President Obama recently took to the media to condemn some of its practitioners.
Particularly the conservative media, which has been a thorn in Obama’s torso for a while now. It won’t stop. Rush Limbaugh is going to find a shadow to cast to the current administration. And the president will continuously brand the conservative media as enemy to progression in this country. Symbiosis.
Headlines all across the web yesterday:
Shorter version: Politicians worry about their image, so they won’t work across parties to solve a common problem. They’ll do what folks in their circles would want to see so their sphincters can be spared of the big bad media. These people made me … and they can unmake me too, is the prevailing logic.
The metaphor is strong, eh?
Politics is a macrocosm of our personal lives. We identify with our crew. Stick to them. By them. Around them. We risk isolation by defying them … who wants that?
Elected officials are no dummy … well, let me start again. Elected officials do know one thing, if nothing else: how their bread is buttered. Congressional figures don’t last by bucking their plugs.
Which presents some grim math: The system as is encourages pols to cling to the special interests of their party. Public interest takes a backseat.
Not out the car, but away from the driver’s seat. And tried as true, there comes a time when the driver has to decide whether to let public interest take the wheel or keep her in the back.
In our personal lives, we’ve made certain compromises to our standards, generally on matters of love or money or love and money.
We relent to the smallest of compromises. No harm, no foul. No big deal. Until the next time. Then next. Then again.
A trend forms. The line between compromise and lie become nonexistent. We become adept at tailoring our words to massage truth as it serves us. All while telling ourselves, it’s for me and mine. my intentions are noble.
For many, it’s debatable whether elected officials have the best intentions at heart for the public. For a long time — some may say since inception — the political matrix has been a bed of schemes, manipulations and broken promises.
Certain populations are constantly in the crossfire. Rising college tuition, escalating student loan debt, antiquated school systems tee off on communities without proper armor to deflect blows and insufficient training to fight back. Minorities are exposed to the winds of legislative oversight, executive indecision and judicial indifference more than any other group.
The term news cycle indicates redundancy, a recurrence of events tuned to keep the political football in the air long enough to keep us from looking at the action on the ground.
The president is no fool. He knows that a growing part of his base feels this way. That’s why he has taken the first days of his second term to urge the media to be sensible in its coverage for the good of the country. To urge citizens to have the insight to know when they’re being swindled. To reiterate his purpose.
He has the right of it.
But his “wise words” have a double edge. He is a part of a party. A party who heeds a base just like any other party. A party that has built him up. A party that wants to push forward its own lens of governance. A party that is not without flaws.
At least he admits this much. “I’m not somebody — when I look back on American history — who believes that one party has got a monopoly on wisdom,” says the 44th president, first of direct African descent, later in the same interview.
Let’s see if that gets some play in the headlines.