I wrote this for another website but thought it was relevant for the TH board and I hope Thom can get some use out of it. I use an analogy at the end and this came to me a few weeks ago while listening to Thom debate someone from Skeptics, or Reason site, i.e., a republican/libertarian. The guest was supporting Citizens United and apparently didn't have any qualms about how much money a corporation could donate to a political campaign. Thom blew apart the guests specious reasoning so the City Park concert analogy is about that discussion. This was posted on www.voterocky.org and was in response to a radio interview with Kucinich, Nader, Anderson and Barbara Hubbard.
I wholeheartedly agree with the point of Kucinich, Nader and Anderson in that people need to understand that who they are and what they do really matter. Democracy is not a spectator sport and individual people can make a difference. Many such people aligned in common purpose can bring real progressive change and it starts with the messaging.
In that regard we need to think about how to refine the message in order to win converts and galvanize people to act on behalf of We the People. In Rocky’s interview he mentions three groups of people: those who do harm to society, those who stand by and watch and those who work to do good by all. The bystanders comprise the majority and I suggest their disengagement stems largely from distraction and confusion. This feeble mindedness can partially be attributed to ignorance and fear and those are exactly the human weaknesses that Joseph Goebbels and Edward Bernays-type Public Relations “experts” target and exploit. The job of insisting that the corporate-owned ultra-conservative Reich wing is more Godly, Patriotic and Free than “socialist” liberals has now fallen largely to FOX and the rest of the mainstream media, which is one of the reasons they emphasize “FREE markets.”
Progressives and progressive candidates that are interested in promoting We the People should use the messaging tools that carry some heft-- hypocrisy, ridicule and humiliation--with which to bludgeon the idio-illogical posturing of the greed is good and Godly crowd. The right has claimed that God is on their side. It’s time we pointed out that most all major religions and Eastern philosophies stress a spiritual connection with and respect for the ALL and rejection of materialism as necessary for individual growth. Yet somehow we keep getting billionaire-backed millionaire politicians who profess to be more Holier than Thou yet these career politicians are extremely materialistic and war like and do not balk at exploiting God’s creation for material gain—resources and people alike. It shouldn’t be that difficult to point out this utter hypocrisy so let’s all encourage the progressive talkers and aspiring statesmen to start doing it more. Perhaps those fence sitters will start “leaning forward,” to satirize the new slogan for MSNBC.
Patriotism or rather false patriotism is another area where progressives can message much better. First and foremost, we don’t live in a global community; we live in our own local community with our own water supply and our own friends and relatives and local jobs and environment. What’s good for the board of directors and stockholders of a trans-national corporation isn’t necessarily good for us. In fact, trans-national corporate goals are more and more becoming directly at odds with community quality of life and even viability. Think of the oil companies and their penchant for fracking and the impact to the aquifers. Think of Monsanto’s terminator seeds, their GMOs and their legions of patent infringement lawyers vs. local farmers. Think of your children, wives and husbands leaving their local communities to be repositioned in foreign lands to fight and die for trans-national corporate oil and mineral profits. We should remind the feeble minded fence sitters that a lot of our veterans died fighting “The Spread of Communism” in Korea and Vietnam. Our nation suffered economically and psychologically during the decades-long cold war with Communist USSR. Yet our trans-national, FOX and MSM supporting global free traders see no problem with shipping our local jobs off to Communist China, enhancing their economy while ours falters. They see no problem in the fact that our trade deficit with China is helping them build up their military and that we may eventually clash--a euphemism for WWIII-- over finite natural resources that we are constantly encouraged to consume and throw away by Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels inspired PR and marketing firms. We can remind them of this everyday but especially emphatic on Memorial Day.
If we can show the feeble minded fence sitters that FOX equals Fox guarding the Henhouse that is America, and that it might as well stand for Fascist Orwellian Xenophobes, then perhaps we can get them to see past the corporate dogma. To see that we are becoming an oligarchy, which is anything but free.
And as for Citizens United, Corporations are People and money is freedom of speech, perhaps an analogy will help demonstrate the fallacy of this. Consider a city park, a world class singer, say John Lennon, Neil Young, Jim Groce sits down in a chair with an acoustic guitar and begins to play melodic music, the lyrics are about love and peace and living in harmony. People gravitate to the singer, their spirits resonating with the harmonious music. But the oil and military industrial complex doesn’t like this message of peace and love. There’s no money in peace. It’s better to make people afraid of other people and make them fear these people and then offer them protection from these evil people. But they’re so fixated on greed that they can’t think creatively so they hire a PR firm and the PR firm comes up with a scheme. They decide to field another band in the park and drown out the message of peace and love. They hire a crappy right wing musically irrelevant band, say Ted Nugent, and provide them with mountains of speakers and amplifiers drawing precious megawatts of power from the city grid. The cacophonous screeching is practically inaudible, the ears bleed with discordance, but the sheer amplitude begins to draw people in. Many linger at the electric induced spectacle infused with obligatory lyrics about God and country, freedom ringing outrage against those who tolerate anything less than American supremacy. The feeble minded are assured they have chosen the best show in the park—why else would they have all the well-known corporate sponsors.
Messaging is all important. It doesn’t take money to get on message.