I just came across Rachel Maddow today. An Air America host who has some relatively amusing, left-leaning videos on youtube pertaining to the election campaign, called “Campaign Asylum.”
Ms. Maddow is smart and articulate. Although, her most endearing quality is that she comes off as incredibly upbeat, some might call it “gay” in the best sense of the word. This CNN segment where she is brought in to voice her reactions to the president’s state of the union address along with Steve Malzberg is rather indicative of her ability to find humor in the face of depressing inanity.
When she is on Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown,” he and she articulate a few ideas that I’ve been kicking around for a while.
- Holding everyone to the same standard versus criticizing both sides of an argument equally
- The Bush administration has a strategic element to it: to bankrupt, profit from, and gain long-term support for smaller government through horrendous mismanagement of the current one
The other point that I would like to make is corruption of the system is not just about giving people suitcases full of money. There is a nuance to it. It isn’t like pharmaceutical companies just pay CNN to smear Michael Moore. It is the underlying reality that you tend to like the people who give you money or pay for your vacations, especially if you are mostly happy with your current living conditions. Networks know which side their bread is buttered on, equivocating advertising for a movie to long continued drug campaigns is intellectually dishonest. I know the people that are in the news organizations will claim, up and down, that they are not tainted, or no favoritism occurs. That is because they expect clandestine conspiracies and overtness, and I’m talking about nuance. The type of bias people show for their sports team or their friends. As Upton Sinclair noted, “it’s difficult to make a man understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it.”
It is an observation, like Howard Stern’s, where he noted if a woman becomes a Playboy playmate, she will break up with her current boyfriend. The actual course of events plays out like a ball through a pachinko machine. However, at the end, there is only one incontrovertible conclusion. People rationalize their behavior in the end, to paint themselves in a more favorable light, but the truth of the matter is that they come under the influence of many subtle forms of social power. They’ve proven the true substance of their character in knowingly placing themselves in their current situation, not their course of actions resulting from it. Those that are supposed to be protectors and gate-keepers, the bias is doubly concerning.
At this juncture in history, along with a corporate media, we have two corporate parties, in a system that favors the type of soft corruption that I’ve been talking about. The soft corruption gauntlet that is the election campaign.
The solution is to provide a good publicly funded alternative. Until we reform elections (Condorcet method) and campaigns (public financing), our nation and democracy will be facing continued uphill battles to financed minority interest over public good. Even if calamity is avoided in regards to the environment and nuclear weapons presently (which is by no means assured), future problems will face similar hurdles; we will continue to have a government that does not follow the will of the people, and notably lags behind the best thinking in the populace. In that regard, solving these issues without addressing the underlying problems that have stifled their debate and action should be treated as pyrrhic victory and a Treaty of Versailles for future Americans.