Pre-Delegitimization

I believe all people are generally good, and almost all the people in my small village have the best of intentions, and would love to live in a world of perfect peace and harmony. These people work hard every day and many have a lot more experience in the real world than I do. The people of Brewster, Ohio, for the most part do a great job of raising their families and taking care of their friends. Regardless of the way the average citizen votes, I know that they generally want what they believe is good for them and their families. It is extremely difficult to sort through political garbage, channel after channel of corporate advertisements and political suggestions when parents have so many other things to worry about these days. Also mass media has changed things dramatically over a period of time. Where it might have once been completely safe to trust the main news outlets to show you the best consumer products, the most unbiased news and the fairest stories, the decreased number of competitors (from over fifty in the 1950s to six now), and the increased profit revenue margins of media in America have slowly turned it into a dangerous and complacent source. This is not easily recognizable. It is something that has happened gradually and to say it is dangerous could easily be taken as an attack at the belief in our great country. To mistrust that, which is a staple in American culture, can be extremely disturbing and unbelievable. It is no wonder that so many Americans are happy with what they have and feel no need for any change any time soon.

One thing I like to equate the death of honest broadcasting to is an idea I like to call the “popularity goodness proportion”. Most people believe that, in order for something to be popular and for something to earn time on mainstream airwaves, by virtue, it must be good. Therefore they also come to the conclusion that things that are unpopular cannot be as good. Often times in the realm of music you will hear somebody say “well, if it is so good why haven’t I heard of it?” Little do they know that the big record corporations have enough money & power to make you hear something, and make it heard often enough (through movies, commercials, television, and radio) for it to become popular, and in the eyes of the populous “good”. Take for example the Disney Channel. Disney has raised its own pop stars out of scratch, rarely do any of the “artists” have any merit, musically, or fashionably, but because they have such a big market and name, and are basically on a perpetual replay mode, they are then popular and thusly “good”. I have a sister who is obsessed with the Disney channel and within the release of an artist’s new song she will already know all of the words to the song within a day or two, when beforehand she never even knew who the artist was, instant pop start! The amount of power and control that these leading industry giants have is scary. Thus is the power of the dinosaurs of media. To quote Clear channel CEO John Hogan “It’s much easier to control people when we are all watching the same TV shows, listening to the same Radio stations, going to the same movies, looking at the same billboards, eating the same food and speaking the same language.”

Before the results of our election came in I was awestruck by the urgent yet complacent complaints of my fellow voters. Long time republicans were for the first time considering the idea that perhaps their candidate was not the best equipped to lead. The sad part is that even with this consideration a lot of them refused wholeheartedly to even consider changing their vote. Personal discussions I have had with many friends, family and acquaintances around the area generally left me with a feeling that they all felt they had to go down with their republican titanic as if they themselves were the captain. There were a few who were being blatantly racist towards Obama and delegitimizing anything(or alternatively instantly taking anything he says as legitimate) he said before he said it (one of the most disgusting and lowly levels of so called logic), but there was also pre- delegitimization from non-racists simply towards democrats. This is not to say that democrats are legitimate, simply to say that predetermining your nominee for president based on their party shows irresponsibility as a citizen of the United States(regardless of whether you are a republican or a democrat). Now I cannot truthfully say I never do my own delegitimizing towards democrats and republicans but this comes from an understanding of the wastefulness of millions of dollars spent on a losing campaign, when there is much sufferance and starvation in the world (one who can spend that much money on advertisement of themselves cannot have a very good concept of overall utility), however, there are many delicate and important aspects that must be dealt with. All of these delicate and important aspects I speak of were completely neglected by most of the people with whom I discussed politics. It did not matter if Obama had more of his plans well thought out, it did not matter that Sarah Palin had basically no knowledge of our judicial history, nor did it matter that there were more parties than two running in the race. The same, I’m sure, can be said about a lot of democratic voters as well (the stubborn republican voters I just feel are more prevalent to my personal experience of this election).
From what I had heard from what I assume to be the “average” voter across America, I did not believe that Barack Obama stood a chance at winning regardless of his or his opponent’s platform. I am not a Barack Obama supporter, I am against the use of big government in most cases, and feel that most government needs to be downsized not broadened, it is just sad to see people not even consider a separate candidate, no matter what. This presidential election I felt was very crucial and deserved complete understanding and observation of every aspect, something that was absent from both parties. If people were voting whimsically and based on no research for the presidential election, you can guarantee all the local elections were almost completely absent of informed voting. Many people I know simply voted D or R across the board with no regard to who the people they were actually voting for were.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many intelligent people on each side, many of which who spent a lot of time studying and informing their decisions, they just seem to be in the minority. It is not possible to get statistical analysis over this idea, I am simply going based off of the number of people with whom I talked to about politics in Brewster, Ohio and the surrounding area, and thusly the general feel for the area that I have received accordingly.

To my surprise Barack Obama was able to win the election thoroughly and even won in Ohio. This shows that the people in Brewster, Ohio are in a minority. It could be a likely scenario that the rest of the country have the same level of low-informed voting except on the opposite spectrum, however, with all the of republican states that Obama was able to win over, this does not seem to be the sole cause for his victory.

It’s going to be hard for me to ever say that I am happy with the outcome of an election. I am extremely pessimistic to the fact that I’m not sure people have the ability or will to think for themselves in this day and age. Thinking for yourself is not really something that you can teach somebody, in most cases they have to find it their own way, which would require an effort most Americans are not willing to put forth. With further pressure on the people they may eventually find the need to open their minds and eyes simply in order to survive but with the current state of things many people are able to just barely get by and afford a few “luxuries” from places like Wal-Mart, thusly keeping them satiated enough to not demand change.

I generally am a firm believer of capitalism. With capitalism there comes a scary possibility that perhaps one company or a few companies will get so powerful that we will not be able to stop them and it will be to the detriment of the rest of society. However, if this happens and society is crippled the big corporation with generally fail with it. This makes it very scary when we talk of giving government aid to keep big corporations, who cause most of the average citizen’s missteps and short-comings (taking advantage of their lack of understanding of economics), alive and functioning. If these corporations are indestructible it gives them a free range to continue their path of non-progression and harmful practices. If these companies are allowed to fail or do not have the comfort that the government will save them, than they will be forced to be progressive and forward thinking. Perhaps cutting down on car costs through factory improvements and offering better deals to make cars affordable(and that do not break down within a year), instead of getting to get by with poor production and ridiculously expensive prices(just like with houses).

That being said I am not going to join the new bandwagon of Glenn Beck followers who declare that Barack Obama is going to turn us into a communist nation. We have checks and balances, if something is unconstitutional and we can make a good case of it, we can bring it to the Supreme Court. One of the things that people claim throws off the balance is the fact that we will have a Democratic president and a democratic congress, however, the most socialistic bill ever was agreed upon and even urged to pass by republican George W. Bush. If we did have socialists running all three branches we would still have power as citizens to change it through the pressure of our dollar and through the pressure of our vote. It is healthy for citizens to have a little paranoia and not to just follow blindly, however, there is no reason to dwell on it and to continually perpetuate the idea until it is borderline schizophrenic thinking. Many citizens feared that Bush would lead a Nazi like regime, and though he did have his share of war crimes and was able to take away certain rights of ours (our congressional leaders who we reelect voted to throw these away as well, and most citizens were in support of it) he was hardly a tyrannical genocidal dictator.

Every proposition I voted for (I think there were two) failed and every one I voted against was passed. Obviously my presidential vote failed miserably, he got about .5% of the vote for my state. A couple guys I voted for got into office but for the most part my votes were on the losing side. I suppose I should logically look to support my candidates more thoroughly next time, but most of the information is out there and available somewhere it is just a matter of people wanting to find it, and I for one am not in favor of making them see it, especially for something that I feel is subjective. It would be nice if more people would become informed one way or another, and then voted based on that information rather than based on a personal biased but in this society it may be asking too much.

Do I have a solution? Sometimes I think I do. If I took my time and put all of my focus into spreading awareness, I could probably achieve my goal at least on a minor level. The problem is the work I would be doing would be a lot like screaming into a telephone that’s line has been cut. The line must first be established before anything meaningful can be made out of what you are trying to say. Supporting local news, local art and helping the community are affective ways, and until these means are reestablished there is not much that can be done, at least on an effective scale.

Self-righteousness is hiding behind almost every problem this poor old world has ever suffered. I do not want to contribute to this in anyway. I fully recognize that I could be dead wrong; I’m open to a change of mind. I changed my thoughts on who to vote for many times up until the election and nothing can be more counterproductive than trying to get people to think your way when you yourself are not completely sure. One thing that is true however is that our country needs its communication lines to be blasted open, people need to be cutting cultures to find understand and new ways of thinking rather than boxing themselves in. This semester has shown that it is possible to at least spark peoples open mindedness (though like I said they must have the will to do it on their own) through care and unbiased teaching. I believe that political science, ethics and psychology should all be mandatory in high school; more emphasis in our culture needs to be placed on respect for others, ability to adapt and change, and overall shaping of higher consciousness rather than the focus on the need to make more money than your neighbors. It is not the ideal situation, the ideal situation is that parents would teach this to their kids, and government institutions would take no part in “informing” children(as it is probably the most dangerous part of our society). However most parents feel the need to make their children think exactly like them, because they deny any possibility that they may ever be wrong.

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