Farewell To Our Trusted Advisors
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Farewell To Our Trusted Advisors

Are you seeing this? The Presidential campaign emails, the Party fundraising emails, the Senate candidates emails, the local office candidate emails, the ‘cause’ emails for everything from A to Z? I get a lot of them—and I don’t Spam-flag them, either, unless they are particularly pernicious (and there are a lot of those!). I save them all in a folder: ‘Politics’—I mean for it to be a resource for future historians, should they happen to come across my digital footprint in later eras. It fills up an email (I use MS Outlook) pretty quickly—so every few months I save the entire folder’s emails as a text file. Then I clear out my email, which runs better when it doesn’t have to manage a big archive of past emails. And those text files are the smallest file there is—there’s nothing smaller than a text file—just a string of ASCII characters—it is my preferred way to save my info. But I do archive some of my stuff as a Word Document, because a text file won’t save the font, the italics, the bolds, or any picture—and any hypertext won’t save the URL it points to, just the link’s text ‘description’ or label.

Even so, I’ll save a text copy as well, for these formatted files, just in case—it won’t save everything, but it will save the typing—and the rest is usually just icing on the cake. Back to the emails….

Some of these emails are asking for participation in an e-Petition or a Group Email to a certain representative or government organization. I like these. My Norton security has a wonderful function that lets me just start to fill out a form with my first name’s first letter—et Voila!—the whole name, address, phone, and email address fills itself in—I love it. So I’m always happy to join in, unless I’m not sure of the issue—those I ignore, because I don’t know who’s side I’m on.

But these petition-type emails always end just the way the other political emails start: Please help—Pay here. And I do—the first time I got a fundraising email from Obama, we gave. Planned Parenthood, we gave. Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief, we gave. But just the once—we can’t afford too much sharing of our money with strangers. And Claire and I try to make annual contributions to charities we like—those (except Obama’s) do NOT include political causes—I’m a firm believer in letting these political things work themselves out. Even if I were a rich man, I don’t think I could pay enough money to anyone or any cause that it would change the way everyone else thinks about a certain issue or candidate.

The fundraising marketers, however, think that a contribution is a big ‘Sucker’ sign hanging around my neck—and they’ll send me weekly (or daily!) requests for more contributions—not much of a “Thanks for your Support”—in fact, it kinda sends the opposite message, i.e. “That last contribution of yours didn’t help at all.”

And, on top of that, their new favorite sales-pitch is “We need more money to win an election.” I saw Santorum just retired from the GOP field of presidential candidates. And the NY Times put it, in so many words, ‘Santorum final caved under the unbeatably huge funding that Romney had.’ Is that all there is to it? I’m not objective on this score but I would have been tempted to say, “Psychotic moron finally accepts the majority opinion that he is just too sick in the head and ignorant to be a viable candidate for ‘Leader Of The Free World’”.

But I would be wrong. If Santorum had the deep pockets and Romney the minority stake in that campaign, I suppose Santorum would have won. Why? I’m almost afraid to ask the question.

Does money really make a difference? It not, politics would be the one thing on Earth that wasn’t set up to give the wealthy an advantage. Yes, it makes a difference. It enables candidates to present themselves as pure and smart and faithful (whether they are or not) and allows them to voice some pretty yucky innuendo pertaining to their rival(s). And not just in one town square, or on a Broadway stage, but on the screen that we all stare at all day long, coast-to-coast.

The news will sometimes undo the propaganda of the more odious candidates, because his or her actions, caught on video, will put the lie to their TV advertising. And, occasionally, the slandered pol will be defended by the News Media, especially if that will increase the interest and speculation (and continued interest in the News Media’s reportage) about that race. When I first heard people talking about money the way they used to talk about votes (Remember voting?) I thought to myself, ‘well, why don’t people just find things out for themselves, and just ignore all the B.S. on the TV?’

Then it occurred to me—where would this place be? Where does one go for pure facts and figures, minus interpretation by the news-tainment industry? Everything is on the internet, right? So I imagined what would have to go down for this to happen. Firstly, I’d have to figure out how to navigate online resources available from government branches, legislators, and the Supremes. Then I’d have to buy a map-App, so’s I could see the voting districts’ borders and the ecological surveys done by the EPA, and government oversight of Super-fund sites, and infrastructure maintenance, etc.

Then I’d want to read back issues of the New York Times, the LA Times, and the Washington Post (these will contain a lot of misinformation, but they will also outline the debates and issues themselves) and peruse the Census, read a few good history books, and read (or better, memorize) the Founding Documents, scan through the Congressional record…. Well, it’s a lot of research. And those are just some first steps towards real political awareness.

We used to have someone to do that for us—several someones, in fact, including the recently departed Mike Wallace. Giants they were--experts on and objective observers of the political process—people we could count on to give us the skinny, the straight dope, the goods. The opposite of what we’re stuck with in the present—biased and commercially-sponsored entertainers with no more expertise than I have.

I propose a solution: Find a well-respected University which is known for its MBA, Economics, and Poli-Sci programs. Have a new form of work-study wherein those majoring in these areas compile the pertinent facts about issues, bills of law, candidates, and campaigning. Let it be known that there is an .ORG or a .EDU site where all information is clearly and concisely reported on with an understanding of what it all means and how it all works. Such students should be learning this stuff anyhow (one hopes!) and why let all that effort go to waste? Perhaps a network of campuses throughout the USA could be a ‘political’-Wiki, dedicated to objectivity and fact-checking.

The system we have now was based on the old concept of News, back when journalism was a calling, rather than a job. Without that referee to keep the playing field even, of course advertising (read ‘campaigning’) will decide the outcome—retailers of consumer goods have known this for years: When your product is exactly the same as the other guy’s (or, perhaps, worse than) you simply increase the ad budget and implant your jingle in the public’s mind with more frequency than Brand X.

Democracy never functions properly without information—majority rule only works when the public is informed and engaged. And, speaking of ‘engaged’, we can’t even talk compromise any more. With the middle ground blasted from beneath our feet, we can only throw rocks across to the other side—and we’re all too distracted to build a bridge. It doesn’t take long, under such conditions, to just shrug and turn one’s back on the enigma—and create the very real danger of zealots making all the calls on our governmental policies, without any input from the sensible citizens. It becomes a Dumbocracy, rule by moronic excitability and pervasive propaganda.

I guess it’s just another example of our high-tech, post-modern ability to take simply solutions and turn them into complicated disasters.


Street Talk

Christopher, Yikes! Give this man a hand in changing politics. Seriously - great ideas. Politics is a mess. blessings, CYnthia

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks, CA. 'Mr. Dunn goes to Washington'--but I don't think I could speak for more than five minutes without taking a rest! What we really need are people who want to take some time off--if those legislators really worked at compromise, they could wade through an entire thicket of bills in record time.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

great idea.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

thanks.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Wam, bam, thank you man. The political out pouring s of Christopher Dunn, done in such a manner that a person with no ties to the States can understand the very frustrations you are obviously experiencing. To be honest I find the Presidential election of the USA totally confusing, on the one hand it appears that the rich always win, the promises made before election never kept after the election, BUT and its a big BUT, we the rest of the world, rely on you there to get it right, or we get to suffer. You said the leader of the free world, well we like being free, so what ever you do please do it right that we can have that very freedom. I would hate to see another debacle like Rhodesia, where the rest of the world has stood back and seen the massacre of thousands by an unstable leader that has totally ruined the country, where they can no longer feed themselves, yet it was a country that exported food. The self destruction of countries like this has to an extent been halted by the interplay of the USA military, God forbid this retrogresses to a world ready to self destruct.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you, Rob--I was always told that good wriiting doesn't rely on assuming a shared knowledge-base--it must be comprehensible to an alien or a child--so I tend to be too pedantic to those 'in-the-know'--that's alright, I'm not really speaking to them, I'm trying to speak to the average Joe. As for 'leading the free world', I used those apostrophes to symbolize irony--the USA has many foreign commitments and military involvements--and the end result is hoped to be a furtherance of humane and fair government in all countries. However, the difficulties of military intervention in places where violence is the larger part of the problem can turn us into an unwilling enemy of peace and good order. There is also the problem of how the USA can continue its role of world-police and benefactor without short-changing its own citizens. Then there's the politics--the USA isn't an individual--it isn't even a consensus--it remains an experiment in Liberty, Fairness, and Individuality. And our most recent rounds of experimentation have created a very divided, very un-informed, and very frightened citizenry. Some of us are scared of terrorists and the rest of us are scared of having our civil rights infringed on as a strategy to defeat the terrorists (I won't go into this very heated divide in this comment). Plus, there is a great deal of resentment and bitterness directed our way by many parts of the world--some of it is very well deserved, some of it is the propaganda of dictators--but ALL that bad feeling makes us in the USA feel like our financial, military, and disaster-relief support of others is being repaid with a slap in the face. Especially when we are very publicly descending from our old place as the Richest country in the world.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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