Communication

What’s Old is New Again

Remember Dan Rather? Most of us who are even “just a little bit older” certainly do. Mr. Rather, a former anchor of the CBS Evening News, was one of the most well-known broadcast news journalists during a time when the news gave the appearance of being “truer” than many broadcasts manage these days. Some of us might find comfort in knowing such a persons is still at it.

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Apparently, Mr. Rather has teamed up with the Young Turks on their YouTube channel to present a weekly news broadcast. Take a look at the first one. Sober, direct, calm, seemingly non-partisan, the broadcast feels trustworthy enough. You might like it enough to subscribe.

Dan RatherThe endeavor, which Mr. Rather describes as “an answer to what TV news has become” is streamed on YouTube every Monday at 5:30 EST. You might at least get a bit of comfort, a brief respite from these troubled days of “fakenews”.

You might also want to check out the post “State of the Union Address” broadcast from the end of January.

 

Agitprop and Us

The point is not what we expect from life,
but rather what life expects from us.
~Viktor Frankl

agitpropWe constantly look to heroines or heroes to “save“ us. We wait for messiahs, we follow gurus and place considerable faith in politicians and other individuals, elevating them to the status of societal leaders, policy makers and ultimately gatekeepers of societal norms. Many of us dutifully cast our votes at election time, assuming our ballot can effectively shift the scales in our favor regarding civil liberties, personal protection as well as economic and physical well-being. Essentially, when it comes to getting things done, to make life better, we tend to look elsewhere instead of looking to ourselves.

History belongs to the people. So says Sophia Burns in her article “Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’ is Revolutionary Agitprop”. Such a belief portrays us as the captains of our fate, the rulers of our days. However the attitudes and behaviors expressed by most people seldom justify such heroic notions. (more…)

Free Tea in the South

Human freedom is not freedom from conditions,
but freedom to take a stand and to face whatever conditions
might confront [us]” ~ Viktor Frankl

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Remember the nomadic Giusepi Spadafora, the Tea Man? Instead of going west last fall, it turns out, the Tea Man and Edna Lu (the traveling Tea Bus) went south.  You can read a detailed account of what he has been up to the last few months on his blog.

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Death of the Internet

FCC Building - credit FCC.jpg

It seems we are surrounded by death these days.  In addition to the various deadly attacks by men who seemed to think killing is some kind of answer to some questions to which most of us find more peaceful solutions, in addition to the genocidal enforcement of government policies and perspectives not shared by the populace in some international communities, in addition to the apparently cavalier, race-related violence perpetrated in the U.S. by law enforcement and others and in addition to the topic presented here for several weeks, namely, the death of democracy itself—in addition to all of that, so it seems, the Internet as we know it is about to die. (more…)

Death of Democracy III

Part 3: Morality That Divides Us

“I loathe nationalism.  It is a form of tribalism–the idolatry of the century”
~Cornel West

When many of us hear the word “morals”, we often withdraw, flinch, find someone else to talk to or another place to be.  In fact, morals, in the simplest terms, only refers to what we consider “good” (or “bad”).  All of us hold them (moral positions, that is).  We might not talk about them much (in a metacognitive, that is, self-conscious manner) but we express them constantly.

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Death of Democracy

Part 1

Before the [civil] war, it was said ‘the United States are’, grammatically it was spoken that way and was thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the war it was always ‘the United States is’ as we say today without being self-conscious at all.

~ Shelby Foote, historian

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”   So begins the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.   “We the People…” began with the idea of banding together in the spirit of democracy, in order to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”  Oh, well! Could this period in which we now live represent the beginning of the death of the democratic experiment that was and is supposed to be the United States?

charlottesville.jpgCharlottesville, 2017  – image by Andalou Agency/Getty Images

As a second follow-up to Tim Snyder’s article On Tyranny, the post this week links to a lengthy article only briefly mentioned in last week’s post.  The article is called “We need political parties. But their rabid partisanship could destroy American democracy” (which appeared in Vox on September 5th, 2017).   The article, by Lee Drutman  is quite long, but well worth working your way through as it presents a series of issues we should all consider, including:

  • Our fundamental disagreement about what it means to be an “American”
  • The value of political parties
  • Reasons for why we maintain relatively intractable political positions and staunchly maintained polarization
  • How and why division in current U.S. politics is preventing democracy from functioning as it should
  • How the current political climate in the U.S. threatens to create a breaking point akin to the Civil War
  • That inequality and polarization have grown in tandem for the last few decades
  • That the intrusion of money into the electoral process is fueling voter discontent and the disjuncture between the public (actual constituents) and campaign donors (paying constituents)’.

As mentioned, the article is lengthy, not very sexy, but well worth the effort to understand what it presents.


Extending the Drutman article’s focus on political division, next week’s post– Death of Democracy – Part 2—frames this problem into a slightly more embedded historical context, reaching toward addressing our need not only for less division but toward more proactive socio-political solidarity.