The events of the 2016 election, obvious Russian interference, and any collusion between parties to sway the election, are beginning to come to a head. There is little doubt by anyone that the Russians made a very clear, and unprecedented effort to disrupt our election process, sway the election in ways that are being unraveled almost daily…and may have grave consequences for the Trump administration.
After watching Comey’s public testimony, and taking a great deal of time to parse reams of stories in the media, untold numbers of tweets, and walking through the chain of events that got us to this historic point in time, I have come to an undeniable conclusion about who is truly responsible for this mess.
The American People.
“We the people,” is not just a random phrase bandied about by politicians and media bloviators. It is at the bedrock of the Constitution of our country, which not only helps create laws, but also allows for the broad freedoms that we all enjoy as Americans.
However…because it is a nation of citizens, who elect the government officials that serve us, it is incumbent upon “we the people” to take the responsibility of learning the facts, through parsing and vetting all of the information that comes out of the media (both traditional and social), in order to make the best decisions for the future of our country, and future generations.
And without questions…we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated.
For reasons that I am still trying to understand in some sort of anthropological manner, we as human beings are prone to gravitating toward “tribes.” These tribes take the shape of political parties, shaped in some fashion by our personal beliefs, whether they be something as specific as religion, or as inane as a favorite sports team. But, as we seemingly devolve as a species, these tribes become the starting point of almost every decision we make in life.
And the media (as well as our enemies) knows this.
As I have written before, political strategies start by “dividing up the room” with hot button topics about religion, gun rights, abortion, and gay marriage as basic qualifiers. These are then parsed further into regional issues, jobs, social services and entitlements. When things are not clear, generalized conversations about “Loyalty and Patriotism” can further diminish constructive conversations about solutions, down to basic chest-thumping, screaming, and the kind of mono-syllabic guttural utterances that make us far closer to our cave man tribal beginnings, than any semblance of a modern developed society.
Dumbing down America is the primary goal of almost every media outlet, because it reaches the largest potential audience. And nothing grabs an audience like a salacious headline. It’s the Schadenfreude, or “gotta see the gruesome details of this train wreck” that keep us tuned in and excited about the next, and unending news cycle. And make no mistake about it…this huge story is a gigantic, unending train wreck. But we are the victims…not the observers.
Let’s get a few things clear before going further with this…
1. Russia overtly worked to manipulate our elections, and will continue to do so, as long as it has an outlet for their false information.
- Our “Freedom of the Press” has turned into a battle for the biggest headlines, which has now been turned into a legitimate weapon against our country, because there are no legal remedies for fake news, reprinting “leaked information,” and nobody in government, or those consuming it, to stop the outlets from publishing it.
- The worst of the worst of these fake news collaborators are now ensconced in the White House…and are shaping appointments, and policies, by manipulating a President who does not have the acumen or will to do the very hard work that the job to which he was elected requires.
And WE are to blame. For ALL of it.
I wish I could “out” the number of friends who actually believe the overt lies that come out of Breitbart, Fox News, and other fringe “news” organizations. I won’t…because I have already exposed their folly to them personally. But, the fact is…when they believe something as outlandish as “Pizzagate” or “Hillary had people killed” kinds of stories, it’s easy to dismiss them entirely. But, they vote.
What is more difficult, is to help others understand (my “more informed friends,” and even friends and family in the media), that when “hard news” is based on leaked sources…of any kind…it is more than likely shaded with partisan/political intent, almost always just parts of the truth…but not the whole truth.
And, if we are to take our jobs as “the electorate” seriously, we need the real facts, about the real issues…uncolored by party affiliation, religion, or “team/tribal” mottos. There is nothing simple about the world today. Every aspect of it is nuanced, with long-ranging aftershocks from every decision. When we allow the media, and those we elect to spoon feed us only what they want us to know and believe, we cede our true power to hold them accountable for their actions.
Comey is a patriot. After taking the time to hear his reasoning behind “Email-Gate,” and how he was essentially put into an untenable place regarding his public statements about the investigation, I am giving him a pass for his role in Hillary’s reversal of polling numbers and subsequent loss in the election. As we have learned, this had almost no real effect, when compared to the horrendous campaign she ran, or the hubris and maleficence of the DNC and CDDD. She was an awful candidate…allowed to exist by a lazy electorate, who simply wasn’t really listening to the real concerns of more than half of the nation.
That said…Trump was/is one of the most destructive forces in history. Not because he is smart enough to be innately evil, but because he surrounds himself with TRULY evil people, who serve nobody but their own partisan or personal interests. Trump is the laziest and intellectually weak leader since Herbert Hoover. He may actually have one of the most innately corrupt administrations (or revolving door of appointees) in history. But WE are the reason he is in office.
We have allowed honesty, integrity and intellectualism to be marginalized. We have made this a battle between parties, which has turned into a battle of the classes. And those of us who should know better, have allowed hate, prejudice, and an “us –vs- the idiots” attitude to permeate every conversation before it even gets started.
I hate politics. I have been too involved…for too long…and know too much for my own good…to want to be “part of the system.” But, there is no doubt that when you remove yourself from the process…and walk away in disgust…we leave ourselves open to letting those who are most dangerous, control the future of our lives, and the lives of generations to come.
Today, we saw a man face down those who would impugn his honesty…challenge his decisions in untenable and historically strange circumstances…while knowing that their own partisan actions, on any given day, do more to destroy the fabric of our nation, than anything any single person could possibly do.
I’m not ready to talk about solutions yet… But, I would start by reeling in the propagators of half-truths, lies, and outright propaganda, which cloak themselves with the First Amendment, while preying on the lazy, uneducated, and morally manipulated masses that have handed their personal freedoms to the “Tribe.”
Yes…Watergate happened, due in large part to sourced information from a “leaker.” But that was in an era of three networks, and daily newspapers with REAL reporters. In an era when Facebook and Twitter are the primary sources of “news” for more than half of the country (s well as a source for leads for the “legitimate press”), do I even need to go to the trouble of explaining why this is a bad thing, and that broader restrictions on sources and vetting are more important than ever before?
Probably. But, then again…I’m part of the problem.
I, like so many others today, are so frustrated with the reality of trying to have substantive conversations with those whose minds are closed by the “tribal drumbeat” of alternative news, that we have stopped trying. And we have now reaped the reward of our discontent, and feigned apathy.
I don’t know how this is going to turn out. But, I do know that it has reminded me that “we the people” need to take a more active role in our own future. “We the people,” have to stop looking for the answers in the headlines…and get our hands dirty with the reconstruction process of rebuilding the foundation that this country was founded upon.
Time to get back to work…
Good post, Pat…although I wouldn’t consider Herbert Hoover to be “intellectually weak”.
Well… thanks. But I think you need to do a bit more research on HH. Asked by drink… lol.
You say that you are not ready to talk about solutions yet… I can’t wait for your pearls of wisdom, I do wonder if we are already sliding into the abyss. I pray not!
You scare the crap out of me Pat with how accurately you have interpreted this sad and sorry situation that we are in, I only hope enough people read your post and that maybe they can stop naval gazing long enough to be shaken into reality.
Thank you for your insight.
These are the times I hate being right. But we learn… hopefully.