An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Brett Frazer’

Partisanship has Always Been Around

So, I got the most recent edition of the paper when I returned to UAA to resign my contract for the next year.  Annoying, but whatever.  I got to read an article written by a very articulate and very passionate writer at The Northern Light named Brett Frazer.  He wrote a very good article, but I will admit that I do disagee with parts of what he says.

His article talks about partisanship in this country, and how it is a very big problem that people are not devoting enough time to thinking about and not realizing what a dangerous issue it actually is.  I don’t disagree with his conclusion, just some main points.  And since I’m always looking for a new concept for my professional blog, I thought I would address that.  Here is giving a shout out to Brett Frazer, for giving me today’s blog idea.

In any case, partisan warfare has always been around, in my opinion.  The only real difference between then and now is that back in the day, they didn’t have the platform that we have in this country today.  A YouTuber by the name of Pat Condell made an assertion that the “9/11 Mosque” (the worst moniker that I have heard in a long time) divided America like nothing ever has.  But he missed it too.

The fact is that partisan battles have been going on in this country since we have had a country.  We call it partisanship, but truly it’s just different ways of thinking.  Even back when America had only one partly, the liberal and conservative way of thinking often clashed.  They clash because it is in their nature.

Frazer quoted Jon Stewart in his article, and rightly so, but there is another quote by Stewart that I think works much better to describe the modern atmosphere of politics in this country.

The embarassment is that I’m given credibility in this world because of the disappointment the public has in what the news media does.”

Stewart argued on Chris Wallace’s show on Fox Sunday that the “liberal media” that Fox so unabashedly attacks is not some huge liberal counterweight to their massively overwhelming conservative and Republican bias.  They are more sensationalistic and somewhat lazy.  He also pointed out when Wallace said that Fox viewers are happy to be getting “the other side of the story” that studies consistently show that Fox viewers are consistently misinformed.

But he is right, none of the 24-hour news networks are innocent in it all.  Personally, I get my straight news from PBS and BBC.  But I like the political commentary of Rachell Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Keith Olbermann.  I don’t like Ed Schultz all that much.  His mannerisms are way too much like a liberal Rush Limbaugh.

However, partisanship in this country is definitely not a new thing.  Back in the days before the Civil War the partisan lines were pretty clear.  Frazer quotes George W. Bush from 1992 for bringing about the huge partisan movement in this country on the premise of a kind of holy war.  While he did start something pretty major, the fact is that part of what we are seeing today is brilliant political manuevering by the conservative elements in this country.

My good friend, John Aronno, had a thought about modern politics.  It used to be in the 90’s that the Democrats and liberal and progressive elements of this country could talk about the real issues, like legalizing pot, gay marriage, getting rid of DADT (we finally got to that, but there was a gap), all sorts of things, and it was accepted.  There was real debate.  However, the modern political landscape has been for at least the last nine or ten years that the conservatives go further and further to the right and get increasingly more crazy with their ideas, keeping the liberal and progressive and even the moderate elements from not even bringing anything to the debate table.  They are kept too busy trying to stop the insanity that they can’t do anything for the issues that actually matter.

I don’t think some of what has happened with modern politics is all partisanship in the way Frazer does.  I think that partisanship has evolved into a game of chess.  I am absolutely with Frazer when I say that it shouldn’t be a chess board with pieces on one side and the other, but the fact is that this is what it has become.

But more than that, the entire system is crooked, from top to bottom.  One of the key things that Obama said during the campaign was how the problems that sunk our economy couldn’t be fixed by keeping things the same.  And now he has two of the guys who got us into this mess in the first place as his chief economic advisors.  Economic Reform was a joke.  Elizabeth Warren was put (sort of) in charge of yet another toothless government agency.

The partisanship in this country is a problem, but it is a problem that has always been around, and will continue to be around.  The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that the entire system is built around this government really working for the lobby groups, and the American people not choosing to stand up and get involved because they are so apathetic because of seeing how unpleasant modern politics is.

Another good quote from John –

The reason voting doesn’t work is because nobody does it.”

Peace out,

Eli

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The Smart Are Doomed

This is a simple message.  It’s simple because it needs to be simple.  The bulk of people in this country are, well, dumb.  Really really dumb.  They are proud of their own stupidity.  This isn’t meant to be insulting, or at least, not just insulting.  This is meant to be something more.  This is meant to show that smart in this country, and perhaps all over the world, is doomed.  It is hardcore doomed because ignorance and stupidity are rampant in our society.  These things are massively outnumbering the intelligent, they are massively outnumbering the decent.  The youth of today are wondering if there is hope.  Probably not.

You gotta give credit to Ron Paul for one thing – as stupid as his positions are, at least he is honest.  He is brutally honest.  He isn’t like the other candidates like Michele Bachmann or Tim Pawlenty or almost all of the others for just getting on stage and rattling off what their constituents want to hear.  He is honest about what he wants to do.  He wants to roll back Roe v. Wade (and he wants small government, right?).  He wants to massively cut taxes, even though that has been historically proven to do nothing for the middle class.  He wants to get rid of regulation, which has been proven to be a disaster for the economy.  He is honest, or at least, I am pretty sure he is honest when he says he wants these things.  That is a really good thing about a really foolish candidate who wants really dumb stuff to happen.

But the bulk of Republicans, and really Democrats as well, are just posers who will say whatever they think will get them voted.  This is not what a smart person should do.  The fact is that intelligence and thought in this country are hopelessly attacked.  People are being told what to think, how to feel, about everything.  What’s more, true intellectuals are banished to the wastelands of American introjection.  People are forced to be on PBS (the only true intellectual network, which is more than anything the corporations have given us) and say their message to the very few that regularly watch.  The dreamers and the thinkers are not given a chance to get ahead, because they are forced to play that game of society, and society’s game is really dumb.

There was a guy yesterday who asked, “do you like giving money to other people?”  That says something about the modern Libertarian and Republican parties.  It says that the only reason that they don’t like taxes is because they are little and often much poorer versions of Scrooge, and don’t want to give up their cash to help anybody else.  The common counter to that is, “we don’t want to help lazy people?”  Well, guess what, if you help the decent people, you also end up sometimes helping some hardcore lazy people.  But Fox News doesn’t paint that picture.  The picture that is painted is that the government is your enemy, and you need to get your guns and protest and keep them away from your ill-gotten gains.  Such a worthless narrative.

Then there is this little nugget to your right.  This is a debate that is actually happening at my newspaper.  I write for this paper.  I love the job (which I am currently not getting paid to do, by the way, due to some problems) that I do there.  I am trying to reach out and make a difference.  I am hoping that I can reach out and help somebody become more informed, or at least get a giggle or two about something, because I do try and throw in a joke or two.  But this is the debate – whether Islamaphobia is justified or not.  Hey, can I answer this question?  NO!  No, you morons, it is never justified!  It is not a debate, it’s a moral question with a direct answer – NO!  It is never justified to hate a group of people.  You can hate what a group of people believes in, but you cannot hate all members of a group because they are in that group.  But the fact that this is happening at my newpaper says something – that people want to hear this kind of stuff, that people are so hopelessly dense that this is what interests them the most.  This isn’t a debate that should be happening, because there shouldn’t be people who honestly believe that bigotry is a good thing.

There are so many things worth debating about, like how to fix our economy that is going the wrong direction again.  Or we could debate how to get off oil dependence, since the conservatives seem to not understand that oil is a finite resource.  Another great topic would be debating if keeping drugs illegal is a smart thing to do (prohibition has never worked, but that is beside the point).  These are good things to debate, but what does my newspaper debate about?  They debate if bigotry is good or not.  And the answer to that is no.  It is never good.  Why McDonald believes that it is may be an interesting conversation, but honestly, it just looks like trolling, like he is saying something because he knows it will get a rise out of people.   Hate what an organization does.  Have intellectual discourse over a system of beliefs.  Don’t just hate a group of people.  That is the epitomy of stupid.

But the biggest example of how the dumb are going to win – reality television.  People actually enjoy it.  Really there isn’t much more to say than that.  If you enjoy watching Simon brutalize some hopeful, if misguided, kid who can’t really sing all that well, you are already part of that world.  A world of people who don’t think about the bigger issues, but just want to watch people, who in most shows, aren’t like typical people, be heartless, ruthless, back-stabbing, and overall unpleasant (I reference to anything that is on the E! network) are doomed.

The smart are doomed to fade away, because the people of this country don’t demand better.  You want something more to happen with humanity?  Make more of an effort to make being smart more popular than being dumb (I want to say I don’t think McDonald or Frazer is dumb, I think what they are talking about is dumb.  I have a real problem with their topics, which was the point I was trying to make).

Peace out,

Eli

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