Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Now What?

Dec 04/Jan 05 Grassroots Press column:

I would like to add some observations amid the endless election post mortems:

Forty percent of the electorate didn’t bother to vote. So in terms of the total electorate, the election looks like this:
Nobody 40%
Bush 29.9%
Kerry 28.1%

It seems obvious that the Republican takeover of our national government is an artifact of our winner-take-all political system. No matter what the winning percentage may be, the victor gets it all. We are now on the cusp of an unprecedented Republican feeding frenzy. For people who believed the Republican "less government" mantra, let me say: Wait until they draft your child; then you will learn the true meaning of the term "intrusive government."

As an internet junkie, I have read endless thousands of brilliant articles and commentaries during the past few years. There are so many excellent ideas, ranging from political tactics to the key strategic issue of framing our values so that average America will actually understand what we are trying to tell them. One fact is painfully obvious: The mechanism for implementing all these brilliant insights simply doesn’t exist. Articles get written, read, and quickly forgotten. There is no continuity.

The Republicans have had a centralized, disciplined, well-funded propaganda machine in place for many years. We (and I mean not only Democrats, but everybody to the left of Attila the Hun) need to create an effective propaganda machine of our own. We have not yet done so. For people interested in issues like this, I recommend Digby’s blog http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/ or Kos http://www.dailykos.com/ . Then you will see exactly what I mean about brilliant insights that aren’t being implemented.

Over the past couple of generations, progressives of all stripes have lost sight of the fact that you can’t expect to harvest a crop if you don’t tend your garden. You can’t pick roses from thistles. You can’t expect the country to swing your way if the radio contains nothing but rightwing rants, and television is dominated by corporate hacks (otherwise known as "media whores").

We’ve got to return progressive values -- such as honesty and fair play -- back to the mainstream. Print media (including the internet) isn’t enough. It’s too 19th Century. At least half of Americans don’t read. You can only reach them with TV.

We can no longer afford to go to the corporate media on bended knee in the hopes that they will condescend to broadcast a trivialized version of our message. What we need -- pronto, and nothing else will do -- is a progressive satellite channel, the equivalent of CNN or Fox "News." (It has been suggested that George Soros buy CNN in a hostile takeover if necessary, or that Ted Turner buy CNN back.) It wouldn’t be necessary to broadcast propaganda; the truth is radical enough: Republican values condone torture, lies, incompetence, corruption, and the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. There can be no refuge in denial. Bush voters should never be allowed to forget what Republican values really are.


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