If you have read this blog for awhile, you know that I have tried to keep politics out of it (recently) and moved it to another blog where since the election, I've let it go there also. The following is going to be about politics in the US, but also how writing about it impacts my thinking for the future of this blog.
Being a person who likes to understand people and their motivations, I naturally gravitate toward politics. In this last election that has led me to wonder why Americans voted as they did. To me, those (who aren't religious fundamentalists and aren't extremely wealthy) who voted for extreme right wing candidates or even those who stayed home, acted against their own personal interests. Is that nobility or a lack of understanding what was at stake and what each side was really doing versus what they were claiming.
Personally, I think a lot of people were convinced to vote as they did based on clever advertising and a media (blogs, newspapers, magazines, talk radio, cable, and network television) that swamps them with information, semi-information, and misinformation that caters to their worst instincts. THAT is what I think. There are others trying to figure it out.
So that brings it back to this blog and my own personal problem. How do I write about something like this positively? Cannot.
Well then, how do I ignore it? There's little doubt if I could ignore the news, not read the newspapers or editorials, I'd be happier probably. I mean my own life is pretty good. I am not a young person just starting out but one getting old at the end of what has been a very prosperous time in America.
So I'm okay except, how do I write upbeat pieces when inside I am sickened at what I see happening to this country I love so much. This isn't really about partisanship, in my opinion, because I see some of the same things in both parties. Can I really just involve myself with what is good for me? If people like me turn our backs and let it all go, where will it go?
The thing is though, I have this philosophy that comes down to-- only invest myself emotionally and physically in something I can impact even if only in a small way. What can I or any of us do about this right now? We can't vote for two more years, but can we do something through phone calls, letters, taking polls, forming groups, and talking to each other about it?
Surely righties and those independents, who really turned this election, can see what is happening to the middle class where so many cannot find jobs enough to support a family, where the poor are in worse shape? Do they really believe Democrats were behind that? Didn't they notice when a bill was put forth to make it less attractive, tax wise, to send jobs overseas, that it was the Republicans who blocked it?
And health care? The right wing is paranoid over the fact that there was any attempt to make sure all Americans can get health insurance. This is something they don't like but why? We just had a newly elected Congressman, who ran on getting rid of public health care, complain because his own government health care won't kick in until a month after he starts work in January. That's different. It always is.
Republicans talk about concern for jobs but then vote against things that might really help create them. They still evidently believe in trickle down which is why they are fighting tooth and nail to keep the tax cuts on wealthy Americans. We saw for eight years how they didn't worry about the deficit with that tax cut that was not budgeted and likewise two wars put on the tab. It comes down to another old saying-- talk is cheap.
Where it comes to my blog problem, another question comes to my mind-- will it all be okay if we just think positive? Does impacting our own lives count the most? If we ignore what we are seeing right now with this cultural debate, will it be too late to turn it around? Is it already and we should ignore it and get someplace we can enjoy our lives even if the country falls part?
Frankly I am frustrated with the ill informed. I am mad at those who get their information from a source that makes them comfortable but doesn't challenge their intellect or preconceived ideas. If all we hear is what we want to hear, lefties or righties, how can we be sure it's the truth?
You know, I understand the right wing leaders who are paid off by the wealthy to do what they do, to protect their real constituents, but how does that explain voters who worried that the rich might not keep their tax cuts? How do they ignore seeing the rich getting richer with more and more distance between them and everybody else? Do they really not care that some families can't go to doctors for routine care because they can't afford it but it's not them; so it's okay? This kind of deep economic canyon between the rich and everybody else has happened before and it NEVER was good for any culture when it did. Do righties still buy trickle down when the Bush tax cuts proved that doesn't happen?
Recently I got this idea for a blog where I'd look at the demographics of who watches which programs. Culturally I thought that might be interesting. I had noticed when watching MSNBC nightly news that ads seemed aimed at a certain group of people. It was mostly ads for insurance companies, investment firms, vacation resorts, from companies like Chevron informing us what research they are doing with their profits, ads selling vehicles including Silverado trucks, pharmaceuticals for problems ranging from diabetes to erectile dysfunction, movies like 'Fair Game' (the story of the outing of Valerie Plame), and pretty much advertisements that would tell me those companies assume the people watching have some money to worry about and the stress to go with it.
Next, I needed to watch a Fox news program. Eek! But I had to know who advertisers think the typical Fox viewer is. The least bad of the nighttime lot seemed to be Bill O'Reilly or so I thought. I used to actually watch his shows before that network became nothing but a shill for one political agenda.
Well I can tell you the advertising doesn't vary much from MSNBC. There were little differences like the movie was one telling us how wrong we are about global warming, but generally similar ads.
But watching that show, listening to O'Reilly, the way he ignored the lies in George W. Bush's memoir (some so blatant that anybody could check them against facts), I thought this is going to be real hard to stick it out for an hour.
On Bush, check out this link for some questions to ask yourself regarding his-- [Decision Points] and let me know how anybody defends that man, how anyone can look at the Bush years and not fear where this takes our country because Bush might be gone but the ones who elected him twice are not.
O'Reilly slanted any news he covered toward the right and smugly (I can't begin to tell you how smugly) ignored anything at all that would make the right not look good or the left seem reasonable; and finally, the last straw, how he had Glenn Beck on to talk about how he has been tearing at George Soros as the one who caused the Holocaust (yes, it's close to that bad) and how Soros has brought down good countries and now wants to bring us down.
Glenn Beck, like a mean Pillsbury doughboy, is a self-satisfied, possibly mentally unhinged, sinister, (the rest of the words that come to mind aren't fit for a public site) and after listening to him talk about what a wise man he is for trying to destroy Soros, and listening to O'Reilly saying nothing to deny it and seeming to even agree that at least Soros wants to do that, I felt sick and still do. Try this link for what Beck is doing (and this isn't his first target as Beck always has to give his audience red meat, an enemy, and Soros makes a big target):
It's true that [George Soros] has put a lot of money into politics in this country but in what way that benefits him personally? Has he tried to get his taxes reduced like the Koch brothers? Maybe he's gone after deregulating the financial institutions or ending environmental regulations to his own profit? No, and righties know it. He's worked for causes that won't personally benefit him financially but that he sees as deadly serious.
I read a comment from one rightie who said Soros had to be bad because being a multi-billionaire, if he was good, he'd be a Republican and donating money to their right wing causes.
How about this for Soros's motives: He saw what had happened with the Nazis and has worked to prevent it wherever he can; and for all the righties that resent the comparison, look at the signs from tea partiers with the Hitler mustache on Obama and tell me that a lot of them don't worry about the same thing but in reverse!
Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, attacked NPR using the Nazi fear: “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.” Now Ailes has since apologized but the Nazi fear card was what leaped to his mind.
Ignoring Ailes' lie that NPR has to have government funding to stay on the air as they get most of their money from viewer donations, it's clear that playing the Nazi or Hitler card registers with a lot of people. We know that Germany, mostly good people, let themselves be taken down a path that if they had thought at all surely they'd have rejected. Soros, as a Hungarian Jew, saw this happen, and worse to the Jews in his country. He knows a lot more about it than Glenn Beck.
So can I, can any of us from the left, really look the other way for a year where reports like the Simpson-Bowles apparently continue to do a number on the middle class-- [Deficit Report].
[A good example of one direct hit on the middle class from this proposal is to eliminate the home interest deduction on homes of more than $500,000 for federal income taxes. It might surprise you, if you look at the cost of homes today, to learn that isn't that much money many places like California or on the East Coast. As home values do continue to go up in many areas, this loss would hit a lot of middle income earners-- plus further complicate the income tax forms as who decides the value of a home. You know, a lot of people bought their homes with that deduction taken into account for what they could afford. We need more foreclosures? This change wouldn't impact the rich who can pay cash for their homes. It is a direct hit on the upper middle and mostly younger families as by the time you get to my age, most have paid off their mortgages.]
Should any leftie or really rightie feel good about this last election where the country went the exact opposite from two years before? Where is the security, with yo-yo voters, that it won't swing back next time when we have no idea why it happens as it does? Some say gridlock is why they did it. Evidently they want nothing to happen in Congress; except if nothing happens why exactly are we paying them and their staffs?
I haven't wanted this blog to be part of the many Ps and by that I mean pestilence, paranoia, propaganda, perdition, peril, plague, panic, promoting plutocracy, and provocation, as I see it on the news, talk radio, blogs and a lot of newspapers. What is that purpose besides stirring people up and for what? But I also am wondering can we really not be involved for the next year? Will it be too late by the time we get ready to choose a president again?
So I am taking a short break from writing this blog (other than maybe an occasional photo) to give myself some time to think deeply about this. It's not easy because when I think about it too much, I want to run around the house tearing my hair out.
I'll be back to it when I have something to say most likely with a series of blogs on evolution, global climate, science, and possible steps we can take for ourselves in case the life on this earth does take a turn toward the dire. I see these topics as all interwoven with what is going wrong with our culture today. To do that will take research and some time to pull my thinking together. As I see it now, it won't be political so much as cultural.
In the meantime if you have something to say that would make me feel better, some of your own thinking on this issue as a reader or writer of blogs, I'd love to hear it. Or if you just want to rant (on either side while avoiding personal insults), feel free. This really is a global issue because in every country there are two sides, two kinds of people, two different ways of believing that life should proceed. I know it's not unique to the United States or our times.
Oh and because spam seems to get through the blogger censors once in awhile (a lot less than what tries to get through), this blog is back on comment moderation but not to block out diverse views, just to avoid ads for escorts. Really Blogger's new spam catching system is so good (and saves me a LOT of time) but the spammers get better at writing enough to make them look real. I have to wonder what they get for their efforts. I can't believe much!