The Political Mind at Work – MrMary Analyses his fellow Americans (1)

Elections are scary for me. They have the charged atmosphere of a lynching, in particular of the Jesse Washington Lynching. You may not know this but during the start of the 20th century in the United States, lynching was photographic sport. People sent picture postcards of lynchings they had witnessed.

Maybe I should be more specific and not rely on elaborate historical analogies to convey my point. The ambiance and environment in the United States during the last two elections has been one that is very extreme. Social unrest, class and racial tension seem to have boiled to a creshendo. Friends are being hostile to  one another. There is venom in excess to spit at gays, women, immigrants, the poor and black people. I dedicated two posts a few months back to discussing what some tourism books tell foreigners coming to America: Here is an example:

Rough Guide doesn’t shy away from the fact that many non-Americans are less-than-crazy about U.S. politics and foreign policy, and encouragingly notes that many Americans are just as “infuriated” about it as visitors might be. Still, it warns that the political culture saturates everything, and that “The combination of shoot-from-the-hip mentality with laissez-faire capitalism and religious fervor can make the U.S. maddening at times, even to its own residents.

With that in mind I thought I would list what for me is maddening at times as a somewhat disenfranchised resident of these United States.

Blinkered Thinking

I posted an article entitled: The Spectre Of Obama’s America on Facebook. The article summarized the 34 predictions that this group named Focus on the Family entitled (pdf) “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America.”

Elementary schools now include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness of
homosexuality as one possible personal choice. 

There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies in the United States…. the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that these agencies had to agree to place children with homosexual couples or lose their licenses. 

The Bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television stations when the subject matter includes such “offensive” doctrines as criticizing homosexual behavior.

It’s almost impossible to keep children from seeing pornography. The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts.
As a result, television programs at all hours of the day contain explicit portrayals of sexual acts.

President Obama has also moved to deepen U.S. ties and U.S. trade with communist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, regimes that had long enjoyed the favor of far-Left factions in the Democratic Party

In mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians

This is clearly insane, none of these and many more predictions happened. But that is besides the point. These are very extreme views aimed at inciting fear in others through disinformation and gross exaggeration. Let me Share with you the response I got on Facebook from one person:

For the other side, let’s consider Obama’s failed promises 1) Fixing the economy in his 1st term 2) Closing Guantanamo 3) Letting Bush taz cuts expire 4) Bipartiasnship 5) Barring former lobbyists from his administration 6) Transparency into government 7) Improved foreign relations, etc.

for the other side of what ?

You posted an article showing how some right wing group’s predictions about Obama were wrong. I’m showing some instances of how Obama’s predictions for himself were wrong

ok then, wouldn’t the opposite of a right wing group’s predictions about Obama being wrong, be technically a left wing group’s prediction about Obama being right ?

I never said “opposite” just another perspective to think about during election season

Synonyms for the opposite side : B-side, back, contraposition, converse, inverse, obverse, opposite side, other side, other side of the coin, other side of the fence, reverse side, the other side of the picture … lol …just messing with you

Breaking Down the Response

When one person says for the other side, it generally means: I am about to present you with information to support an opposing point about the point you just made. What was the precedent or the reason behind why this person wanted to share their opinion of Barack Obama’s failures. I use the word opinion because no factual evidence was presented. He didn’t share through what means he reached the conclusion that the president failed at all these points or one could objective arrive at the following conclusion?  This person didn’t deny or admit that the claims were insane. Rather they thought it would be best to give me some opinions disguised as information, to help me in my thought process. There is a subtle hubris or arrogance to that. Maybe I am the only one who sees it?

A larger issue

The media is dominated by five major companies (Time Warner, VIACOM, Vivendi Universal, Walt Disney and News Corp) which own 95% of all mass media including theme parks, movie studios, television and radio broadcast networks and programming, video news, sports entertainment, telecommunications, wireless phones, video games software, electronic media and music companies.

They have an amazing amount of influence in what the public considers to be real. I am suspect of the news we get before even the late night pundits and analyst get. When the news gets to the respective news media camps stories are  crafted that are not focused on educating people. Rather they are focused on getting an audience to buy into the ideology of a particular camp, and in order to create and cultivate an audience that will continue buy their ideology and support it us versus them tactics have to be employed. Ultimately to sell to people is to divide them. Here is how mass media affects society

  1. The Knowledge Gap: The mass media influences knowledge gaps due to factors including “the extent to which the content is appealing, the degree to which information channels are accessible and desirable, and the amount of social conflict and diversity there is in a community”.
  2. Agenda Setting: People are influence in how they think about issues due to the selective nature of what media choose for public consumption.
  3. Cultivation of Perceptions: The extent to which media exposure shapes audience perceptions over time is known as cultivation.

So the public sphere is dominated by us versus them rhetoric, half truths over embellished facts. The ideological consumer becomes a producer and seller and it continues on and on.

I think that’s enough for part one at least.



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