A few days ago, I was having a conversation with my sister, and telling her about why I launched this blog and with very little consideration, she said to me “Oh, I’m not into politics…” and we quickly moved onto another subject. Later that day, when reflecting on the earlier events, I decided that I’m not into politics, though a common retort, is no longer a valid answer, if ever it was.
Before expounding on why this answer is unacceptable, I need to explore thoroughly the how. How did we get to a point where so many intelligent people simply don’t want to participate in political dialogue? The unfortunate answer is, somewhere along the line, everything just got stupid.
In 1994, for reasons I can’t truly explain or comprehend, largely on the promises implied in their Contract with America, for the first time since 1955, the Republican Party took over the House of Representatives. Their first order of business was to elect as their leader, a certified, partisan mad man, Newt Gingrich. Drunk with newly realized power, they set out on a campaign, not to better the country, but to develop methods by which they could maintain power. Little by little, one policy after another, they successfully chipped away at much of the progress gained in the prior 40 years. They did this by distracting America. For two years, they wasted time implicating the president in the death of his White House Council, Vince Foster, followed by four more years of Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinski, and just when we thought the silliness was about over, somehow, against all belief, the dumb guy got elected. Well, really, he didn’t get elected, the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented move which I’m sure caused our founding fathers to break dance in their graves, selected George W. Bush as our 43rd president.
Things began to get sillier, and when we were almost no longer paying any attention, flights 93 and 175 crashed into the WorldTradeCenter. Depressed, dejected and downhearted, we took our eyes off of the ball, and Bush, constantly invoking 911, 911, launched two wars. Somehow, to my surprise and disappointment, we re-elected Bush in 2004. Finally, in late August of 2005, hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, the levees broke, and for the next several days, we watched bloated bodies float down the flooded streets of New Orleans while the Bush administration did little of anything to help the survivors. America sobered up and realized that drunk with the wine of the world, we’d been taken advantage of. Unfortunately though, normally, when one awakens from an extensive drunken stupor, one tends not to recognize one’s surroundings. We, as a country, woke up thinking “Who are we, how did we get here, and what have you done with our country?” We finally put our proverbial foot down and returned control of the congress to a democratic majority in 2006, and in 2008 elected a Democratic President.
We were, however, drunk for too long. The housing market crashed, the financial markets crashed and the automobile industry was about to crash. On top of all that, we finally realized, those two wars that Bush started, we forgot to pay for.
Funny thing about electing the first Black President, it seems the bigots really come out of the woodwork. Fox news channel, already acting as the media wing of the Republican Party, just gave up reporting news entirely and decided to devote their very existence to discrediting the president. Problem is however, though they no longer do the news thing, they still have NEWS in their title. As it turns out, this confuses the hell out of the stupid, the racist and the perpetually angry, who appear to be the target fox audience.
Sometime in the recent past, the free press failed us. It probably began with Ronald Regan, when the day’s lead story was often what the President had for breakfast. Beginning with on-air news magazine shows like Entertainment Tonight and slowly filtering down, infecting all that used to be the fourth estate, trending issues became more important than actual facts. Today, we have and entire news network that reports absolutely no news. Eventually, through this dumbing down of the populace, the ultra-right-wing-conservative-machine was able to convince America that politics is only about those 535 people on capitol hill. Why should anybody care about what those guys do, they’re always fighting about something anyway. To further trivialize the information process, all reporters took on the aspects of sports reporters and weather girls, shining for the camera, more often than not, oblivious to the facts of the stories they report on. The rich and the powerful can pretty much do anything they desire if no one is around to ask intelligent questions.
And so we come back to the opening premise. We can no longer afford to 'not be into politics'. We lost the House of Representatives in 2010 because the media convinced us that there was an enthusiasm gap. We had already elected the first Black president and nobody running for office was that exciting, plus we were mad at the democrats for not delivering fast enough on that hopey-changie thing, so we should teach them a lesson by just staying home. Most people, when convinced that you're doing something intelligent by doing nothing at all, will always opt to take the easy way out. We can't fall for this again in 2012. You don't have to be enthused about voting for President. Voting is not exciting, its necessary to ensure that We the People are afforded equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even if you honestly don't think Barack Obama has done enough to change the process, do you really think Mitt Romney is going to do anything other than sell the country to the highest bidder and off-shore what’s left of our dignity? There is no choice, there is no alternative. You must do everything in your power to ensure the re-election of President Obama.
· Get Up
· Get Into It
· Get Involved!