I can't change the world all by myself. It IS a team effort.
The other evening, I was viewing (on my computer) a documentary about MIT linguistics Prof. Noam Chomsky. Something he said struck me as particularly poignant.
It's not the case, as the naive might think, that indoctrination is inconsistent with democracy, but rather as this whole line of thinkers has observed, indoctrination is the essence of democracy. The point is that in a military state or a feudal state or what we would nowadays call a totalitarian state, it doesn't much matter what people think because you've got a bludgeon over their head and you can control what they do.
But when the state loses the bludgeon, when you can't control people by force, and when the voice of the people can be heard, you have this problem. It may make people so curious and so arrogant that they don't have the humility to submit to a civil rule and therefore you have to control what people think.
And the standard way to do this is to resort to what, in more honest days used to be called propaganda; the manufacture of consent; creation of necessary illusions; various ways of either marginalizing the general public or reducing them to apathy in some fashion.... -- Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the MediaFrom this perspective, and in light of the development of social media and associated technologies, we know that there is a lot going on these days with people seeking to counter the marginalization and apathy of which Chomsky spoke and wrote. We see it in the corporate media with reports of rioting in Turkey, of a coup d'etat in Egypt, of the Arab Spring a year or two ago, riots in Greece, Great Britain and other countries because of proposed or enacted austerity measures.
We see dynamics of the push and pull tension in corporate dominated mass media versus egalitarian social media. It's been a while since we've heard anything about efforts in Congress to attack "net neutrality." But we need to keep a vigilant watch on issues like that. Perhaps the most blatant examples of propaganda imposed on the American people is campaign advertising.
Contemporary political issues, embodied very much in the controversy over former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, both personify this overall concern and provide very sharp examples of propaganda at work in both mass and social media. Some believe Snowden to be a criminal, a traitor and a spy. Others laud his courage to disclose the overreach of the United States federal government security apparatus and its spying on law-abiding citizens. People believe what they believe about this controversy because of how they view the world and our government (and elected officials).
But I digress. All politics is local.
Politics Uncuffed blogger Julie Erfle chairs the Protect Your Right to Vote Arizona coalition.
Erfle explains in her post Stacking the Deck to Save Incumbents,
Why, you may ask, did incumbent Republicans feel the need to make the most sweeping changes to our election laws in decades WITHOUT first receiving voter approval? The answer is simple: our demographics are changing, and they do not favor the brand of politics espoused by extremist politicians. Instead of appealing to voters, these incumbents would rather forgo a “big tent” and change the laws to benefit their pup tent.
Here’s the how and why:
Criminalizing those who collect ballots is a direct result of a growing Latino movement that has learned how to successfully get out the vote. There was nothing criminal about what volunteers did in the last election — ensuring first-time voters, those with mobility issues and those who often forget to turn in their ballots had their votes counted. Since this isn’t criminal behavior, incumbent Republicans moved to change the law to make it criminal, which just so happens to benefit them as well. (emphasis added)
Increasing the number of signatures required for third party candidates and Democrats was a direct result of Republicans losing competitive Congressional districts in the last election. Republicans erroneously believe Libertarians will automatically vote for a Republican if no Libertarian is on the ballot. But as Robert Robb points out in the Arizona Republic, it’s unlikely Libertarians are the spoilers Republicans think they are.Republicans like state Sen. Michele Reagan (R-Scottsdale) want you to believe that there has been voter fraud. However, if there actually has been, it's has not been a result of non-citizens attempting to vote, but from voter suppression. Here's the propaganda Michele Reagan, who wants to be the chief election officer for Arizona in 2015, posted on her campaign website.
Election legislation received a great deal of attention at the beginning of session but we need to turn the spotlight back on the issue as we approach the finish line. Arizona voters deserve an election system that embodies integrity and efficiency.Of course, Ms. Reagan never could demonstrate that there was ANY question related to the integrity of Arizona's voting process. Any issue regarding efficiency certainly should NOT jeopardize the integrity of any vote. But THAT is what Reagan's voter suppression legislation will do if it is allowed to go into effect.
Please join me on the transition team for Arizona in 2013. Please get involved in the referendum petition drive to put the Voter Suppression Act on the 2014 ballot. You may call 480-382-1102 or email ProtectYourRightToVote@gmail.com to find out where to get a petition to have your friends and neighbors sign.