Tuesday, July 20, 2010

While Economy in Trouble -More dollars go to propagandize ourselves

Email from a friend:

I am now getting absolutely hounded by left wing organizations for money (by e-mail.) They don't have much choice, because the corporate dam has been broken when it comes to funding Tax-break politicians, mostly right wingers who wish Reaganomics worked.

POINT: My initial reaction to this is "OK our society/economy is not designed to have this massive amount of cash disappear into the political system, we need to cap how much can be spent on this stuff."

COUNTER-POINT: The only counter argument I have to capping the money going into the political system is this: "We are a democracy, and for a democracy to work, the populace needs to be educated on political issues, which Americans traditionally are NOT. This new wave of political money is going into buying media to educate the general public on political issues, which is a much needed change in American society."

Q: Does my counter-point really justify the massive waves of cash being sucked up by both parties right now?

(My)Answer: Political commercials, no matter which candidate or agenda, are not education. Even if supporting a sane and valid course of action, a political commercial is still at its fundamental core propaganda.

My friend's email brings up a good point, but I've got a slight tweak on his terms. Money is being pumped into the political system for sure, but the industry that eventually receives this windfall of cash is the media industry -television and radio commercials, graphics artist who make flashy pamphlets, whoever creates robo-calls, and the stage hands who build the stage on which the candidate performs their "live show" while in tour.

All of the above (a diverse lot of graphics artists, writers, actors, film crews, and blue collar stage hands) are the recipients of the giant torrents of cash going into "the political system". My tweak on the common phrase is to say "the giant torrents of cash going into the advertising and entertainment industries -the propaganda system".

A few blocks from me is a large state highway bridge. It needs to be maintained, otherwise it will become unusable, or at worst collapse into the water below. The same goes for our entire transportation infrastructure, on which our way of life depends. In these lean times, when there is less money to go around, we are choosing to donate our money to create a TV commercial starring a politician talking about that bridge, rather than paying engineers and construction crews to actually repair it.

Don't want a politician working on cash raising more than working on legislative solutions? Then you want a politician like Bob Burr. He's running for Senator in Washington State. He promises to not run for a second term, which entirely nullifies his need or care for raising campaign funds while in office. Over and above that promise, he will not accept donations at all. Never, not now, not any.

Bob Burr is not just a model candidate, he is a model citizen. Burr is not accepting the current normal way things are done, and taking real and immediate steps to do it differently and honorably.

We should all be such a model citizen. Here's some good news: it's easy. We just get off the crazy train of money-fueled propaganda. Don't send your $15 to help fund an ad campaign, even for the issues you care for, and don't let your opinion be swayed by a slick right wing or left wing ad campaign.

Instead, read books, read the fine documentation online at government websites that show the actual legislation, and then talk intelligently and sincerely with those around you. That's a campaign style that is both higher quality than any media blitz, and cheaper than any media blitz.

Maybe, if we all do more of that, our money can start going to repair that bridge you cross everyday.


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