This is a technology blog and I typically only deviate from that topic to cover management of a technology business. Given the ongoing government shutdown and the persistent snaking about it from our foreign partners, I wanted to offer you at least my perspective on what is going on here. I probably shouldn’t say anything but to be honest it hurts to see what is going on with my country so I’ll try to make it quick and spare you the usual Vladville shenanigans and profanities.
The (only real) problem with United States is that we have a culture which has rapidly made it more acceptable to lie.
That’s it in a nutshell. We have entire news networks who do nothing but lie to the stupid and afraid masses. On both sides of the polar political spectrum.
But why, you may ask, why does this go unchecked? Because everyone lies. Our political parties and their leadership openly lie to the people with no recourse. They rely on the public spectacle (the shutdown) to continue a very divisive, uncompromising, righteous and loud opposition to the compromise which keeps the money pouring in to the political machine, keeps people tuned in to the news networks to track a manufactured crisis that they don’t want the general population tuned out from. If you stop getting prodded about things you view differently from your neighbor, you just might see how much you have in common with them and you’d tune out. And none of them want that so they continue to leverage the complexity to lie and continue to gain attention (and by proxy, money and support)
This is not just a spectacle of our leadership, it is something that is rapidly becoming the norm. While we’ve sort of come to terms with our politicians lying to us, the entire culture of lying in marketing to get a sale, lying about income to get a house you cannot afford (you’re welcome for that 08’ financial collapse btw), lying about experience to get a job, lying about anything and everything.
As much as some of you like to laugh about United States (having traveled the world) this really is the best country on the face of the planet. By far. We have it good here – and that leads to complacency, boredom and general dumbing down of the public. So we have “reality television” which champions the culture of cheating, deceit, lying and doing anything by any means necessary to win. Things like Survivor, Apprentice, Bachelor, My fake fiance (in which a fake bride lies to her family about an obnoxious fiancé that she is fake marrying just for the $) and the list goes on.
Example of stupidity
So is America just full of idiots? Yes. But that is not something exclusive to United States. The question you should be asking is: Why do rational people give into irrational, lying and divisive political debates?
Like I said: Because everyone lies and they make a show of it. They all start with a grain of truth, which isn’t disputable, and surround it with a mountain of deceptive and wildly flamable conent. It’s pretty much the recipe for the success of this blog. But here, let me offer you an example:
Last Friday, Bill Maher, a comedian, made fun of World War 2 veterans, on a premium cable show. To any normal, rational, even deeply opinionated person about veterans affairs that would have been the end of it – comedians tell jokes and sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. No news there, everyone moves along right?
Well, not in United States where news networks behave like sharks during the mating season for any bit of polarizing material they could turn into outrage. Think about it, when was the last time a comedian said something stupid that made you even give it a second thought? So let me walk you through this one step at a time:
BILL MAHER: The other thing that apparently was so important for the Republicans to keep open was the World War II Memorial in Washington. That was closed, so a bunch of the World War II vets knocked down the barriers and stormed it. [Laughter]
And then I loved this, they posed for pictures with Michele Bachmann who showed up. Michele Bachmann, one of the people most responsible for shutting the fucking thing down. They’re the greatest generation – nobody said they were the brightest generation. [Laughter]
For a moment, forget that this is a comedian. Forget that it’s a joke. Forget that it’s a premium cable channel show airing at 10PM on a Friday night that very few people will see. Forget all that. Here is how it’s served:
So in Maher’s world, even the last remaining survivors of those that defeated Hitler and Japan are to be ridiculed.
How can the folks at HBO abide this?”
Here are some annoying facts for you before I help you understand how this works:
1. The government is shut down because majority of republicans in The House of Representatives refuses to send a bill without major cuts to Affordable Care Act to the Senate. This is a fact.
2. Michele Bachmann, Republican, is a representative whose tea party movement wants to repeal major sections of the Affordable Care Act and was instrumental in continuous votes and bills to limit ACA. This is a fact as well. But this is where the show begins.
3. President Obama campaigned on the ACA, won the majority of the vote and feels that the USA ratified the ACA that should proceed unaltered. Republicans in the House of Representatives were also elected and they feel that it’s their duty to limit it. Both of these are also matters of fact. There is no dispute between the two parties on this.
So we’re at an impasse. Normal people compromise, move on and live to fight another day, right? Well, not here. Here they lie, cheat, sensationalize garbage to upset people enough to take out their wallet and donate to have their cause heard. Because they care so much about their cause? Not really – just because they are pissed off that the other side is going to win! Really? Yes, really. Here, let me walk you through this:
1. Bill Maher makes fun of WW2 veterans calling them “the greatest generation – nobody said they were the brightest generation”; Now even though this is a comedian, you can be easily offended by this.
2. Michele Bachmann, instrumental in the government shutdown, is posing with the WW2 veterans to show outrage that the government shut down access to the memorial – the very shut down she orchestrated! You could be offended that she shut the government down, you could be offended by the insinuation that she was instrumental in shutting it down (after all, in your eyes she may be right), you may be offended that the WW2 memorial is closed.
3. Liberal comedian is making a joke about WW2 veteran, this by proxy (according to the article) means that the HBO supports, endorses and promotes disrespecting the people that fought Japan and Nazi in WW2. You could be offended that someone would reach so much to say a joke is equivalent to a promotion of mocking of our veterans. You could be offended that someone is picking on a liberal comedian that is pointing out a fact that a conservative republican is shamelessly lying for publicity.
There you have it
This is how they sucker people into getting upset over things that for the most part they wouldn’t even pay attention to at all. They give a teaser fact to get you involved. Then they pour on a flammable mixture of disgust, outrage and sensationalism to associate any given topic with things that are very near and dear to you. Repeatedly. Frequently. Violently.
It makes for a great show. It also makes for drawing incredible amounts of money into the political system and a discourse that focuses on the negative and divisive. It helps the corrupt government politicians from being able to say: “We are fighting for you.” while they are really just fighting for more funding to keep their jobs. Unless they can continue to piss people off the population might tune out and the money would stop flowing – so they lie to continue the manufactured fight.
While it works in the short term.. and yes, sadly there are more stupid people than there are educated ones.. it doesn’t work in the long term. This country, however much ridiculed for it’s policies and it’s freedoms, is full of people who like and trust their neighbors far more than they have ever trusted their government. We happen to be pretty proud of that and pay for it dearly.
Our politicians of course don’t want us to remember that. Love thy neighbor.