Monday, November 08, 2004

Media Vacation Time

After sitting through a week of pundits on every spectrum of the media rainbow saying, "It's about moral values," re the Bush re-election, I've decided it's time to book a flight to the media vacation planet. Folks, if it had been about moral values, it would have been about anybody else but this draft-dodging fortunate son who has Satan himself for a political advisor (that's Karl Rove for those of you in the cheap seats). It wasn't about moral values. It was about a successful get-out-the-vote effort that roughly aligned along the policy issues that people cared about. Slightly over half the nation believes that what the administration wants to do regarding the economy, Social Security, war, and the definition of when human life begins is also what they want. And there you have it.

Were there some voting irregularities? Yep. Probably a bunch. Maybe, just maybe, the whole election was rigged (though I doubt it). But we won't know that for a while, and we'll only be able to attempt to fix it for the next time. 'Nuff said about that. Movin' on.

I know that within the evangelical crowd in America, they feel their values are reflected by the current administration as they are against abortion and thus stem cell research, against gay marriage, and feel that their religious values will be given greater voice - so they voted for Dubya. No mystery there.

The one residual question that I have left over, though, is how so many minds I like and respect, those I know who have their eyes wide open, could accept the tidal wave of dishonesty and overt oppression of those who disagree with the current administration (I'm speaking here of their allowing only those they approved of attending their rallies, literally locking out any dissenting voice), and still vote for them. Yes, most of those minds I'm speaking of agree with the actual (and initially not-so-well hidden) reason for the war, they like the administration's ideas on taxes, and even if they don't believe in the bullshit of trickle-down economics, they still like what the Republicans offer as an economic plan. I should note that to a person, though, they are all wealthy. But is this a purposeful ignoring of the terrible shortcomings of the administration embraced in order to concentrate on short-term personal gain? Or is it something else? Or am I missing something?

So, for a few days, I wondered if I needed a major recalibration. (Back in the day when I was Quality Assurance for manufactured products, we started each day making sure our measuring devices where accurate via recalibration before we spent the day picking apart probable inaccuracies in the machining process.) I wondered, even though obviously half the voters of the nation apparently feel the way I do, if perhaps I was missing a crucial piece of data, or if somehow I had gotten swept along by a flawed idea and I just haven't seen the flaw yet, and perhaps that would explain why the other half of the nation thinks the way they do. (I think a reasonable bout of self-doubt can really bring some needed perspective, as long as you don't go too far and get lost in the echoes.)

But then I recall that at two public gatherings lately, I witnessed firsthand the two-mindedness of Americans these days. At one party, everyone was resoundingly supporting the Republicans this year, but at the next, the vast majority was admitting they were going to vote Democrat - some for the first time.

And, not acquiescing to the public gestalt is not necessarily an indication that something's wrong with your perspective. For instance, I didn't like Finding Nemo, but it's been continually brought up as the new high-water mark to beat in animated films. I thought the continual theme of mental and physical handicaps presented as hidden strengths mixed with the omnipresence of deeply traumatic events (whole families being wiped out, a child lost, a fish scarred by landing on trays of dental instruments - all very Kafkaesque) was, well, icky. Especially in the context of a children's film.

Thus, I've decided I still understand the policies and desires of the various groups and parties, and I know which ones mine align with. I disagree with the idea that if you give all the advantages to the wealthy and the powerful, they will allow some of their gain to flow out to the peasants - I think they'll just buy another yacht. I still want public education for those who want it, generally accessible health care, and a social safety net. I feel my Christianity informs those values, and they are in line with what Jesus preached.

Oh well.

People like myself who want the government to head in that direction will just have to wait. It's someone else's turn. These people aren't fascists, or communists, or something completely egregious which might necessitate rebellion. But, they have different enough views and goals that, as with someone whom one feels is a bad driver, perhaps for a while it would be good for the soul if one were to concentrate on other things - a good book, say - rather than the road ahead.

So it's time to detach from the great machine, the big media mind, and come back later when there may be something interesting, or at least something less troubling, to spend time on. All the really big stories tend to filter down anyway, so the less meaningless minutia for a while, the better.

Is this a form of denial? Well, is ignoring the neighbors who scream at one another (but don't come to blows) denial, or just judicial placement of your attention and energies on better things?

News fasts are wonderful for the disposition and the constitution (note that's not capitalized); and I heartily recommend them every so often. Thus, for a while, the only Talking Heads I'll be watching totally ROCK (and in three different mixes for us music geeks!).


No comments: