The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Wussification of American Politics

With every election cycle, we see the election process diminish and contort. The media has done quite a job on the minds of the people to replace historic precedent with their idea of what an election should be. We have moved past strong debate between candidates in the style of Lincoln-Douglas down to practically sitting at the table for Sunday dinner having a political discussion. In the past candidates strongly and clearly defining political positions and plans gave the people both a clear idea of what the candidates stood for AND helped educate the people with details they normally would not take the time to pursue themselves. Today, we can go through a year or longer listening to a candidate and still not have the foggiest idea what they really stand for or what we can expect from them.

A candidate is comprised of what is inside of them, their positions, their ideas, their accomplishments and their actions. What is inside them is their inner core, their character, their belief system, their likes / dislikes, their biases, their ability to be objective when appropriate, their ability to persevere when tested by heavy trials, their outreach to their fellow humans, and their sense of accountability. Their positions represent their ability to take a stand on principle as well as their ability to change when provided with ample reason to do so (outside of political expediency). Their ideas show whether they have the ability to be creative enough to address complex issues of the day with solutions targeted at solving problems rather than expanding government. Their accomplishments show that they have the ability to complete something they have begun; that they had a clear goal to achieve rather than working without aim. Finally, their actions show whether they have been true to and consistent with their inner core and embraced positions.

The goal of the political process should be to investigate and reveal the comprised elements of each candidate and communicate the findings to the American people so they can make informed votes. In other words, the election process should mostly target the intellect of the people. While emotions can be a part of the equation, they should take a back seat in the process.

There are two ways that the goal of educating the people can be accomplished: through the media and from the candidates themselves. We clearly see that the media falls flat in its responsibility to provide the people with the information they need to cast an intelligent vote. My first three substantive posts on this blog (here, here and here) deal with how the media uses what they say, what they don't say and how they say what they say to give the information to the people that they want and how they want. The white glove inspection the media is giving to Sarah Palin would not be so bad if all four ticket candidates went through the same treatment. Aside from highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly as desired, I have not seen any comprehensive coverage of the lives (personal and political) of John McCain, Barack Obama or Joe Biden. The American Thinker highlights key years in Barack Obama's life that we know very little about. The media seems very uninterested in the details of Obama's trip to Pakistan in 1981, the details of his life at Columbia University, why terrorist Bill Ayers selected an unknown Obama to serve on the board at CAC, and the details of his service on the board including his relationship with Ayers during that time. The media also continues to give Obama a free pass on any shred of details to his positions. After speaking, the media can only focus on the quality of delivery (with the aid of a teleprompter of course) instead of asking how. So we cannot trust the media to inform the people clearly and fully.

So education is left to the candidates to inform us about themselves and to inform us what they know of the other candidate that we cannot otherwise know. Once again the media steps in. Having failed (on purpose) at their job, they do not want anyone else stepping in to do their job. When a candidate begins informing us about the shortcomings of the other candidate with details the media will not provide, they step in and call that candidate "negative". They focus on any shred of a detail that may have been spun a little for effect and blow that up like the ink spray of an octopus and mask the important details that are true. They continue to push for "lovefest" style debate instead of direct, confrontational, effective discourse. Of course, what we often see is the media only applying the wussification factor to the GOP candidate. Anything by McCain that is not lovefest discourse is branded by the media as negative, low, sliming, etc. When Obama does it, the media portrays him as strong, direct, taking the gloves off, defending against swiftboat attacks, etc. They even get the definition of a swiftboat attack wrong. A swiftboat attack is an attack that is effective due to the level of distribution and because it is grounded in truth.

The people of America need to wake up and demand a better election process. I have at times desired to go beyond the two party system we have, but in reality the two parties would be sufficient if the process succeeded in providing voters with what they need to cast intelligent votes. Since the media is not at all interested in an informed voter (horror!), we must find a way to circumvent them. Blogs and talk radio do their part, but the media remains a fundamental tool in acquiring the basic building blocs of education. The octopus ink is sprayed by the media and then sprayed by the bloggers. While the MSM feels threatened by the new media, they are still a powerful force and will be for some time to come. Their goal is to hold on to that power as long as possible in hopes the new media will fade away or become regulated to the point they have no teeth.

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