Or, in 2017, because the election is going to make us wait.
The other night, a group of old white folks got on a stage, and said a bunch of stuff, I am sure you saw it, The Democrat Debate. Yes. That one.
So, over the last several months, we have one candidate on the Republican side, and at least two on the Democrat side, that are saying the things the masses want to hear. All night, during the debate, we heard about how the candidates were going to give us everything our heart desires. Free Healthcare, Free College Tuition, Free Birth Control, Free this and “Free” that. But, what was conspicuously absent from their promises of rainbows and unicorns for everyone, was any talk about freedom, liberty, and our Rights.
Why does it seem to me, that any discussion of our Rights under the Constitution these days, results in people sidestepping the issue, or acting as if talking about those Rights is bothersome, and an annoyance. “Why confuse the issue with Rights” a co-worker said one night at work. As we go along in this election cycle, which is taking on a decidedly surreal aura about it, it seems like there are more fist-shakers, rabble rousers, and snarling, sign waving people than I have ever seen in my life. I am old enough to remember the protests of the 70’s, and I don’t ever remember an election cycle where the American people seem so distant from the vision that our founding fathers had.
It seems, that in this America, we are focused on revenge, on sticking it to “the other guy.” whoever that might be. We are about reclaiming what we perceive as lost, and what we perceive as “ours”, and not seeming to care if bloodshed winds up being part of the equation. Now, I am not talking about bloodshed for a noble cause, or in the defense of something we hold dear. I am talking bloodshed in the name of “I am taking back what is MINE!”, leaving the definition of what “mine” means, to whatever fits the bill at the moment. In every issue, from Illegal Immigration, to Gun Rights, to Abortion Rights, the undertone of the threat of violence, is slowly starting to become less of an undertone, and more of an overtone. The riots in Baltimore, and Ferguson, MO, are a glimpse of what is to come if things slip further out of contriol. It is as if, we want these candidates of ours, the ones that we believe believe as we do to be in control, it seems, but so long as it is the “other guy” who is being controlled. We want the Illegals thrown out, guns taken away, abortion on demand, the sanctity of life be damned, and whatever we want when we want it. Listening to our candidates, they say the things that fire people up, and get the fists shaking, and it’s not in a good way. Throughout history, tyrannical governments have found their way to the fore when the people, tired of whatever malaise is infecting the nation, want a change, and they want a big change, and they want the change to serve, not the nation, but their self interests. They want that “other guy” who is responsible for all of the aforementioned malaise, to be punished. In the eyes of most conservatives, it is the liberal, Socialist Left, and in the eyes of many liberals, it is the Conservative, Christian Right.
What many people seem to be forgetting, is that the institution of an authoritarian government affects them as well. Does anyone out there think that the people running for President, especially Sanders, Clinton, and Trump are running because, as President, they would put country first? Put the people first? Their rhetoric is about punishing those nebulous “others” however they choose to define them, be it illegal immigrants, gun owners, the rich, or what have you. It is a rhetoric of class division, racial division, and economic division, designed to pit people against one another, and take our focus off of the important issues. In this day and age of the “low information voter” getting people fired up with rhetoric that doesn’t require much thinking isn’t very difficult. Heck, these days, outrage is manufactured by those wishing to move an agenda forward. Photos and news footage of angry, fist shaking people shouting slogans, and threatening violence tends to project the image that there are large numbers of angry people agitating for change. These days, it doesn’t even have to be true, just make it a hashtag, and pretty soon people latch on to it, without even thinking about the facts, or, even considering what the facts are. The “Hands up Don’t Shoot” is a perfect example. People are so mired in their insular, self absorbed social-media-pop-culture world that real news, and real events, important events don’t make it past the latest Kardashian gossip, cute kitty video, or viral photo. Remember #thedress from earlier this summer? It was the lead story on “Good Morning America”, a stupid story about a dress that is/was perceived to be different colors by different people, was all over the news. A story, about a dress… something that, even 10 years ago would have been fodder for “Inside Edition” or something similar was the lead story on a morning national news program. When people are focused on the trivia, the minutiae, and the unimportant, and it masquerades as the important, then anything that really matters (world events, the economy, etc.) gets shunted aside. Additionally, with the ever present “social media” on our phones, and in our faces now, 24/7, the trivial becomes important, because it’s the first thing we see. It’s distracting, and that, ultimately may be the goal. Today’s social media, is the equivalent of putting the comics on the front page of the newspaper 30 years ago, followed by the TV listings, the gossip columns, and then “cute photos” sent in by readers, with the news, and the important stories being the last section.
It is this kind of dumbing down, this kind of media slight-of-hand, that is keeping people from learning and understanding what is going on. This is where tyrrany starts, it is when ordinary people allow someone else to do their thinking for them, and then mindlessly repeat what they hear without giving it a second thought. It seems to me, in some ways, that there are people in this country who want someone to think for them, and want more government controls, they want “someone” to take care of things that they could, and should normally do themselves. Think about the advent of the “self driving car”…. Cool, new, “cutting edge”, technological, and one more thing that does something that the average person generally should have no problem doing. Promoters of the self driving car, are saying things like:
“Safer than having people drive”
“It can avoid accidents, and, indeed, prevent them from happening”
“Can go anywhere, while you ride along in comfort”
Does anyone see a problem with this? I would not, under any circumstances, want a self driving car. However, people are all ga-ga over them, and can’t wait to own one. I like the fact that I get in to my car, and go where I want, not where the car decides to take me. I don’t want to be a passive participant. And that is the point. Too many people want to be passive participants. They want others to think for them, to tell them where to go, and how they should get there. A self driving car? Really? So, once you get in it, you are now at the mercy of whomever controls the programming for the system that controls the car. I find no merit in such a vehicle, none whatsoever. Yet, it is promoted as a “safety solution” and something that will put an end to the high number of deaths every year from automobile accidents. That is how anything that ultimately takes away a bit of your freedom, or your control is promoted. It is promoted as something that promotes “safety” either for children, or the elderly, or ourselves. Think about that for one moment. A car, that is programmed, and even if it is programmed by the owner to travel, the destinations, the routes, and the dates and times, are saved in a computer network somewhere, somewhere, where someone else can get access, and see where you have gone, and how often, and how long you spend there. It is just more information about you, that, can be used against you. Add to that, how easy would it be for someone who wants to, to change where you are supposed to go? How much power would you have to override that? What comes next after that? “Smart houses” that record what goes on in them, under the guise of crime prevention? Domestic violence prevention? Fire prevention?
Giving up control over our own personal vehicles and personal space to others, so we can feel “secure” is the wrong road to go down. Technology is cool, and does great things, but those great things are hardly innocuous, or neutral. They can be used as weapons against us, when they wind up in the wrong hands. Right now, so much of our lives depend on technology, whether it’s our smart phone, our computer, or our vehicle’s GPS navigation system, that we are exposed in every possible way. Giving up control over what we hold as freedoms, to those who promise to be better stewards of it than we are, is frivolous, dangerous fantasy. Many people, however, desire the control, but they want to be on the sidelines watching, they want the control, just so long as it is on others, not on them. That is not, and never will be the case. Once an enemy is identified, isolated, and the blame for the societal issues of the day placed on that enemy, it makes it easier for those who wish to exercise power and control. The people become focused on the “enemy” that they don’t realize that the control is also applying to them. In their zeal to find a politician who will isolate, and control the “enemy” people don’t realize that they are giving up their freedoms and their rights.
See, it’s not about the “other guy” or “them”, It is about us. It is about our society. It is about our country, and all of the citizens that live here. We cannot afford to elect anyone who desires to take away rights, subjugate a portion of the population, or curtail our personal, and private activities, or worse, subject them to the scrutiny of someone or some group who is given the power to decide if it is an activity that we should be allowed to partake in, based on whatever agenda they happen to be running. Regardless of whether or not you disagree with abortion, gun ownership, homosexual marriage, or any of the the other issues in our society today, it does not give you, or anyone, the right to prevent those folks from expressing opinions, protesting, or celebrating those issues by using violence, imprisonment, or the threat of such. It seems, however, that these days, there are people who seem to think that using violence is the only way, and don’t seem to shy about expressing that.