Thinking About the Media and Politics

Today, I watched Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. He opened the show with a series of comments and a discussion on the demise of the Republican Party and why that’s a bad thing for America. I found his opening statements to be bizarre and frankly nonsensical. The idea that because the USA (or any country) is a two party country that there should always be a sizable split of support between the two parties is not an intelligent proposition. It encourages stagnation and a support of the status quo, which helps no one.

The reason why support for the GOP is down is because they misled and broke the country economically, socially, militarily, financially and in other ways too. It seems to me that defending the Republican Party or suggesting that their low level of support could be potentially dangerous for the country, 100 days into the election of the Democratic Party President is completely unnecessary nor justified. It is especially insidious when it is done in the absence of stating the reason why the GOP has lost much of its support – their policies and actions.

One of the words used on the same CNN show to describe Obama’s Presidency was polarizing. How a new President with a 65% approval rating could be considered to be polarizing is simply illogical. I think that the right words should have been “President Obama retains strong or overwhelming popular support” or “continues to follow through on his remarkable rise to power, working hard to unify the country after it suffered through the end the the Bush era, which saw President Bush at historically low approval ratings and effectiveness”. That would have at least been accurate instead of the confusing language of CNN’s writers and commentators. Perhaps those who are feeling polarized are those who so frequently and happily enjoyed the short-term ego boost and brief financial gains of being associated with Bush and his GOP friends over the past eight years. Newsweek had a better assessment although with some portent to the criticisms that might be laid against the Obama administration, when the media feel the time is right to confuse the public again.

CNN was one of the broadcasters who were approached and refused to air Obama’s address to the nation during the election (the other was ABC). CNN chose to give time to McCain instead. If any of you recall, McCain was granted an “interview” with Larry King that was basically a commercial for his campaign, the same night that Obama was being broadcast on CBS and NBC. Obama had paid for the airtime on the other stations and wanted to pay CNN as well, they refused and gave time to McCain instead. Maybe the people who run CNN don’t like Obama and the Democratic Party because they disagree with their policies or for some other reason. But being contrary is not presenting an opinion, it only supports the status quo. To this date, I have not heard an single articulate, valid reason, to honestly criticize what Obama has done. The alternative is to continue with what Bush and the GOP have been doing to America and the world for the past 40 odd years (at least since 1968), which has been exposed as a great waste of time, money and human potential.

The United States has the benefit of being a situated on a vast land mass with an enormous multilingual, educated population and possessing highly developed scientific, technological, political and societal communities (made stagnant and misused due to bad policies). Under bad governance, all the things that made America great were leading to its downfall. The far reaching influence of its policies have infiltrated and influenced governments, media, financial and legal systems around the world. Which means that if the policies of the US government were flawed, or simply bad, then many other countries suffered too.

Bad policies, the misguided and wasteful Iraq invasion, a rapidly shrinking middle class and an understanding that the nation was losing its moral, intellectual and spiritual way, heavily contributed to Obama winning the Presidency and is the reason why smart, logical, humane and caring people support him. It is the right thing to do. The old rhetoric, the useless back and forth of whether to help citizens or corporations, has led the world financial communities into near total collapse. The ridiculous argument that a government that actually works for the benefit of its citizens is “socialist” = communist = dictatorial = bad = anti business is stupid and deceitful. That untenable political position can only work if Conservatives “support” businesses by giving billions of dollars away through tax breaks, subsidies and threats to corporations, while the average citizen suffers a decline in their standard of living. They are then reduced to the only viable way to keep up with the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – fed to comfort the emotional void that exist by the ever present media – which is to live on credit cards and fast food (the great panaceas). Leaving millions to pay obscene loan rates, so credit card corporations can continue to make billions in profits, off people’s hard working, low paying lives. To appreciate that, one has only to honestly look at all the efforts that have been made to keep wages low, stifling all attempts at raising minimum wages and quashing healthcare reform by lobbyists and politicians and media in the wealthiest country in the world.

It is simply untrue that a government which carefully and intelligently regulates how businesses operate, will stifle growth and development. The only people who are advocating less regulation are the mouthpieces of the very industries which have been stagnant over the past 30 years – banking, oil, tobacco, automotive, insurance, plastics, transportation, food, broadcasting, telecommunications, media and to a minor extent the medical and scientific communities – influenced by government funding, conservative ideology and profit chasing with a few commercial products. They have done as little as possible to improve the lives of the citizens who use their services, all the while spending billions to advertise and bribe (excuse me, lobby) government officials influencing them not to implement any real policy changes which would work to ensure that while there is growth, the desire for profit does not come at the expense of the safety and security of the average person and the long term real prosperity of the nation. (Yes, this applies to Canada too!)

It is time to use common sense again. President Obama is the common sense man that this era needs. He has come out ready to work and is providing articulate, levelheaded, respectful, mature, thoughtful and optimistic leadership. The comments made by Stephen Moore on GPS that people will need to see real improvement in six months, otherwise they will start to question Obama, because Americans are impatient, are completely irresponsible. I think that they only serve to plant the seeds of illogical and irrational dissent, with no other option available other than to go back to doing things the GOP way. The world’s economy has been crippled by greed and lack of regulation over a generation. It is going to take time to fix it. It will probably take more than six months.

Give President Obama the time and see what happens. I am confident that if the members of Congress, the Senate and Judiciary put the citizens first instead of lobby groups and their personal perks of being in government, then under the calm, steady, respectful, common sense Presidency of Barack Obama, the USA will once again be a place of hope, inspiration and good governance for the world to use as an example and for its citizens, corporations, artists, innovators, scientists and powerful entrepreneurial spirit to thrive in.

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