A Country For Sale

By: The David

I’ve been watching the political campaigns, and I’ve been watching the events of our times and how they affect the campaigners, most of whom will do or say anything and everything to convince an electorate that seems more eager to punish an incumbent, rather than repair the damage inflicted on this country by wars that should not have been started, have lasted far too long and cost far too much, by eight years featuring a lack of proper economic oversight and down-right neglect. In return, the electorate has become cynical, suspicious and “easy.” So many have become “easy” in the sense that they can be won over by electioneering slogans born of huge amounts of money paid to Madison Avenue type advertising agencies. It seems that all a candidate needs to secure office today is an ego the size of Texas, and access to a never-ending supply of the coin of the realm, either his or her own, that donated by corporations or that donated by sources that can now remain unknown.

The “I” factor is a given. The need for recognition in a type A personality provides the drive. It is no longer simply a matter of going into Public Service for the greater good. It has now become a situation where politics is a means to furthering a personal agenda that seeks power and influence. There is little if any honor left in the politics of our day. To be a viable candidate one should be wealthy and photogenic. A viable platform is not needed, and honesty is a characteristic that has too often been left in the dust. A potential governor may have been mired in a huge scandal involving Medicare fraud. That candidate, with the help of a billion dollar personal fortune and through a very strong advertising campaign can refuse to comment, but can revise his own history and thus secure a place on the ticket for the office he is seeking. If an untruth is repeated often enough it gains credence and becomes today’s version of the truth.

If a potential office-seeker lacks a full wallet there is yet another way to reach a public that is more than willing to be deceived. It seems that never before have the ads been so hateful. In truth though, negative campaigning has been going on all the way back to the early days of this country. John Adams had to endure hateful calumny when he was nominated as a candidate for the Presidency. It is nothing new, but in this age of instantaneous information (or misinformation as the case may be,) words spread at a rate that is unprecedented.

A lie is told. Many suspect it to be untrue. It is spread by news outlet, blog or word of mouth. It gains credence as it is picked up by cable news, and it is repeated and repeated….. And repeated. It is no longer questioned. It is now a part of the campaign. It is truth, or seen as truth. After all, where there is smoke there must be fire.

If the lie is interesting enough it can now be inserted into a campaign advert. This is particularly true if it fits into the agenda of a Political Action Committee or Lobby. The lie, now clothed in a respectable veneer can become a part of our home lives as it blares from our television sets and radios. The ads are generally slick. They may be soft, or they may be loud. They often play on and exploit the fears of a group. Senior Citizens who may fear the imposition of death panels should universal health care ever be the order of the day or who fear the loss of Social Security payments. Conservative voters are exploited by those who demonize any advances that enhance the lives of the poor, and have convinced these conservative voters that such humane steps forward are a part of the creeping menace that is Socialism. Poor and disadvantaged persons are exploited as lazy villains and their situation is touted as being next to criminal by those who would lower their own taxes at the expense of those less fortunate. The advancement of women, minorities, immigrants and of the gay community are maligned by the religious right and its followers as a cynical means to raise fear and secure votes for those who are willing to support their agenda and at the same time raise funds ostensibly to combat the menace these groups present to “family values,” but actually to line their own pockets and further their own agenda of moving toward a theocratic ownership of these United States.

There are many groups willing to pay out millions of dollars to promote their own way of life at the expense of the country and its citizens. The saddest part of all is that we are allowing this to happen. We are allowing our country to be hijacked by those with bottomless pockets who can subsidize the propaganda that is their vehicle.

There is always an underlying agenda on the part of the individual or group who pays for the ads that influence the electorate. The purpose of the advertisement can be seen within its content. Who is paying for it cannot be as easily determined. Laws have been changed. Public disclosure of who is behind the money is sometimes impossible to determine. The financers are cowardly and hide behind names that might appear to be benign and friendly. Their names do not tell the story. These ads can be financed by narrow business interests, by radical political groups, by religious groups and although not strictly legal, by foreign business interests working through their American subsidiaries. If the viewer tries to determine who financed the ads and reads the information at the bottom of the screen as it ends, he will often find frustration either because the information appears and disappears too quickly, or because the group paying for the ad uses a name that is meaningless. What does “Citizens for a Brighter Day” tell you? How could you unravel the mystery of who is actually writing the cheque, and why?

The only defense the public can have during these campaigns is to become somewhat cynical. We need to ask; “What is the message of each ad?” Who benefits, because someone always benefits. Finally we need to look at the credibility of each ad is the President really the devil as Limbaugh seems to imply? Is Nancy Pelosi really as omnipotent as the attack ads represent? Are all Democrats seeking to install a completely socialist government? Were George Bush and his Dick really the saviors of Western Democracy, or is it possible that their politics of hate have led us to these black days? Are the leaders of the so called “Tea Party” truly looking to save the country or are they the most cynical of all, seeking to exploit the frustrations of the populace, and trying through subterfuge to put the ship of state into the hands of those who would turn the clock back and take back their country. They would take it back to the days when power resided with the people…. the right people…. the white, heterosexual, propertied male variety of people!

10 Comments on “A Country For Sale”

  1. [quote=The David]The “I” factor is a given. The need for recognition in a type A personality provides the drive. It is no longer simply a matter of going into Public Service for the greater good. It has now become a situation where politics is a means to furthering a personal agenda that seeks power and influence. There is little if any honor left in the politics of our day. To be a viable candidate one should be wealthy and photogenic. A viable platform is not needed, and honesty is a characteristic that has too often been left in the dust.[/quote]

    Uh… Was there *ever* a time in human history when this was not true? Come on – the political classes of all civilizations are egomaniacs that will lie, cheat and steal to attain or hold onto power! In fact, that’s the *only* purpose of the political class: from the ancient pharohs to the Roman senate to the Medevil king/clergy aliance to the so-called “democracy” the West knows today, the politicals never had another goal and were never above doing whatver it takes to achieve it (if you don’t believe me, read “The Prince” – nothing has changed since the day Machiavelli put his pen to paper).

    If you want anything that even remotely resembles honest leadership, don’t look to the political class for it – you won’t find it. I suggest that you start looking more locally for people not corrupted by the poisons of politics: seek out competent folks with vision and imagination who have the interests of people like you in mind – then use them as stepping stones towards building your own futures instead of letting Washington cash-whores dictate policy to you and yours.

  2. Think outside the box grainnerhuad – I’m not talking about “electing” (as if we have any say over that process anymore…) a new mayor or city counselman, I’m talking about something altogether different: picking out competent visionaries to form a community within – yet separate from – the community. Think of a sort of Stirniresque “union of egoists”-type society bound by nothing but mutual consent; the leadership being those who selected within the group based on ability (not money or media flair) and have no qualms about violating the “law” of the external community to ensure that the interests of the individuals within the union are met.

    When traditional forms of leadership fail, the only viable option remaining is to invent a new model to replace the failed system – of course, such thing will probably arouse the wrath of the present order but then again nothing worthwhile was ever achieved without a fight…

  3. I’m with you on the new model issue and the outside of the box. Unfortunately, most people willing to be in the forefront have tendancies towards grandiose thinking and even when their intentions are in the right place they tend to take a turn somewhere along the line.

    I’m thinking Sheriff Buck in his little town in American Gothic, sure things ran well but there was ultimately still no choices.

  4. I’m thinking less Sheriff Buck and more of a base social unit structured like a wolf pack than a modern social order – each social unit being very small (no more than a few dozen people) and each having a power dynamic that favors the rise of a few alphas amongst equals. However, the power of the alphas is hardly absolute: yes they more or less have direct influence over the group, but at the same time thier power is granted soley on the basis that the “pack” recognizes their competence and that they act in the pack’s best interests.

    Should the alphas lose their edge or start behaving irrationally, the pack simply revolts and installs new alphas. Furthermore, participation in the pack is not forced – should individuals within the pack become disastisfied with the quality of leadership the pack provides and finds that there’s little he can do to change it, he may go “lone wolf:” which opens up an array of new opitions for him (join a new pack, start his won with other loners, remain alone, etc…). Of course, he no longer enkoys the benefits of being part of his old pack, but then again he no longer has any responsibility for them either.

  5. Chris, that doesn’t sound much different than some of the communes that had geared up by the early seventies. Some of them actually became structurally sound; buying land, developing business, establishing financial security. Many others fell apart for various reasons; lack of incentive, lack of direction, the perception of a free ride. Hard drug users often attached themselves to working models, depleting the collective resources and causing unnecessary conflicts that invariably drew the attention of outside authorities. The authorities chose to break up these communities through various tactics; zoning codes, building codes, land use permits, business applications. They tied the hands of those who owned land but could not even afford to build a septic without being in violation of licensed contractual labor.

    The inner communities of today would have to, by their very nature, be outlaws by the terms of current government regulations. Privately owned businesses are plagued with government regulations that involve as much in how they are to treat the public as they involve licensed construction and employee treatment. Cashiers are held responsible for not being able to recognize falsified identification. The business owner is held accountable for fugitives from justice illegally writing checks using another person’s bank account. Not only does the store owner have to absorb the loss of falsified accounts, s/he must pay back the losses in cases where the check was a government issued one that had gone out for elderly care, and in which the care taker had not yet notified the governmental agency that the person being cared for is deceased.

    Small businesses are taking a beating. Not only are they being crushed under the corporate manifesto, government regulations insure that it becomes more and more difficult and expensive to keep their businesses alive. It takes a lot of ingenuity to create an inner community. The small business i work for offers an enormous number of public services, but governs our little town hall center with a panorama of cameras. These cameras are not a watchdog agency. As long as people go about their normal business, the boss doesn’t care if people get silly, clown around, collect in groups to whisper about politics, or any of the other things it might occur to people to do while mingling in a group, but it doesn’t keep employees and customers honest. Three times in the seven years i’ve worked for his business, someone tried to sue for negligence. Each time, his cameras proved it was a deliberate provocation to create the appearance of an accident. The cameras have identified vandalism and thefts that otherwise would have gone unsolved, adding to a burgeoning expense account. While the police don’t pursue petty shop-lifting charges, the business owner does in a very effective way that keeps the shop-lifter from coming back. He posts a picture of the shop lifter above the counter. To have the photo removed, the shop lifter has only to apologize to the store owner, yet most of them would rather hang in ragged notoriety above the counter top than face their guilt. Sometime soon, i’ll be covering this inner community that characterizes my home town. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  6. @ Karlsie,

    I recognize that if such independent communities were “legal” and establishment-friendly that everyone would make one – therefore I’m certain that each of these communities would be involved in a “criminal” enterprise or two: which is sort of the point – my vision of the U.S. in the next couple of decades is one defined by either a police state or total balkanization of the country (perhaps one followed by another?) and the best chance of making it through that period lies in forming small circles of trust within one’s local community that will do whatever it takes to survive. If the nation becomes a police state, such groups can form the core of a resistance. If the nation balkanizes, they can serve as a sort of socio-economic infrastructure to build a new kind of society on.

    And yes, I’m aware of the communes – they failed because they ultimately played by the rules of the system they were supposed to be rebelling against. What I wish to see is a new generation of rebel: one that doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty fighting the oppressive establishment to secure his own sovereignty – even if that means declaring war on the social order itself.

  7. [quote=grainnerhuad]Yeah because that kinda system worked out so well for Dave Koresh and all the myriad Polygamists in southern Utah, Arizona and Texas.[/quote]

    The social structures of the cults you describe are essentially no different from what the present established order subscribes to – the notion of a power that is absolute and cannot be challenged (whether that power is some kind of “god,” one man’s will or a beaurocratic establishment is irrelevant – at the end of the day some force is held as being above the ability of anyone to challenge). A wolfpack structure holds the power of the alpha as something that can always be challenged: the alphas must constantly prove their competence or step aside.

    Also, one could not voluntarily leave the aforementioned cults without the cult in question attempting to kill you – such restrictions don’t exist in a wolfpack.

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