Politics are a disease of the mind
I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but I will anyway.
It seems like there is some kind of almost-revolution going on lately in America. On one hand, you have the crazy clamp-down of the conservatives and on the other, the finally recognizably coherent audible wails of protest from the liberals. During the first 2 years of Bush's war, it seemed that people were happily getting in line to goose-step their way to a more secure homeland (with a few "paranoid" murmurs in the background). How quickly things have turned regarding 911. Why, I remember, it seems just yesterday, the people who were screaming "foul" were nothing more than paranoid internet conspiracy theorist kooks! Even the outspoken media rebel, Howard Stern, was calling 'em all "crackpots." And yet, now, if you listen to Stern, he seems just as infected with this "dementia."
Let's go back to when things were more normal in America, just about a decade ago... Tipper Gore's PMRC was a failed joke, legalized abortion was a done deal, people's bare asses started showing up on primetime television and the media was "too damned liberal" for a handful of very vocal fatheads who appeared on boring political shows very few people even cared to watch. This was a time when arguing about ideology almost seemed like a frivolous waste of time in a land where everyone was becoming more and more free... and who had time to argue about nonsense when there was fun to be had and money to be made?
Does anyone remember when all the major internet sites blackened their screens in protest to proposed internet censorship legistation? That was about 10 years ago, too.. Things were different back then; most everyone took their freedom for granted and leftist political activists were considered annoying nutjobs or simply immature and uniformed. Global warming wasn't really an issue, right? It was just a bunch of hippy alarmists mucking around. This sentiment that everything was "a-okay" seemed to have lasted right up through George W. Bush's "s/election." It seemed that most people were content to presume all the votes were counted and it was just paranoid to believe an election could be stolen in the "land of the free" with so many people to keep their eye on things.
Well, it seems like, all of a sudden, people just really started distrusting the media and authority in general. I wonder what took so long. It's natural to rebel against authority! That's why we have the Bible; to explain and restrain this natural inclination.
And yet, while some people are freaking out about it (ie. Howard Stern) and some people are doing something about it (ie. Al Franken), it still seems like most people are acting like nothing is really going on. The common man is too busy trying to find work and the more elite (media class) are doing the same! Not since Reagan have I seen such wonderful political comedy on my boob tube-- and it is a boob tube: as I suckle at the teat of Mommy Media, I ingest whatever nourishment she can possibly produce from such a poor, steady diet of garbage and poison. What's my alternative? Am I to turn myself invisible and travel around the globe, spying on politicians and bureaucrats? Mommy Media is all I've got. Whether she's "liberal" or "conservative" media, I really only have two options to consider: I'm either for or against something I have no control over; whatever Mommy has to give me.
And as "...Uh, Reverend D. Morton" pointed out while commenting on a previous blog entry of mine, the media is all about "getting the story first"-- Print it FIRST (justify your job as a newsperson), ask questions later (reevaluate your worth as a newsperson)... And, by the way, later, it all becomes too convoluted to figure out, anyway-- all according to plan! We take it for granted that we are being lied to, anyway, don't we? We just choose the side we believe is probably (hopefully) lying the least. But, we're full of shit, too. Our egos choose our political affiliations and our egos are always "right," aren't they? This is politics in it's most basic form.
And, yeah, America is a nice place to live, so it's easy enough to just say "fuck it" and go with the flow, however disruptive it may be to our peace of mind and our way of life. Maybe we lost a great computer job and now we work at a hotdog stand, but we still have to get by in society, don't we? We have our OWN lives to worry about. Let the media worry about policing our country and our government (whatever they tell us, we'll react to accordingly)-- and let our government worry about policing the world (whatever they tell the media to tell us, we'll react to accordingly). This is why so many people were content to accept the fact that Bush "won" the election: "Yeah, it was close, but come on, how many times can you recount the votes?" <--- complacency, acceptance... but, really, what else are you going to do but accept it? Make a fool of yourself (and possibly a target) by demonstrating against the government? Come on, we all know that when a peaceful protest gets rowdy, it's all thanks to the government agents who dress in civilian outfits, join the protest and then start trouble, thereby contaminating the political voice of the people who (technically) are supposed to have some say in a "We The People" type democracy such as ours. We The People don't have the power, we simply have the lives the power controls. Our government was meant to be small and simple, but that government has spread its wings over the years, signing thousands of bills and expanding into areas never intended by the originators of our government. This didn't happen under a blanket of secrecy, necessarily (although plenty of it did), but through a facade of honesty: the media: "journalstic integrity."
Want to control a gang of outlaws? Exploit them in the media, then suddenly stop all coverage of their actions. The outlaws will suddenly think their time has passed. (ie. 60's motorcycle gangs, LA gangs, etc.).
I am reminded of something my grandfather said. He was a man who died before I ever met him, but I remember that my mother (a Christian freak) used to quote him fondly (as if he was the biggest genius of all time), "'The day we can see people in our own living rooms, talking in boxes, the end of the world is near.'" Of course, she would say this whenever something really "indecent" was on television, something that really upset her. And it was as if my grandfather was Nostradumbass or something to her: she firmly believed that Satan was the "king of this system of things" and that Armageddon was coming.
Strangely, I see this attitude all over the internet, even among people who are not religious freaks. I see the words all over the place in sympathy with Apocalyptic sentiment: "the media, media, media... control, control, control... evil, evil, evil..." Flashes of John Carpenter's "They Live" flicker throughout cyberspace. The Illuminati! The Bohemian Grove! Etc. Etc.
Let's put it all in perspective. This crazy idea might not be so crazy after all, but it just may not be so "evil" or Apocalyptic, either.
Think about it: politics are shit. Yes, we all can get caught up in them, but when really inspected closely, they are shit.
Now, people will scream, "POLITICS ARE NOT SHIT! POLITICS ARE IMPORTANT! YOU HAVE TO GET INVOLVED OR IT WILL BE YOUR FREEDOM THAT'S TAKEN AWAY!!!" And they will mean it. They will mean it whole-heartedly. The reason people care so much about politics is because LIFE is politics; governmental politics are only every-day life on a grander scale.
And that is perhaps why my grandfather in fact was a genius of Nostradumbass proportions. The most important part of a political debate is NOT "who is right." A political debate is just like any other argument: what the thinker thinks, the prover proves. Both sides of the debate can argue for centuries and neither will actually "win" the debate. But with the magic of TELEVISION, it does not take centuries to win a debate! It takes only days of instantaneous idea-transmission via propaganda. What is important in politics is simply how many people you can get on YOUR SIDE. It is simply a war. And it can simply BECOME a war, with physical violence and everything. And with television, time does not move so slowly. It does not take long to rally people around a political cause. It does not take long to find yourself in a physical war, thanks to television... much faster than newspapers, western union... or carrier pigeons.
All of this POLITICS is simply a rebellion against authority. Either side refuses to accept the other's authority and, in the end, one side will win (temporarily). However, to FULLY win, in the most extreme scale of "winning," one side simply must become TYRANNICAL. And, just as simply, that tyrannical figure then takes position as "authority" and sets itself up to be overthrown. It is a cyclical, natural cycle. Politics is shit. Time-delayed cyclical, natural shit. Just as fertilizer feeds the plants, the decaying politics of the elders feeds the next generation.
Jello Biafra once sang, "Anarchy sounds good to me 'til someone asks, 'who'll clean the sewer?'"
I will clean the fuckin' sewer. Happily. Until the sewer mafia breaks my legs and takes over my territory, anyway (ie. NYC's first janitorial service imported from Vermont).