The rules of politics have never been simple, and to oversimplify the politics of government is folly. What is interesting about the O.P.'s
assessment is a willingness to reveal what was taught in high school and now in college, and the acceptance that what has been taught is knowledge.
The emphasis on political parties, new or otherwise, speaks volumes to what was taught, and therefore learned, but seems to lack the necessary
knowledge to make any real informed decisions about these political parties.
Before addressing the American peoples addiction to political parties, it is worth, for a brief moment addressing the proclivity the O.P. has shown,
and that is quite prevalent here in ATS, and that is to use "reality television" as a metaphor for American apathy. It should be noted that the
term "reality television" does not include news and information programs, and while "reality television" is too often hailed as the primary source
of addictive entertainment in America, the fact that there are several 24 hour news stations, yet not a single broadcast station dedicated to
"reality television", should make it obvious to the casual observer that "reality television is not nearly as important to television viewers as
many in this site would assert or imply.
In an article for the The Atlantic
, Michael Hirschorn
endeavors to make the case for "reality television" and in doing so, makes some compelling arguments, and makes some interesting observations that
seem to speak truism:
Is there an easier position to take in polite society than to patronize reality TV? Even television programmers see the genre as a kind of visual
Hamburger Helper: cheap filler that saves them money they can use elsewhere for more-worthy programming. Reality shows cost anywhere from a quarter to
half as much to produce as scripted shows. The money saved on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the logic goes, allows ABC to pay for additional
gruesome medical emergencies and exploding ferries on Grey’s Anatomy,. NBC’s crappy Fear Factor pays for the classy Heroes.
I am not so sure how polite society really is but that "reality television" has become the easy target of pot shots and source of blame should not
be in doubt if one has bothered to read this thread. Further, that "reality television" is cheap enough to produce, and profitable enough to air,
only allows broadcasters a budget to finance the more "serious" programs that pay top dollar for celebrities and directors and writers. Beyond
this, there is a strong case to suggest that "reality television" has had a political
world wide, and in some countries has introduced an experience with actual democratic voting. Particularly in the
where a democratic voting principle is not
"Reality television", however, is not the issue and is merely a convenient scapegoat to rail against the perceived apathy of the people. It is a
common trait amongst the youth of any nation to look at the older generations and dismiss them as part of the problem, and lacking the intelligence to
understand that. Of course, anyone even remotely aware of American history should be aware that whatever problems one generation has caused, the next
generation has followed suit, and in many ways upped the ante, and a long steady forward march towards tyranny has been happening in the U.S. for at
least as long as the Lincoln Presidency and perhaps even longer.
Political science also should be examined carefully, as today's public and private high schools both teach it as a matter of course, and of course,
in universities it is offered as an actual major, but what is the importance of this? If in high school, political science is taught with no real
sense of history, and by reading the O.P.'s post it appears as if this is the case, then what good is political science? Allow me to quote the O.P.
to illustrate my point.
When I studied Political Science back in high school, it was one of the questions we were asked.... Why is it that Americans hate their government so
much since the Nixon era, yet constantly re elect their incumbents. We concluded that it was because the average American was too fed up with it and
more interested in reality TV and non-issues in tabloids, etc etc, and that the average American is unconcerned because of their tight nit little
lives revolving around a few basic things.
The question asked of the O.P. in that political science class seems to presume that prior to Nixon, Americans did not hate their government as much
as they did post Nixon. Such a presumption ignore that just a few years before his Presidency another President was assassinated. The Presidency of
FDR, while today often hailed as a great Presidency where he was beloved by all, in factual accounts was rife with controversy and there were many
Americans appalled at the Roosevelt administrations clear and undeniable power grabs. The political divides then, were no different than they are
today, and indeed, the convenience of war as providing a divided nation a common enemy was as a vital a tool back when FDR was President as it is
today and when Bush II was President.
In between World War II and today, there was the seemingly bucolic 1950's that is marked by the actions of
, the Korean
, and was the era where television first brought Congressional Hearings into the living rooms of the American people. It was the era of
the Kinsey Reports
, it was the era in which President Truman fired General MacArthur, and gave
us a President in Eisenhower who offered dire warnings in his Farewell Address about the rise of military-industrial complex. In many ways, the
1950's served as a sort of crucible for the turbulent times to come, but long before the 1950's, and staying with farewell addresses for a moment,
the divisions brought about by political parties was spoke to as early as this nations first President under our Constitutional republic.
George Washington had much to say about the evils of political parties, but it is worth posting briefly a paragraph from that address to demonstrate
how adamant he was that the American people should reject political parties as a necessary form of politics:
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the
illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the
former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the
favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what
ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are
withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice
the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a
commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or
The American people do not need political parties in order to elect officials to government, and it is certainly not a Constitutional mandate. Yet,
even so, that there is a clear addiction to these parties is more than evident, and even within the O.P.'s post, while suggesting that the incumbents
will fall, there is clearly an advocacy for new political parties to be formed, as if there is no other answer outside of political parties. The
genuine grip that both Democrat and Republican parties hold on this nation, exists because the people want it to, and a rejection of current parties
in favor of newer formed parties is truly just politics as usual.
If we are to obtain some sort of peaceful revolution where the people restore the republic and reign in the machinations of politicians then a flat
out rejection of all parties is necessary. The increasing high cost of political campaigns can be directly linked with the two party system in place.
Millions of dollars need not be spent on a local level in order for people to make informed decisions about who they should elect, and indeed,
perhaps the most informed decision one can make when voting in today's political climate, could very well be to vote for the least funded candidate
and trust that this person will do no more damage to our republic than the better funded candidates would.
I have briefly touched upon concerns about how political science is taught in schools today, and in the short amount of space left, I would like to
point out that modern day political science began with Machiavellian principles. It would be prudent for all who are the people to read The Prince by
Machiavelli, and to come to understand that his fear based politics is indeed a primary tool used in politics today. Machiavelli advocated that the
end justifies the means, but in reality, it is the means that always bring about an end. The antecedents to political science are rooted in moral and
political philosophy, and in Western politics marked by Plato and Aristotle, and were more concerned with history than with theory.
[edit on 19-5-2010 by Jean Paul Zodeaux]