Political truths in Satire, Propaganda and Prejudice
The argument here isn't Am I, or, Are we, prejudiced or not. But what prejudices we hold within us that are as much a fundamental part of who we are as what flavor of ice cream we like, or don't like. One of the most difficult hurdles to even discuss this is the extreme nature of Society's current value of Political Correctness, for it is not even socially acceptable and not politically correct in anyway to admit to holding, nay, to hold in fact, any prejudice at all about anything or anyone.
But the truth of the matter is that we all hold prejudices taught to us by our life experiences with our parents, childhood friends, teachers, peers, media, and distortions of perception and emotion from just about every corner in todays society... in America as well as every other country on the globe. Me, I am prejudiced against all berries that have any seeds whatsoever. I don't even know the moment that I became prejudiced against berries with seeds, I love the flavor of all berries once processed into a form making the end product seedless though.
Oysters! I once in high school spurned the attentions of the head cheerleader asking me to be her date at the big Football Banquet, because I knew that she loved Oysters, would order them and I would have to sit next to her silently gagging.... I replied to her asking me, "... lips that have touched Oysters, shall never touch mine." ( We were friends for the four years of high school so I got away with that, though she did manage to leave a burning imprint of her hand on my cheek....)
I even held a general prejudice, yes I will admit this openly, towards blacks. Though, after growing up over seas in a variety cultures of European, African, Middle Eastern and Southern and Eastern Asian descent, realized it wasn't a white/black thing, it was:
1. a cultural ignorance not having grown up with any blacks in my "circles" until my exposure and education when I moved over seas at thirteen, and
2. a confrontation on the first anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King in high school buying beer at 11:45 pm, in a predominantly poor black section of Dallas by five angry blacks who saw two young white guys with one black young guy and decided to extract some "justice", or as Richard Pryor says, "Justice, yeah, you mean Just-Us..." in one of his albums, lol, which created a very real fear of injury. And, at that moment it was happening I had no idea why, the only thing I saw was I was white and they were black. But, I was also a little confused and carried that in my awareness for years.
So, circumstances created an emotional fear of blacks which created a prejudice, which was attenuated by the friends I made later over seas and got to know intimately making me aware of my ignorance formed on misinformation and my education which was lacking...
What I am saying is obvious, we all hold prejudice, it is not possible to be human and to not hold these very real fundamental parts of being a human within us.
Problems arise when we allow these prejudices to blossom within us unknowingly and without thought into forests of undergrowth full of thorns. These sometimes simple, specific, life experiences become generalized, and unconsciously influenced by early life circumstances that created fear, maybe even about something else entirely within us, which we don't process well and let lie in our unconscious to become attached to our other, sometimes, innocuous prejudices, and sprout into fear based hatred, bias or dislike of a whole class or category, be it berries, oysters or blacks; Arabs, Europeans, or Asians; Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs, etc..
Worse, people with prejudices are often not only ignorant of them but usually really comfortable with them. They hang out with people with similar distortions which support these ideas in both of them as well as those they hang out with. Which makes their prejudices to them Truth - their truth. Usually, they have also had a narrow range of life experiences, or dysfunctional childhoods or angry Parents full of fear and hate based perceptions.
In other words, a lack in their education, their information. The key, as to most personal growth,is first awareness and then information and education. Me, I am aware of most, I like to think all, of my own prejudices. I try every time I find myself seeing another person or belief or expression and beginning the fear based thought process of the differences and how they are inferior to me, useless in this world, "...because..."
I try to catch myself and remind myself that I might be showing my ignorance, my lack of education, that I might need to think about all the information I have at my disposal and my fears and from where they come, my lack of education about them or that idea or belief, and see the similarities and the differences as matters of culture and education, of life experiences. to not generalize, not allow those thorns in the undergrowth to be in control of my happiness, my mood for the day.
And when I am unable to do that in that moment, I chose to accept responsibility for my ignorance and make a mental note that I need to continue to work on that in my daily spiritual practices.,
Me, I have learned to like those prejudices I do carry. I am comfortable with them. Like the prejudice I have for heights... That one has kept me away from tall buildings' roofs, cliffs and sky diving, all of which, as far as I am concerned has allowed me to grow to the ripe (young) age of 62...
It leaves us with...
An unwillingness to have a dialog with those from the other "side" to understand and define the problems and work toward effective solutions. How can you even begin a conversation of value, when we start out with these manufactured and inflamed prejudices which have us mad, fearful and hating the "others" for wanting to destroy "our" way of life.
The self preservation instinct deep within us hears an angry prejudiced person espousing negative attitudes about us in their bid for their candidates to hold the perceived power to negate, to destroy, to take from us our perception of our way of life...our jobs, homes, family, individualism, etc.. Their fear and anger is causing that fearful and useless, ineffective argument, rather than a dispassionate discourse over how best to place policies in effect to better our economy, infrastructure, education, and continued national and personal growth.
The self preservation instinct deep within us hears that angry prejudiced person espousing "his" absolutes and truth about what the Constitution says or doesn't say, what the authors of that Constitution did or didn't intend, who those authors were or weren't as human beings in their time and so we immediately cry out our absolutes, our truth about the same and an angry, negative, very untrue and nonfactual argument ensues with one being a socialist, a tyrant, a dictator and the other being all that plus just being a butt-head in general.
And neither sides knows anything much except rumor from the media and their peers and what our prejudiced and boring and detached high school teacher taught us in our week long "study" of that sacred document. And worse, those insane 30 second sound bites from the media - the Internet, papers, TV, radio - from those sources within the media with which we are already in agreement, learn nothing new, no new perspective that might add additional understanding and insight to our own limited knowledge residing instead in the unawareness or denial of our fear and narrow misguided belief system, our own prejudices.
And I am talking about many of those elected to power in our government making laws and policies that are in deep conflict when applied to the problems our nation and our society faces, not just the general public who chose them!
As I said earlier, both political parties and those who associate themselves with either, have been distilling these tactics for years. For the Republicans, it began with Richard Nixon and his aides, and blossomed with Ronald Regan and a specific aid or two, Dick Cheney and his protégé, Karl Rove, who refined well these tactics. Newt Gingrich did much in the 90's to refine them as well. And, yes others, these are just ones I am aware of from my experiences.
And the Dem's have these also, as well as their own set of issues and prejudices. They will be noted in Part Two...
Yes, so what? As a society, we have allowed ourselves to be outflanked by the technology we have created. Very much a niche problem, of the many in our society today as opposed to the 50's or so, this niche has created a political (as well as economic and religious) situation where we are being fed propaganda and distortions aimed directly at our ignorance and fueling our fear based opinions and "Truths", by both political parties. Conservatives are completely misusing concepts as socialism and collectivism for two, to label and denigrate Liberals and Progressives and those two are misusing concepts as religion and a very misused and denigrating use of ignorance on Conservatives.
Let me say here, that since I have been using the term "ignorance" that I don't hold negative connotations for that word, as to me (and many) it merely means a lack of exposure to a wider variety of life experience, information and education. The pejorative way Liberals and Progressives use it is labeling people "stupid" and "dumb", "backward". Please hold the difference in your mind when I am using that word.
And both sides are using both sets of words with completely different negative, hateful, and divisive definitions which fit their agendas.
What this has done, is completely removed ethics and morality from all political discourse in this country. It has divided and polarized our society completely, along with those other niches I mentioned earlier and which I will expound upon, offering my humble opinion in other Hubs.
But, what do we know about the issues? What are the issues that are devastating our country? I truly doubt that it has anything to do with Obama's birth certificate, or Romney's "white bread" elitism (yes, he is, for God's sake, an elitist. Follow his ancestry and see the money that has afforded him an elite birth, life, education, career, etc..)
Neither has offered us any education or information about the problems, their causes, nor their ideas and proposals to address them.
And both sides, have been voting for the same crappy legislation for the last 19 or so years.
Both sides having accepted so much cash from the same domestic and non-domestic corporations and sources that for some it is obvious our Democracy has been commandeered by the Corporatocracy, (the Multi-Nationals who are paying the politicians' bills for election, recreation, housing and whatever benefits their individual preferences hold for each of them) as well as, International interests, corporations and Sovereignties.
(Yes, I mean other Governments of other countries. Since roughly the 1990's, foreign governments and institutions have been forming domestic PACS to pay for favors from the US government, and giving "loans" to individuals who have become President and Legislators for their consideration. To both Parties, favoring neither but for the one[s] who eventually hold the seat[s]) Clearly, to me, something that sounds awfully treasonous.
Yeah, So What? So, isn't it time to bury our hatchets, quit allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the best of Madison Avenue, Political Consultants and Wall Street? Isn't it time we demanded open, civil, dispassionate discourse on the critical problems of our times and get back to the pendulum originally designed into the definition of this once Great Country with ideals, morals and civility that those long ago wise authors' of the Constitution spent so much time, sweat and blood in creating?
Throw out all the current hacks with their self agendas that are running the Country, as well as, both Political Parties and the present candidates. Politics was never meant to be a Profession run like a corporation. Money and Profit and Personal Gain is not the intent of the design of this Great Republic. And yet, one of the parties is definitely intent on converting our political system into an economic system and the other is too disorganized and filled with too many agendas reflecting little that could be called cohesive and beneficial.
We have lost sight of, or have never seen that...
The author's of the constitution were at great pains to prevent a system copied from the one from which they escaped. A monarchy, but more simply, a system where all the money and wealth, the power, was held exclusively by a minority... the top one percent as they say... who had complete control over where the rest of society could live and what they could eat, how much they could earn and keep, what they were forced to do as an "occupation" and how they were allowed to express their individuality, what and when they worshiped and the world view they were allowed to hold and express.
So they went to great lengths to devise this two party system to govern this new Republic in a unique form of Democracy. A two party system which would alternately govern and direct the country holding two differing philosophies, or prejudices. And, like a pendulum, would not allow the extremism of the other to become that one percent which could dictate to the rest all those things they were escaping from in Merry Old England at that time. A pendulum which would swing back and forth every four to eight years, moderating any extreme ideas or beliefs, keeping them from gaining the power to repress any who chose to come and settle in this New America.