October 3, 2012. The corporate media controlled show called Plutocratic Political Puppetry (presidential politics) was on full display tonight on CNN. The consultants and advisors from the best news team on television framed the debate for us beforehand, saying Obama should tell people how he’ll fix the economy, and that we should look for who’s relaxed, who’s loose. Another said we should look for who’s aggressive, who sets the tone and attacks the other. Meanwhile, on college campuses, a drinking game was gaining popularity through facebook status updates. People gathered in groups and would take a shot every time Romney said “small business” and every time Obama said “middle class.”
While former Presidential campaign advisors and political analysts emphasized the points we should focus on and shaped viewers expectations for the debate, unawakened minds were watching and having their views molded, their perspectives created. They were learning the ways in which they are allowed to perceive this hour and a half mockery of democracy, they were learning to be uncritical and passive consumers of the biggest stage and most-watched theatrical display of this political system we have, a system that has been bought up by bankers and big businesses. A system of visual propaganda brought into existence through the cable wires, radio waves and internet transmitters, the mass communication information superhighway that is the internet and cable television, the news networks that air talking heads who talk about the soundbytes, catchphrases, platitudes and storyboards. Politics has been reduced to campaign slogans and television advertisements, and is dependent on funding by billionaires, SUPERPACS and private donors. In the US, politics is merely an instrument by which the richest and most powerful people maintain control of the mass mind, a tool for maintaining a culture of deception, silence, submissiveness and servitude. People think they are free because they cast a vote every four years for one of two figureheads who appear on television. I criticize this system because I have read Marcuse, who told me that “True political freedom would be freedom from a political system over which you have no effective control. “
Instead of asking questions like “why is the mainstream universe of political discourse populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions or dictations?” like Marcuse did in the 1960’s, today our scholars are asking things like “who won the debate?” The overwhelming majority of academia and news networks are operating in and perpetuating this one-dimensional view of politics and society, and so is our education system. Our indoctrination begins at a very young age, when we go to schools and pledge allegiance to our flag. We learn history from a Eurocentric, imperialist perspective, and are taught to revere the free market and despise communism. We are taught to be patriotic, to be proud of our government and support its decisions. When the Presidential debates appear, people are watching through the lenses created after years of socialization. Instead of active citizens who participate in our democracy, we are passive pawns in a one dimensional society that is systematically promoted and created by the owners of politics: the news media.
All issues are co-opted and shaped by the restrictions of the universe of political discourse that has been created by the talking heads, advertisements, newspapers and other forms of media. Accustomed to this presentation of political discourse, we, as the audience, are easily led to believe that repeated bromides have actual, tangible meaning. The candidates accuse each other of having policies that cut x thousands of jobs or increase the national debt by x millions of dollars, and argue that their policies, not their opponents, will favor the middle class. They repeat numbers provided by biased “fact-checkers” and reiterate platitudes that become the key principles of their campaigns. They compare themselves to past Presidents (Obama said if he is Clinton then Romney is Bush) and constantly remind the audience of their past success and future interest in bi-partisan political exchanges. Each candidate is trying desperately to connect in some way to the most number of people possible, a situation generating more deception than honest intentions.
When Romney says “I plan on making the private sector more efficient,” we assume this to be in accordance with his plans to “cut unnecessary spending,” and “keep our military strong.” Of course, these goals are in accordance with one another, but what they reveal is not a plan of action that would favor the middle class, as Romney would like viewers (especially those in battleground states) to believe, to act on all three would actually help to sustain the military-industrial complex and global domination of the economy by the largest oil companies. This is why Romney said he wanted to “bring that pipeline in from Canada,” and why he criticized Obama for spending 90 billion on green energy. Nearly every domestic issue has to do with money. Money, money, money. Romney pointed out that even though Obama allocates governmental financial support to companies working to find alternative sources of energy, most of the money is going to corporations that donate a lot of money to the Obama campaign. This is what happens when billionaires battle for presidency in the post-public funding era. Even Green issues are really just green issues. (money that is).
In a classic matchup of the free-market supporting rich guy vs. the neoliberal socialist from Kenya, I was hoping the Kenyan would dig below the common narrative and talk about his plan to address the systemic inequality in the US. I was hoping he would make clear to us his vision to end crony capitalism and poverty, but I realized long ago that such goals are not in tune with the ultimate goal of perpetuating this political and economic system that favors the rich and robs from the poor. While Obama seems to be concerned for the right things, like education, the environment and taxing the wealthy, he is still merely a puppet in a game of poitical theater. And you are a member of the audience, a participant in this grand event, a person in the middle class of America that Mitt Romney believes in, and Obama will fight for. Now drink up. Time to take another shot.