I was talking with one of my politically active friends about the current state of the country the other day. He and I are almost polar opposites in terms of what we believe. He, at least it seems to me, is more of a leftist and I’m more of an anti-government type of guy. Either way as the debate went on, he made one of those snobby comments about being enlightened and I made my bullish retort which is all so common in our current political debate.
Most people, that I know at least, are sick and tired of political debate because nothing is really ever accomplished and opinions largely remain the same. The main problem is that people see politics as more of an us vs. them or a left vs. right debate instead of approaching each other’s arguments with mutual respect. It isn’t surprising that the debate is this way, just turn on one of the news stations and you’ll see the exact same template with every story. No matter which station you turn on, all you’ll see is the same talking points without any introspective social commentary.
With the mainstream media, isolation is the goal. The media tells you what to think by repetition of half truths which are all the more believable because there is that little spec of reality in there. All of the truths and concepts in the mainstream media are absolutes that are etched in stone. Even with such strong truths, those truths still vary from station to station so, for example, that a person who watches Fox News will have a truth different than someone who watches MSNBC. By separating people into opposing groups, it becomes much easier to focus debate into a simple small box instead of the complexities that exist outside of it. Control is exerted by turning the debates into complete opposite extremes of each other making it difficult for people to identify with one another’s opinions, especially when both people only have bits and pieces of the information, and often ends leaving both groups extremely frustrated.
Is it any wonder that the more people watch network news, the less informed and opinioned they seem to become? Now days most people get their news from one corporate source, which as we all know are the pawns of advertising and numbers, instead of many different places. Luckily that is changing with the internet which, if used correctly, gives people the option to read more than one viewpoint and explore thousands of different news sources free and easily that they wouldn’t have seen on network television.
After a few minutes of bickering about each other’s creditability, which had gotten us nowhere, I asked him what his solutions were to the current mess that is the way our country is being run. His ideas were to work on building the local community, supporting local businesses, make healthcare cheaper (his job was outsourced to Canada) so that jobs come back home instead of overseas. Finally, something we could agree on. My solution was very similar to his. I believe we should stop fixing the rest of the world’s problems and focus on fixing ours. To do this, I proposed that we stop involving ourselves in military conflicts around the world, lowering taxes(punishing businesses that outsource and use slave labor by adding tariffs was part of that plan) and reforming health care systems by forcing them to compete with each other so businesses will be brought to the United States and we begin to go back to manufacturing our own goods. This is just the extremely short version of some our ideas on how to save the country. Either way, even though we came from completely different sides and viewpoints we both had extremely similar ideas on what the solution should be. We even agreed on holding those people who got us in the latest financial meltdown accountable. Once we both stepped away from the mindless bickering; we were able to have a real debate and find out that we’re not as different as we thought. Personally I believe that most people in our nation, if not the entire world, are the same. We all want to earn a living, be able to take care of our families and be secure in our environment. A small group of people on television have made us forget that we have more things in common than what keeps us apart.