Stating the Obvious about Politics in America

Posted on May 6, 2011

0


By Edgar Mejia.

I remember the day I first heard about politics, the concept remains the same till this day. I either voted left or right, Democratic or Republican. The way that the political system works has blinded the American voter; Americans perceive politics as being free elections. But is that really the case or are we being lied to believe we have a choice? In “The Allegory of the Cave”, Plato says “All in all, then, what people in this situation would take for truth would be nothing more than the shadows of the manufactured objects”(1). In a similar fashion Americans tend to believe that the politicians that represent them are actually their choice. However the truth is that the 1% of the population which has wealth makes this choice for us. I believe that current politicians for the most part lie; these lies feed on people’s illusions. The true intention of the politician remains hidden in order to achieve the goals of the wealthy. The tools at their disposal are numerous and in this essay I will write about the two main tools that I consider the most effective. The first tool that the wealthy use is the politicians and the second is the messenger that is propaganda in the media. And last I will talk about the reforms that I believe could benefit the people in this situation.

Politics regardless of parties do not tend to serve the people. To be more accurate they do not serve for the most part the middle and working classes. Events that are occurring in Wisconsin and in New York this year are good examples. Governor Walker from Wisconsin decided that budget cuts and tax cuts for the rich would fix Wisconsin’s deficit. Walker is a Republican and to his credit the Republicans have made their agenda clear “spend less, owe less, grow the economy”. Then in New York, a Democrat, Governor Cuomo decides that budget cuts and tax cuts for the wealthy will work as well. There seems to be a general consensus that budget cuts and tax cuts are acceptable in both parties. Since when did both parties share the same idea? It seems pretty obvious that the wealthy are the only ones that benefit from current politics.

Media is essential to a democracy as it informs the population of everything that is new. But in today’s society media news outlets seem to be more biased towards one of the two parties. Fox news is known by the left as the GOP propaganda machine with shows like “The O’Reilly factor” that always tend to favor the Republicans. The right says the same about MSNBC favoring Democrats, were Republicans see shows like “Rachael Maddow show” that tends to laugh at their opinions. In this case we can say that news outlets have a hidden agenda. This agenda is a constant reminder to the American people to choose a team; this propaganda also has an emotional effect on the viewer, either it be a “feel-good” or fear ad. Dr. Ted Brader, a University of Michigan political scientist, explains that “the feel-good ads are mobilizing” (www.cbsnews.com).  He also says that “They make people more interested in participating, more interested in the election. And they reinforce people’s prior views, beliefs, and attitudes” (www.cbsnews.com). In addition, fear ads are also used to persuade the public by directing the public’s attention away from more important issues or focusing on attacks on the other political parties. This type of fear ads are criticized in a BBC documentary named “The Power of Nightmares” by Adam Curtis. In the film, Curtis argues that after September 11 attacks in New York, US prosecutors had to prove that Osama Bin laden was the head of a criminal organization responsible for the bombings. They find a former associate of Bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that Bin Laden was the head of a massive terrorist organization called “al-Qaeda”. This enables the American government to launch the “war on terror”. This war is shown all across the media in every news station, a war against an enemy that Curtis agues didn’t exist. Curtis film shows that Americans fail to uproot “al-Qaeda” because they didn’t exist. Adam Curtis quotes “In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/).

There needs to be reform within the political parties. The political monopoly controlled by the wealthy needs to end, as they hire many lobbyists in order to influence the politics. This creates a scenario in which new challengers to the political movement become crushed by the sheer amount of money invested in the propaganda; News also needs reform. The hidden agendas need to be kept in check by laws. These reforms would be perfect in an ideal world but unfortunately the wealthy have the power mentioned before of the politicians and the media.

I make it seem as if there is no hope at times, but here at the BMCC campus there are people planning to fight for my rights as well as every other student. While both political parties seem to share the same views as well as the same tactics of deceit, the youth will continue to fight on against their lies. The college youth seems like a small group compared to what should really be opposing the government as shown by our brothers in Wisconsin and in Egypt, but I have some faith that today’s youth will overcome the obstacles of the future. In the mean time we will continue to play charades with politics.

Works Cited

1. Rauh, Sherry. “The Psychology of Political Ads – CBS News.” Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. 22 Oct. 2008. Web.16 Apr. 2011.

2. Curtis, Adam. “The Power of Nightmares: The Shadows in the Cave.” BBC News on the web. 14 January, 2005. Web. 16 Apr. 2011.

Advertisements
Posted in: U.S. Politics