Power and Politics

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In the recent discussion on the shooting in Arizona, Tip brought up an interesting point, “That’s all these radio and TV bozos are doing…public relations. They are paid to do it by “persons” willing to seize power, dominate and exploit. These persons don’t have bodies and are therefore not at risk from physical violence issuing from their logical violence. They are discorporate persons, but ironically called corporations.” In large measure this is really a discussion about power, and who holds the power, and what are they willing to do to maintain that power. Tip highlighted the corporate media and their role, and that is certainly one part of the equation. I am concerned about corporations like Disney and GE controlling the news as well, (and to a lesser extent Murdoch, only because I believe all they do is media.) I think it is a conflict of interest and puts them in a position of both benefiting from and creating the news at the same time. Corporations want to maintain their power and the biggest threat to their power base is the government, therefore, they will work extra hard to make sure they neutralize that threat, even if it means purchasing the news.

Politicians and political pundits are the other side of the equation. Although politicians have always had power, the control of Congress and the White House gives you authority to control 1/3 of the U.S. Economy and millions of jobs. This power is worth a lot and politicians will go to great extremes to make sure they remain in charge. Supporting the cast of politicians are the numerous political pundits who get paid big bucks to spout their theories and rhetoric. Some of them are consultants, others are media types like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Olbermann, Maddow, and Schultz.

Tim Wise is a well known advocate of anti-discrimination practices and talks extensively about white privilege. In a Youtube speech on white privilege he talks about the years before the Civil War and slavery. His claim, and I think rightfully so, is that the rich landowners wanted to make sure they maintained the money and power. The best way to do that was to divide the poor whites from the poor blacks. They figured if those two groups spent their time fighting each other, no one would realize the rich landowners were the real source of the problem. The rich landowners held down the poor whites and blacks, but kept them divided so the wealthy maintained their power base.

I believe the same type of thing is happening today. The political machine has the power and they will stop at nothing to maintain that power. The best way to do that is divide the right and left and make sure they spend their time fighting each other rather than the establishment. The media corporations are happy to oblige because the fight means higher ratings, which means more money. The politicians are happy to support the divide because then they maintain their power. The political pundits fuel the fire on both sides; after all, if the people really did unite, their empires would crumble.

The battle is not between the right and left, yes there are differences, but they are inconsequential compared to the big pictures. I am one of the few people in this community who truly operates in both environments. I hear many of the same political concerns in discussions with my left-wing friends as well as my right-wing friends. When I start getting virtually the same emails from Move-on.org and Campaign for Liberty then you have to wonder what is going on.

The first inclination of the political establishment (politicians, pundits, media) was to use the Arizona shooting as an opportunity to further divide the right and left. Blame Sarah Palin, blame the media, it is all part of the game to divide. Politicians try to call for calm so they appear to be above the fray, yet they are the leaders and beneficiaries of the fight to divide. How many times have we heard divisive statements from politicians and then in their next breath they call for civility? It's all bull.

At some point, we as a society have to call their bluff and say we have had enough. We had a chance this weekend, but even this website bought into the rhetoric and pretty soon we were helping them play their game. I have made this statement before on this website and I will continue to say it: the battle is not between the right and left; it is between the citizens and the power holders in government and multinational corporations.

About Craig Mayberry

Closed Account • Member since Jan 17, 2008

While writing his articles from 2008 to 2011, Craig lived near Lynden and taught at both Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University. He was active in politics and ran for public [...]

Comments by Readers

Riley Sweeney

Jan 11, 2011

I agree about 80%. This is really good. We do have a great deal of common ground. Well done, sir.

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Steve Wilson

Jan 11, 2011

I’d like to suggest a different battleground in which the current events are framed.  Actually it’s someone else’s words, ones that you are likely to hear repeated on the next Federal holiday (January 17):  “The choice is not betweeen violence and nonviolence, but nonviolence and nonexistence”.

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Tip Johnson

Jan 11, 2011

I am not the first to have observed that it is not about left and right.  It about who’s on top.

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Tip Johnson

Jan 11, 2011

On the other hand, there is something to be said for the whacknut factor:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/10/glenn-beck-gun-photo-fail_n_807011.html?ir=Media

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Ham Hayes

Jan 11, 2011

Too often our first reaction to unpleasant events is to look for others to blame. Instead should we not look within ourselves first? Violent actions are preceded by violent words, violent thoughts and violent feelings. 

If we foster any of these we are contributing to the problem, not the solution. And who of us has not held these?  If we wish to change the game, then we need to begin at “home.?

Craig’s point is well taken.  To maintain control over someone, play on their fears and get them to attack someone else.  All great tyrants know that trick.  And attack is the game, so we can start by dropping attack in our words and deeds, we can stop playing the game of those who wish to control us.  Then we might make a difference.

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