I look at the political discourse of today and see the madness that it has become. On the top you have paid political operatives testing out catch phrases and arguments in focus groups. Corporations hiring firms to write favorable legislation and then given to lawmakers to make law. You can watch the 24 hour news cycle and hear the same arguments verbatim from a dozen pundits on both sides.
This rhetoric industry has filtered into the main stream media where news stories are about viewership and ratings on shows designed specifically to hold your attention without actually informing you of anything. Local stations subscribe to story generators and are copied and pasted into Teleprompters word for word across the country.
Then you get to the partisan media where the madness really is. Where what a person believes is more important than the truth from both parties. Agenda driven “news” will always drive an agenda. This industry has grown from print to radio to MSNBC and Fox News. They claim that everyone else lies while lying themselves. All they will ever be is agenda driven ad vehicles.
Today we have a wonderful social media system where anyone can say whatever thought that enters their head and share it with the world thinking that it is anonymous. This new frontier of communication has become a wild west of hate speech and grand societal change.
As I look over the evolution of ideology and discourse over my lifetime I have come to this conclusion:
This is the most amazing time to be alive!
Sure I have made other conclusions. That news sources should not be linked to advertising. That money has been buying speech forever. That I must have an NSA and FBI file on me. But the bigger or maybe biggest picture is that I actually can know these things now.
I can watch Fox news have Oliver North on talking about how Obama’s military response is unethical and irresponsible and think to myself, “Where do I know that name from?” And look up how he was the central figure in the unethical, illegal, and irresponsible Iran-Contra affair. That’s where the US sold guns to Iran for their war against Iraq even though Iran had been holding American hostages for over a year and took that money and gave it to the Contras, a rebel group in Nicaragua for which Oliver North was the key player. He was arrested and convicted for it. (Later the conviction was vacated, even longer story) Making him the WORST person to have on TV to call anyone’s military action unethical and irresponsible.
The thing is, 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to look that up. You and I have the power to call these Shenanigans out with verifiable information. We the common people have the power to make change like never before.
For me I love politics, I enjoy yelling at pundits on the TV, I like to argue political points. I’ll even argue a point that I don’t believe in if the person I am arguing with is making a bad argument. I want people to make better, logical arguments not recite talking points.
That is why this is the greatest time to be alive. To be an everyday person in the US. Yes there is a lot of trash and trolls out there but I am constantly amazed at the awesomeness of individuals. I have argued gun rights and comic book movies in the same conversation.
As I reset some of my personal media ventures (Namely this blog and my YouTube channel) I want to focus on not only what is being said but how it is being said. What the trolls don’t understand, from the ones on TV and radio to the crazed commenter online, is that calling people names will NEVER convince a person you are right. Like Sarah Palin trying to improvise it just doesn’t work.
We need better arguments and I want to start some.