POLITICS AS FALSE ADVERTISING

 

POLITICS AS FALSE ADVERTISING

 

Concerning the up-coming conventions and election, I’m interested as long as Bernie Sanders is in the mix, and not a minute longer. Some of my friends are disgusted with me that I won’t fall in behind Hillary when the contest is finally pared down to her and Trump. But I’m far from sure that she’s the better choice. By being just who he is, Trump thoroughly exposes the bankruptcy of the political system. Hillary keeps the facade in place.

The more I think about it, the more I see value in the exposure.   It’s so overdue. Bernie Sanders put forth a noble effort to expose this poisonous American plutocracy (a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich), the portal through which all the other poisons seep. He got some traction, but finally too few people had a clue as to how few hands now control our nation’s wealth (and thus power), and how toxic that concentration of wealth is to our overall health and well-being — which is, of course, part and parcel with the health and well-being of the earth.

For example, most people think a billionaire is a first cousin to a millionaire, but they are only remotely related. Here’s a way to see the difference more clearly. Count a million dollars, one dollar every two seconds, if you could stay awake, and it would take, twenty-two days. Count a billion dollars, a dollar every two seconds, and it would take sixty-two years.

The United States leads the world in billionaires, with 536, last count — per capita about five to one over any other country. Why would there even be one billionaire? Anywhere? What sane political system would allow one person such an accumulation of wealth, to then buy the laws or their way around the laws, and in the end to pass such vast accumulations onto their children.

Here’s another way to look at it.   Invested in the market, money doubles every seven years. On the average.   So let’s say a person has a spare million dollars to invest, to just let sit in some investment portfolio. A number of individuals find themselves in that position. Certainly those 536 billionaires. A million dollars is small change to them. In twenty years, without their doing a stitch of work, their one million is now eight million. In forty years it’s 60 million.

What you end up with in such a system is the wealthy few owning pretty much everything, the newspapers, the TV networks, the universities, the politicians, the whole political system.

In short time they own your mind, though propaganda and advertising, putting in front of you what they want you to see, keeping hidden from you what they don’t. Indeed, they own the country…. And here’s a nice piece of chicanery. They become idols to the very citizenry whom they manipulate, whom they keep in ignorance, whom they placate with casinos, lotteries, and whatnots, as if to say you too can become one of us.   All you have to do is luck out.

I used to be a registered Democrat. I was taught by my working class uncles that the Democratic Party represented the everyday people. My disillusionment with Democrats perhaps began decades ago with Lyndon Johnson and his “nail that coonskin to the wall” escalation of the Vietnam War.   (What dangerous boors our presidents can turn out to be.) But it came to full culmination with a casual comment by Bill Clinton in the run-up to his eight years in the White House in the 90’s: “The party with the most money wins.”

My god, I thought, it has come to this.   The man headed for the most powerful office in the world, the so-called future leader of the free world, now says it openly, without embarrassment: the candidate who can buy the most TV advertisement wins. Indeed, that’s what these billions of dollars in campaign budgets primarily goes for. In a lead article in the New York Times a couple days ago, it was pointed out that several billions have already been spent in the primaries alone, and most of it for TV. (That article was right next to the one on the several thousand rich Americans who were exposed in the Panama Papers, hiding their money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes.)

This is the world both Trump and Clinton are comfortable within. We talk about gridlock in Washington to hide the deeper truth that there isn’t much difference between the major parties. They are both in the pockets of the wealthy. As Jim Kunstler pointed out in a recent blog, the Republican (multi-billionaire) Koch brothers have already sidled on over to the Democratic side of the game board, fearing that Trump may be too much of a loose cannon.   These “one-percent-ers” all play golf together.

Barack “Change-You-Can-Believe-in” Obama turned out to be a bankers/Wall Street president, no holds barred. Where was the change in all that?   Everybody know that political ads have little to nothing to do with the persons being advertised, but are based on reading the current polls, then showing and saying what needs to be said in terms in terms of electing a candidate.

And the resistance to the falsity of advertising is almost non-existent. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, published over 30 years ago, Neil Postman points out that advertisements have been dumbing down the population for a very long time. (And now add 30 more years.) So that work has been done, it seems.

America is not in a contest between Tweedle Dee Hillary and Tweedle Dum Donald.   America is in a race between consciousness and catastrophe.

Hang in there, Bernie. Give ’em hell!

 

 

 

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