The 1960 presidential election saw the power of visual media over an auditory based medium. A majority of those surveyed who saw the debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon on television said they felt that Kennedy “won” the debate. Those who listened to the debate on radio felt that Nixon fared better. Many historians felt that the advent of television and a new interstate transportation grid that allowed for increased participation at campaign rallies swung a close election to the more charismatic John Kennedy. It was Kennedy who pioneered circumnavigating party bosses to deliver his message of a national campaign directly to voters.
Nixon learned from his mistakes in regards to utilizing the media. American journalist Joe McGinness wrote a best-selling book, The Selling of the President 1968, based on his access to Nixon’s campaign. The era of modern campaigns using slick public relations and psychological manipulation was firmly established.
It’s been that way ever since. It is my belief that is why, more than any other one factor, our choices have become increasingly irrelevant to what we as a republic need. Candidates for President have become little more than corporate proxy battles between ever increasingly bitter clashes of agendas. This clash of mega titans could be the end of that great American experiment known as a constitutional republic.
All the shenanigans that have occurred in Washington D.C. in the last 50 years have led us to the abyss. This perfect storm, that has seen the hollowing out of a vibrant middle class, where the cost of a massive government complex has been disproportionately left to a dwindling subset of working-class taxpayers, is now upon us. That subset of the electorate is acutely aware their government does not respect them or their rights. They know the more it costs them to support this bureaucracy, the less they have for themselves and their families. They become less free.
This country is in debt up to its collective eyeballs. Whether you believe COVID-19 was a true pandemic that was a clear and present danger to the entire country, or if it was a “plandemic”- seized upon by opportunists, really doesn’t matter anymore. The economic collapse that has been inflicted will reverberate for years. I don’t think you need to be wearing a tin-foil hat to consider that the absolute chaos we are witnessing is damn dangerous.
So, the question becomes: what do we do?
The election is coming, and whatever the result is, it is almost a given that half of the country is going to be enraged. Egged on by a nonstop 24-hour news cycle that feeds itself on dissent and discord.
Let’s do our country a big favor. Don’t fall for it. Channel whatever disappointment or elation you may have into a determination to work for a civil society rather than burning the joint down.
We could try dusting off the Constitution. I do wonder how many people who vote do so with a clear understanding of how the framework of our system works. The tenets of our republic do not favor one political party over another. It is possible to effect change through constitutional means. However, that does require hard work and a willingness to work through a process that is time-consuming. In this time of instant gratification and mob rules, identity politics is demanding to be given precedent over established procedures.
Identity politics that are currently in vogue are a way to manipulate and distract in order to create a false narrative that rewards a few at the expense of the many. Lobbyists armed with data information systems and colossal spending budgets can convince enough people to see things the way whoever hired them wants them to see. One reason that so many false narratives can be successfully spun is by the use of statistics. Anyone who has ever taken a class in this science will tell you, it’s easy to distort numbers.
With such turmoil rolling around, eventually things wind up at the Supreme Court. The court is considered the arbitrator of all things constitutional. Supreme Court judges are often described as being left-leaning or right-leaning by the media. The New York Times and the Washington Post are especially guilty of framing their articles in this manner. I think this is a huge error, and one I wish they would correct. Such descriptions are stereotypes meant to cloud critical thinking of any given judge’s opinions. Recent Supreme Court decisions have “surprised” media analysts. Mostly because they assume the justices will conform to a narrative that has been applied by the media to the individual justices. In other words, they expect a right-leaning/conservative court to render decisions favorable to the Republican Party, and more to the point, President Trump.
Chief Justice John Roberts has been described as a disappointment to Republicans. I think he may be a disappointment to Constitutional conservatives, but I don’t think he is a disappointment to those who look at Supreme Court decisions from an economic standpoint. Justice Roberts’ decisions are, from my perspective, based on corporate economic factors steeped in legal opinion.
The recent Supreme Court decisions on DACA and the issue of equal rights are going to be re-visited, without a doubt. This will probably make the next appointee to fill a vacancy a media onslaught that will surpass the one that occurred with Justice Kavenaugh’s nomination. The same interests that have corrupted our election process are now focusing on our Supreme Court.
No wonder some people think the apocalypse is near.
Valerie Maez writes from Lewis, Colo.