public reading, watching or listening to their  (newspaper, magazine, TV newscast, or radio-cast) ads and/or commercials.

This remains true regardless of which political spectrum-point from which the individual piece of "media" speaks. Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative, Balanced or what-have-you. They all need, as a first priority - to keep the conversation going amongst their target audience so they can keep selling their product, (the advertising) which gives the corporation a profit, maintains market share, which makes the investors happy - keeping people employed. Capitalism-Free-Market 101. This is not necessarily or inherently bad... but becomes deceitful and unethical when and if *any* media source fails their audience by not disclosing bias, opinion or personal points of view, in whatever publication or presentation... by whomever, and in whatever, it may be.

Disclosure = good. Hidden Agenda = bad.

The truth of a thing is historically seldom associated with actual truth, but is more simply about getting the largest possible number of people in agreement with a scenaric narrative, (root: see definition #3) that displaces truth. History and history-books can and are being changed - in just this way.

Under the guise of being informative on whatever level, "Corporate/Mainstream Media" has become a de-facto Fourth Branch of government. The media's power under the above disguise (the displacing of truth) is insidious.

The only way for a society  to combat this effect is for us to behave as thinking, patriotic individuals rather than allowing ourselves to be herded together into ideological groups be they large or small. Every individual deserves respect. You were raised with a set of values - those same values you have continued to develop as a thinking, feeling, learning and growing human being. You deserve to be communicated to respectfully, rather than with an undisclosed bias or political ideology which is is disrespectful - and as mentioned above, deceitful.

If we begin to think of ourselves as "the governed" rather than as sovereign individuals our Constitutional Republic will become a veritable "cultural hegemony". (I know that's a mouthful!) This is a concept that states that one *class* of individuals (the elected elite and their patrons) become rulers or dominant over another... class (us). This is the same way (not surprisingly) long-term elected politicians are behaving today. They see the will of a large majority of the people, and then vote in opposition to majority will if it happens to suit their agendas. 

Well guess what? In our Constitutional Republic, the people are sovereign... that means that our elected Representatives vote from the *consent* of the governed... that's us. If the Representative you elect - no longer votes how they are told - the *we* in "We the People" are charged with voting them out. Or, if we've have been groomed,  manicured and trained like horses... and behave as we're told... we therefore, have a ruling class... and have de-volved into servitude.

So, whom to trust? How about only yourself? Inform yourself from all angles and from as many sources as you can make the time for. Be aware of the vested interests of all forms of media and try to sift-out the opinion, from fact, and make up your mind so it is right for You, your Family, your City, your State, your Country and sometimes, yes, even your Planet. That seems to me the right thing, but is also a thing that requires the individual to stop being duped by any single or set of, vested interests. No groups, no constituencies. If your sources of information and reference are all opinion-based and short on balance - then you are doing everyone, especially yourself and your family, a dis-service.

Watch some CNN, some FoxNews, some Network News, Some Local News. Read some books, history, fiction, non-fiction. They all have relevant ideas that will get you to thinking. Buy and read a local paper, *and* a big-citypaper or their online analogs if you are in a small town. Speaking of online, get in your interest group and read some online blogs and *in* that blog they'll mention which blogs they hate, linkout and read some of that... If you are not yet into RSS feeds check them out ,they will save you tons of time and widen your perspective. It's your responsibility to be a complete person not just another bloke with an opinion. If you're not reading anything you disagree with then you are not growing or changing. And if life is about anything, it is about change. My favorite saying is "Change, is the only constant".

Look at the bigger picture. In the average "media du-jour", the message is dumbed-down, aimed at small groups, then lumped-in with a larger groups before being wholesale sold into voting blocks based on ideals and lobby interests that may not be good for us as individuals, families or country! When the platform from which they opinionate, has something to sell - BEWARE. Watch your wallet and sift the opinion for bias.

Look at it like this... twenty percent (20%) of the left - will never change their minds. Twenty percent (20%) of the right will never change their minds. The vast sixty percent (60%) in the middle only need to move a few percentage points in either direction, to sway an election, school board, or Congressional vote. The actual battle (for hearts & minds) is always for that swing vote of several percentage points in the middle. This is why keeping your skeptical eye on the conversation in the media and sifting out the truth is so important.

My advice? Don't be influenced by the sway of the opinion, but by the truth of the matter. Plain and simple.

Today, looking around me - I find my opinions on issues tend to be on the side of small government, limited taxes so business can grow, medical care to those in need and limitations on expansion of welfare/entitlements. No one should go hungry, or suffer, or be in want of necessary medical care. Limit taxes but let's make sure the aforementioned can be accomplished. Within those limits my vote is yours if you will represent my vote in your Federal, State or Municipal elected position.

My position on the state of affairs in our country? Simple and plain.
  1. The fact that Corporate Media has become a virtually a fourth branch of government, is elemental and dangerous enough to warrant extreme vigilance.
  2. Individualism; too many individuals have allowed themselves to be segregated into group identities and have stopped thinking about what's best for them as individuals. An Individual can accomplish anything in a free-market Republic like America.
  3. If there is a safe "group think" that carries with it less harm than good... it's a group of Americans all-inclusive.
  4. Our teeth as self-informative truth seekers have been dulled, softened or even pulled - by our own compliance with, media spoon-fed, believe-what-you-see & hear-most-often, and our lazy natures.
Part of *being* plain and simple is to state one's position so that it is understood by most, and misunderstood by few. So, let me (again) be plain and say that "we, here in the USA, as a culture, are in danger of losing our heretofore national identity. Our previous identity was inherently simple from a cultural point of view... The USA and it's citizens were viewed by ourselves and others as winners and leaders both culturally and economically. Winners in almost every measurable/meaningful category. We used to unequivocally lead the world in so many things. And now? Mostly it depends a little upon whose statistics you are using.

Americans are winners and leaders in standard of living, percentage income per family, education at all levels, disposable income, medical availability, energy production and worker productivity - to name just a few. In many other important measures and categories, we continue to lead.

But arguably, many in which we lead - do not make us look like winners. Prison population, illegal drug use, prescription drug use, highest corporate taxes, obese population, and foreign weapons sales - to also name a few.

Our overall picture is more good than bad, but without question, we can do better. How we can do better is another article so I can keep this one also arguably, plain and simple.

Vote them ALL out. Start fresh with normal citizens in positions of power. They are more afraid of our guns than our brains... and both of those facts should scare you.

Please tell me what you think - and what you've got to say, by clicking on "Comments" below.

We'll talk again.