Not entirely subtle endorsements...and not entirely subtle indictments...
...and rambling wonders...of what really matters - and what is going to really matter..........
I still don’t know where to start with this…
I’ve been talking it out to some friends who all seem to feel the same way…
(words: Jeff Milo--- deep cutz)
The System, The Media, Reality...and our time...
"If you want the truth...go to yourselves...that's the only place you're ever gonna find any real truth..." (-Network)
"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."
"...all big things are made out of smaller things."
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. "
We live in a cataclysmic age. And it’s measured by commercial breaks.
It is filled with somberness and severity and bitterness and frustration…and division; the edge of a knife, riding off the rails, with the lunatics running the asylum…But, you wouldn’t know it if you turned on the television and you’d hopefully get a whiff of it on the front pages of most major newspapers. You could find it on the internet: an amalgamated perception of the true state of things - (which often feels like an upside-down-sling-shot-explosion-over-the-ever-paved-pastures-of-delusional-bullet-points).
Of course, it would help if you were familiar with the computer – (merely a devastatingly ubiquitous invention that has become a household mainstay and an inevitable aspect of our every day lives) – indeed, not knowing your way round the internet could be a hindrance. We may spit jokes of a "youtube generation," but in times of white-noise interference and reality-show distractions giddily utilized by the corporations that run these so-called news organizations, then private users like flamethrower_wafflehouse_379 become informal (and vital) “journalists” posting and re-posting the more revealing aspects of these scary well-dressed talking heads trying to run for the seat of power in this imperfect nation.
So, what I kept coming back to was history (the perception of which, television cuts us off from) and from history I came to generations…
Here we are, 2008 and every year more and more babyboomers are retiring. And more and more 20-somethings are all getting houses and scrimping for car-insurance bills and trying to get married and paying off college tuitions for degrees that actually didn’t help us get jobs in this majorly-fucked-over economy…(but I digress)
– Here we are…a painfully obvious transition is pulling at us steadily further each day. I’m suggesting we consider something beyond the social warfare of 24-hour-news-network bark-fests, beyond the left vs. the right, beyond the flowers toward the guns or the immigrants and the hunters, museum patrons or Nascar fans, NPR or MTV. No. Today, tomorrow and all of next month, we have to start considering the conflict of generations, generational transition.
…consider that these babyboomers have been in control for the past 25 years – we’ve never been in "control" and we have to realize that our time is coming…and that one choice in this campaign clearly represents this generational torch-passing. Indeed…I won’t hide the fact that the button on my back-pack says Obama-08, I won’t deny that I’ve never actually been enthused by a (traditional) politician the way I’ve been for this candidate…
But the things is...I'm never without some doubt, or apprehension...
Follow politics enough and inevitably you have to start battling cynicism…jade and misanthropy. I don’t trust the government. And sometimes, while watching the product-pushing-pap and empty-shell talking heads with their useless spew of marshmellowy info-tainment (and repeated failures to cover the real issues through compromising their integrity) all these wasted breathes, these non-stories, this wasted time and numbing of minds and he-said-this and she-said-that, but he-wants-this and he-knew-that and he-hates-you and Two-and-a-Half-Men-at-8pm and they-hate-us and he’s-not-this and she’s-not-that and ask-your-doctor-if-this-is-right-for-you and we-know-what-you-want and bah-dah-dah-daaah-daaaah—I’m-lovin’-it….
...How will you really know what’s going on? And, I say that with much more gravity than I intend it…yes, I’m rambling most of this out here to any and all still out there who don’t realize the vitality of this election, who don’t realize the potential Progress we could have with one ambitious, strong-willed, and yes, youthful choice and the potential continuation of catastrophic, suppressive policies by the other aging, cancerous, cantankerous choice…No, I’m saying in the grand scope of the great spirit-crushing machine known as the Media, in the face of this flame spurting monster, how are we to know left from right and real from fake…
Moving briefly, to technology…we are ever-at-the pinnacle (depending, I suppose on research-funding), and we are ever-advancing, we are at the most technologically advanced state in the history of human progress. (Yes, and we get cool iPod toys too…and apparently we absolutely NEED them…) Instant everything, untold possibilities, just push a button – technological conveniences…we can be told what to watch, what to buy, what to drive and what to try…
But thought is not a convenience. Decisions are to be worked toward and come to independently – not molded from the easy-bake-oven of televisions. (By that rationale, I would hope it is not merely Tina Fey who shapes our opinions of Sarah Palin...just make sure you do your research...or simply listen closely to how often she casually drops the word "blessed" at rallies or in interviews...eek.)
So, then...…a view from the hill upon the valley of the American populace – a few jumbled fragments from the social landfill of the last 7 years – what part of the picture does the media put into frame…? September-11th, American Idol, Red Bull, “fight em over there,” Islamo-fascism, middle America morals, mortgage lending mega-giants need our working-stiff-help, wiretapping as a security measure, myspace.com, McDonald’s and “the surge is working” and POWs-shot-down-while-bombing-civilians—are---heroes(?)…and So…you think you can dance? –is on next!
Being a journalism graduate, I often fling into spasmodic quacks and cracks and flips of anger and disgust to know that the 4th Estate, the craft I was taught (and still revere), to seek information, to serve the public and to let no question be off limits – has degenerated into a gossip-mill of chatty, TV-pretty sales associates who are deftly talented at reading the teleprompters scripted strategically to massage away insight and avoid upsetting you so they can cut away quickly to the next Pizza Hut commercial offering greasy cheese bread and chocolate brownie-desserts and Pepsi as a family meal.
You are cooed, not clued-in (and thus, informed and thus, upset…and thus, motivated.) You are under control. ...and "I want you to get Mad..." (while we're at it, an entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube...turn your television off)
There is often little of worth to cull from the mainstream press – they bury the lead of casualties, of torture, of Iraqi civilian deaths, of military spending, of consumer’s-rights-violations, of constitutional-rights-violations, of cutting education and infrastructure…this is all on page 9A, bottom corner, 3rd paragraph, while the front page runs polls on more divisive (and sometimes useless) questions…like, “Can a mom be president?” Yeah, that’ll get the left and right a-yellin at each other…hell, even the men and the women
…How about this…SHOULD a mom (with a newborn) be president???
So yes, the media has failed – but back to generations. Whether you're 18 or 36 or even 41 – it is time – time to look up at your baby-boom parents (members of a generation that’s held political sway for the last 30 years) and say “Mom, Dad, it's 2008 and it’s not about your future anymore…it’s about mine.”
Frankly, how much future does John McCain even have left…? (If I’m riffing on the baby-boomers as an argument point, let’s also point out that John McCain is at least 9-years-older than even the oldest of the baby-boomers…) (…he’s also had cancer 4 times, including the potentially deadly melanoma.) (…and his running mate thinks the world’s only 6,000 years old and that man and dinosaurs coexisted…) ...but I digress...
In a 99% digital age, we would seriously consider electing a cantankerous war-monger, born before the invention of the television? –who doesn’t know his way around a computer? Can new voters born in 1990 even fathom that?
And, a VP candidate who would stilt our asses back to some fuzzy delusion of 1954-small-southern-town n' down-home values. Ya know, like America used to be?? A woman whose fed lines about bullying our way around the world in the name of stopping terrorism…but didn't even know the fundamentals of the Bush Doctrine…, essentially the bible for all tough-talking war-hungry conservatives.
.......…against affirmative action, against abortion,
for creationism in schools, for offshore drilling
– against gay marriage, against science,
for aggressive preemptive strikes (abroad and at home) for tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, …for using the nukes, for keeping things as they are…
("Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity…"-John Lennon)
It is an emphasis of the great rift of generations that only swelled throughout the 90’s – while the babyboomers settled into their 40’s and 50’s, they found what looks like, apparent complacency. Meanwhile, we came into our 20’s and our 30’s and grew into a radical, open-minded maturity and found consciousness. Forget the 'in my day' and 'walking barefoot in the snow to school' cliches, we have had quite the different experience in growing up, vs. our parents...
We are more than ready. And, damn it, we should be so motivated by the sheer anger we deserve to feel – for the state of the world…national debt UP, military spending UP, global warming WORSENING...for taxes going to help corporations...
Think outside yourself, think beyond now. Resist complacency. Embrace HOPE. Christ, embrace each other. We’re all in this together. As Joe Strummer said, “Without people, you’re nothing…”
Progress! Register! Vote!
("We are one people, we are one nation...")
But partisan politics – through the mouthpiece of the media – commits a psychological warfare upon us, each and every day – through those god-damned glowing boxes in our living rooms.
Which brings me to a recent interview I conducted with the outspoken punk-soul-folk singer/songwriter, Ted Leo... I ask Ted how he is and he sighs in deep breathy defeat. (This is just after the protests at the RNC over labor day...) There’s apprehension and melancholy in his voice – as though there’s just been a death in the family.
“It would depress you if I started to really get into it…” he says. And, writing it out now, I have to wonder how much of myself took that as a challenge to pry further. The way he trails off though, it’s a somber punch in the chest, a slouch to the soul – my now somewhat face-planted enthusiasm stems from an adoration for Ted that had always built him up as a hero in mine and many’s eyes – a sort of modern day profit and protest singer, a crusader, a regular dude who sang about Jersey and often showed how much of a “nerd” he was for scouring the internet for world news. Relatable, but heroic, and always dynamic in his lyrics which painted the world as a shaky place being rocked by unseen sinister forces wrongfully installed into power. Biting, dashing, striking, singing…("Why would you give power to those who robbed you blind, yet another time?")
…and here I was seeing the trail of blood droplets leading to his favored wing. But, reflecting, the weariness of this crusader puts that same sort of blinding pride and fervor of any beaten soldier running to pick up a tattered flag to carry it forward onto the torched field.
On most nights, I’m too sensitive to write about politics, it’s true, I don’t’ know what to tell you – the paradox (of my palpable cynicism) is life would have me also rally to a man who has HOPE plastered all over his campaign signs, some unknown, unclassifiable impulse inside me pushes me towards this thus-framed embodiment of hope in a suit, standing in front of a flag. I am young, poor, idealistic, sensitive, humanitarian – of course! Yes! It would only make sense that I’d get goosebumps and holler and jump and get behind this man of hope.
Hope’s all I really have…-------------
But real hope…
I get real hope from real people. (From you.) Ted’s a hero to me not because of his dash and dare and outspoken songs and onstage valiance – all of this visceral barrage combines for the same psychological effect of the valiance of Obama, this man of hope, in perfect skyblue hues and American flag-laden backgrounds. (It is important to remember that...) Hope can be manipulated – but not when it’s the honest, weary sighed defeat of a real-life person who wakes up just the same as me every morning, sees the news, sees the world and says “…this is fucked, this makes me angry…”
Somehow…, I get hope when Ted says he doesn’t have an answer.
Because these are very real emotions. REAL. But, let’s take a breath…my nausea of politics is mainly born from the symptoms of the television-age. (Where we’re cut off from reality, where we all think we’re the center of the universe and where we have no concept of history.) I am not all of a sudden some self-righteous humanitarian/sensitive anarchist who believes we should all just escape to a meadow, hold hands and groove on spiritual universality. (I’d go mad outside the city.)
There is still work to be done and I do still believe in democracy. If this is about youth and hope and anger and the weariness of real people – then there is still one candidate over the other. And if you believe in democracy – then believe that all of our young, hopeful, angry, weary voices can come together and voice a decision.
Hope. Progress. Change.
It starts to feel like there’s three simultaneous and conflicting “realities” all yelling and bumping into each other…
There’s the System: government, the Federal Reserve, partisan politics and religion… - this is all stuff we’ll either not (or find difficult to) understand, or we’ll be too small to truly effect it, or it’ll just make us angry or just waste our time…(and often, divide us).
Then, there’s the Media: television, programming, marketing garbage, where we lose touch with history and reality and each other, numbed into apathy and sometimes lulled into malleability-for-marketers…(often working in tandem with the system and covering politics like a soap opera)...Where our glow-box delusions have us believe we are the center of the universe.
Then, there’s Reality…REAL reality: real people, real interactions, love, sharing, caring, all of that, discourse, engagement, stimulation…which is most fruitful when fueled by education, art and science…and served best with an open mind and lots of love…
So, what I’m saying is, essentially – vote for the future, vote for Obama—I would implore you; for this is the passing of a generational torch –
We have seen reactionary politics and policies that disregard and destroy the constitution and restrict the Bill of Rights, (totalitarian) suppression has reared its ugly head like a beast (see: St. Paul, see: the CAID raid) testing the air and environment outside its cave – if its not impeded, it will continue advancing until it is openly upon us every day – suppressive, fascist tactics parading under the guise of security in the name of wars that a government willingly, surreptitiously, conspiratorially entered…ultimately for financial gains (that us working stiffs will never see!!)
And yes, it is important to remember that Obama is, at the end of the day, a politician…
but, McCain will gladly continue these totalitarian tactics and let the beast loose. (Watch a fellow POW give his opinion on presidential qualities.)
Rely on Obama’s "liberalism" (as exaggeratingly-labeled by a fear-based right-leaning reactionary media)…to promote true protection – protection of the Constitution of the United States!
Don’t let them divide us through fear, bullying, partisanship, religion, class, or race – we are weaker when we are divided…and that’s what the Republican Administration of the last 8 years has thrived upon…divide and conquer! We must come together…
Most importantly…don’t panic…or, at least…remember that through unity, we are stronger…and thus there would be no need for panic. As we finished our interview, I asked Ted Leo about a concert he's set to perform on election night, November 4th, if he anticipated a nerve-wracking evening – and if he would remain neutral regarding the candidates…
“well I can definitely say that I don't attempt to be non-partisan,” said Leo, “I also don't attempt to turn my shows into like rallies – I think when anybody enters into this kind of mode of expression...you want to see that you do have an effect in “changing the world" but,...I just try to express my thoughts about things, I try to make sense of what's going on for myself and by extension...other people, and hopefully help somebody else make sense of something or just make it through....a day!...thanks to music!...in a way that music has been there for me in my life. So, it's kind of in that spirit that I approach even something like playing on election day...whatever the outcome is...it's gonna be...celebratory and cathartic and it's gonna be community reinforcing...”
Indeed: The first two “realities” are complete bull-shit, and often merely the tools of a self-serving system of control. Stay in reality, stay here with each other…open up…and…
Come together…and if you’re reading this…VOTE.
Viewing and reading material
Fareed Zakaria's case against Sarah Palin
Watch how nervous Jack Cafferty makes Wolf Blitzer, simply for speaking his (and our) opinion
What does conservative George Will have to say?
72 years old and cancer...but the media often glosses over it...
This was also not mentioned...it made Alaskan-history, the largest protest in state history
Where have all the protests gone?
when the press fails
"...a fear campaign was innaugerated...we cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to distruction..."
Obama's answers to the top 14 science questions facing America
and other alternatives.......
"Ordinary people can be intimidated for a time, can be fooled for a time, but they have a down-deep common sense, and sooner or later they find a way to challenge the power that oppresses them..."