"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves"....Edward R. Murrow
But it is not just about the lies; it is about some basic truths that corrupt this nation and are at the heart of everything wrong today. These basic truths are what are at the core of so many other problems. The first such truth is that the two-party system is destroying democracy as we know it. Don't get me wrong, the Republican Party is clearly the greater of two evils and needs to be voted out of power this November. Their trail of abuses and conciliations to the executive branch of government has been nothing short of treasonous. However, those expecting the Democratic Party to be a panacea will be sorely disappointed. Given the same complete control I doubt the democrats would have behaved any more ethically than the GOP has. Their leadership is fractured and cannot give off a clear direction to agree upon. All of them know the truth about the war, abuses of governmental power, and continuous illegal activity yet only half of them are willing to stand up against it. The problem is that they are just as tied to the status quo as the republicans. Even a second class party gets to dine at the trough of waste and corporate kickbacks. Never had this realization crystallized more than when John Kerry walked away from this country and handed the presidency back to Bush when he knew he had been cheated. Some may say he did not know, but if that was the case then he was entirely too stupid to be president anyway. No, the bigger reason was that he got to go back to Congress as a millionaire Senator. He still gets the limelight. He still gets the notoriety. America still gets the shaft. The sheeple mentality however believes that while we can get 31 flavors of ice cream in this country, we cannot get more than two coherent political streams of thought and that is simply ridiculous. What this leads to is having to compromise your principles and hold your nose when you cast your ballot. Christians who feel compelled to vote pro-life for instance are compelled to vote pro-war and pro-poverty. There is no room for dissension. You are either left or you are right and if you dare to say you are in the middle, you are ridiculed as not taking a stand. More importantly however, the two parties defend the system with great political violence. Unless you are a billionaire, you cannot run as a third party candidate, let alone become involved in the debate process, which has become nothing more than a dog and pony show. Even if you manage to get through somehow, a la Ross Perot, you are demonized by the press and marginalized to the point that you never have an even playing ground to begin with. Why? Because the chief priority of the two parties in this country is not the American people, it is preserving the two-party system.
The second major threat tearing apart the fabric of our republic is the consolidation of the media. This is what Murrow was referring to. Currently, there are about five corporations who control 90% of all mainstream media in this country. These companies have business and political agendas that do not include among them you or me. For example, the New York Post loses money hand over fist every year but it is maintained by Rupert Murdoch and the losses sustained so that he can keep his right-wing agenda on the front pages of New York. You will never find a substantive critical word in the NY Post of this president or this administration. Its goal is not to present the news to New Yorkers but to "package" the political opinions of Mr. Murdoch and present it as news, just as he does with the clearly unbalanced Fox News Channel. But Fox News is no longer the only culprit. The real damage done by Fox News is that it makes other networks appear mainstream when they really are only Fox-Lite. Instead you have people like Tucker Carlson, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough wrapped up as objective news hosts. It is through this media machine that the government feeds the sheeple what they want them to know and withholds what they do not. Case in point was the coverage tonight on the main news networks did not focus on Iraq and the increasing surge in violence. It did not focus on Lebanon and the child casualty rate exceeding 50%. No, it focused on Gibson-gate. In fact on the aforementioned Scarborough program, the entire program was devoted to discussing Mel Gibson's drunken tirade. Like the Scott Peterson and Natalie Holloway debacles before, these stories are designed to do one thing. Keep you focused on something other than what is really going on in the world and in this country. The last bastion of objective news coverage is the Internet and they are trying to take that away as well through the Net Neutrality sham. The goal is not only corporate profits but to keep the sheep bahhhing all the while their country is eroding. Nothing made this more apparent then when the major networks all got together to agree to dismiss the obvious election fraud revealed through the exit polls they commissioned!!! The press used to be about protecting the country from the abuses of government but now it is about protecting the government from the people. There is some brighter lights out there such as Keith Olberman but even that is not enough to offset the onslaught of packaged "news" brought to America each and every night. When the administration is really in a bind they dispatch Cheney or Rove to Fox News for what is called an "exclusive" but all it really is, is a platform to sell more lies to the people in this country. That is how you see so many people believing Saddam Hussein had WMD. That is how you have so many people believing Iraq had al Qaeda ties. News is no longer in the truth business.
The third major problem is the buying and selling of our elected officials every day through lobbying. There are now 63 lobbyists for every member of Congress we have. These lobbyists do not represent you or me; they represent the interests of corporate America. The credit card lobby sends millions of dollars to members of Congress and we get "bankruptcy reform." The energy industry sends millions of dollars to Congress and we get kickbacks to their industries and a regression of environmental laws so they can maximize profits. John Bolton was so unpopular that President Bush had to name him in a recess appointment, circumventing the will of the people but now Congress may approve him officially because of the efforts of AIPAC. This is all approved under the guise of free speech as the American people are sold out every day over corporate interests. This is why people like Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay and Duke Cunningham were allowed to prey on this country for as long as they did. Lobbying is how we have the mess we see in the voting machines in this country that has resulted in stolen elections for the past six years. Laws are passed that require states to use machines that are made by partisan companies even though those machines are known to be flawed and provide no paper trail. Lobbying is how companies earn protections from being sued when they egregiously hurt the American people. Lobbying is why elections are less about who the candidate is and what they believe in and more about how much money they can raise.
There are many other problems facing this nation and they are all vital as well but these are what stand out in my mind when I think about the current state of affairs. We have a government that is beholden to a failed system, fueled by money that bribes it daily, and supported by a media machine that endorses it. They tell us what to be concerned with and what to pay no mind to. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Just keep watching the next segment on Mel Gibson until American Idol comes on again. The sheep keep grazing and wolves keep getting fatter.
What is the answer America? Stop being sheep. If you turn on a news program that is focusing on a story such as Mel Gibson's feelings toward Jews, while our sons and daughters are dying in the sands of Iraq, turn the TV off. Go online and check out some progressive news sites to see what stories they do not want you to be aware of. Take that knowledge and share it with everyone you can. It is the mobilization from a grass roots level that can be the only solution to the crises facing this nation. When you see a progressive candidate who is talking about real change, vote for them. Be vigilant to any voting problems and do not just walk away. Send your letters to the editors, email the networks, sign the petitions. Get involved. Throwing your hands up in the air will only embolden the people who view the American people as sheep. It is through the non-involvement of people in this country that the wolves continue to grow in power. It is time to stop accepting what they are feeding us and take back the United States from the wolves Edward R. Murrow spoke so prophetically about, so long ago.