The People Ignored or Ignore?

Obama’s Journey: All Aboard!!!!

“All aboard?” The conductor cries out.  The people, men, women, and children file in.  The train fills quickly.  Finally, after what are only mere minutes, the engine turns.  Steam, or today, diesel fumes, billow out the pipes.  We are off on a road of no return. It is another election season. In truth, these never really begin nay end.  The cycle is as the chug-chug of any locomotive; it is continuous, monotonous, a wearisome drone.  The series starts as it always does, with hope, dreams of change, and the catechetic realization that the Messiah has come.  Soon we see this redeemer is but a man or woman, a meager mortal.  He, be he the President of the United States, the Libyan “Leader,” the “boy next door,” the “good girl,” you or me is not the savor we imagined.  

Days, weeks, or months pass.  It might even be a near three years. Nonetheless, sooner or later, perchance, all along, we realize he or she did not liberate us from all that keeps us down.  Indeed, after a while, the people proclaim Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore.  Yet, in truth, the writer just as most the rest of us ignored reality all along.  The promises we attributed to Candidate Obama were not as we thought we heard. On any and most every subject, our redeemer realized as he or she pledged.  The problem was, as it is, we ignored, as we do today, the obvious.

Our rescuer never had omnipotent power.  He did not come with the supreme excellence we saw in the blinding lights of a projected image.  He was, as he is cautious, conservative and well connected.  She too has her flaws.  Diplomacy? That was never her style.  She Demands. Now he commands.  The President, just as the Philanthropist, is the Chief.  How did they achieve such authority and acclaim, we the people anointed, appointed and bestowed powers upon them that allow them to speak for us.  We knew who he or she was.  Yet, we told ourselves, in time, what was would be different. Hence, with all the others, we hopped onboard. Inconvenient realities?  Statements and actions contrary to what we wanted to believe? Ah, the public said in harmony, these too will pass.

In 2008 the people could have heard what hearkens forward to today’s veracity.  Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left  As Senator, Barack Obama forgave the indiscretion of wiretaps.  He voted for what was characterized as the “compromise Bill.”  The compromiser was conciliatory months before he was elected.  Six days later, other actions prompted the headline Obama’s Supreme Move to the Center, just as he has consistently done as President. Perhaps those no longer aboard think of tax breaks and the recent reforms foregone and agreed upon.  The President still does.  The question is will he again  concede and why might this be a possibility? We the people ignored the power of our silent approval

People persuaded or desperate to believe act as parents of a very young and irresistible child.  You may have seen these, easily swayed by cuteness, Moms and Dads on the train.  The tot held dearly in the arms of those who love him or her defies any and every request.  Still, Mom and Pop smile.  Looks or words of scorn are set aside.  Parents tell themselves the behavior is but a phase. Besides, in the moment, seconds after the transgression, the child cried out, “I will listen Mom.”  “I will not do it again.”  Daddy, “I did not mean to . . ”  Just as the caregivers, the bandwagon forgives the unforgivable.  

Oh, you protest. “He lied.”  “She told an untruth.” “What of the promises, those broken and the ones now characterized as a work in progress?”  Well, there always were assurances and excuses.  The need to compromise, at least temporarily is a truism, when needed.  One can say that the unfilled vows are of this milieu of compromise..

It is we who pledged much, who pulled the wool over our own eyes.  When we climbed on board we chose to suspend disbelief.  Now we scream.

I am so angry, frustrated, depressed . . . .  pick an appropriate descriptive adjective. This is a BAD deal.  It would have been far better to have a drawn a line –  A LONG TIME AGO.   You CANNOT fix the deficit problem simply by cutting  . . .

Others muse “I hate Obama,”  It seems “support for Obama depends” on the person.  Objective observers, if there are any, laugh.  How silly the scene.  Humans blame others for what they feel.   The President did as he said he would do on the campaign trail, for the most part, with few exceptions.  Indeed, how many of us when immersed in realities out of our control, acknowledge that perchance, we must take a different path?

Mister Obama is no different than the child who charms a Mom or Dad.  Just as any “newborn” does, Barack endeared himself to us by being a novel entrance into our mundane lives.  “He is cute!” exclaimed and enthusiastic country.  Magazine covers were devoted to his appearance.  President Beefcake? was quite the comer.  On board that train, heads turned.

You may recall, before “Barry” Obama ever took office a headline read, Time Nears Completion of Every Possible Obama Cover Variation.  Joseph Biden also captivated, proclaimed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  How could a bandwagon of people resist that dazzling smile, the cheerful disposition, and the brilliant mind, all in one man?  America did not.

I recall my own experience.  As someone who did not support Senator Obama for President, I too stood in line. I drove miles and waited for hours just to see and hear him.  A crowd of thousands packed the stadium.  We endured heavy rain as we waited.  Yet, all remained patient.  Once the doors opened, the ample audience climbed on board.  Another long delay did not quell enthusiasm.  Nor did the countless oddities.  I listened and heard the masses applaud pronouncements that were and are contrary to the supposed “Progressive” platform.  I wondered, as did a Sun Sentinel Reporter.  The day after the “demonstration” of love and idolatry, Anthony Man penned, Did Obama know where he was for Sunrise rally?

In those days, the American people ignored the glaring contradictions and deluded themselves in regards to the challenges.  As a nation, we were enamored.  The possibility that someone might show us the way entranced the electorate.  People “hoped” this charismatic gentle man, “No Drama Obama” would be the calm after the storm.  Thus, with abundant anticipation, people said, ‘Come on board Barack.” Be our Commander-In-Chief.  Do as the public thinks should be done even if you never said you would.

A President should lead.  A President should stand for something.  A President should not be afraid of speaking bluntly –  to those who oppose him politically, to those who support him, to the American people.

Today, these same individuals utter in disgust or with much “disappointment” in a man who is as he told us he would be, ” You have on occasion demonstrated that you know how to do that. ”  Innumerable inquire with seemingly infinite support, Mister President,” Why did we not hear that blunt speech as this crisis was developing?”

In 2008 you inspired people with your words, with your call to something better…. Increasingly, many of us are giving up, pulling back, because we find we are not listened to.  Our concerns, if not ignored, are dismissed.

So go ahead Mr. President.  Ignore me.  Ignore all the voices that have been trying to explain to you, trying to help you help this country.  You might as well.  It seems as if you have been ignoring us all along.

In truth, it took two.  Hand-in-hand  we traveled with our peers, the future President, and together we gave rise to the rally cries.  Obama is the Change.   We have hope.  We believe, “Yes, we, he can!”  Once we were all aboard we proclaimed in unison, Senator Obama has the Audacity to Reclaim the American Dream..  He was indeed the candidate with the compelling biography. His mere presence propelled us to become passengers.  Today, together on the train once more, riders offer only remorse.

In the days and years to come, persons who never boarded the train, people who remained stalwart on the platform at the station will express the sentiment; once again.  The public ignored the candidate who is now President..  Just as assuredly passengers will shriek as they have “There are achievements.   I do not deny that.  But they are far from what we were promised, far from what we had reason to expect.”  Indeed historians and scribes will reason. Nonetheless, proclamations will persist, and defensive postures will seek solace in the safety of a crowd..

People will adopt a plea .”Perhaps it is arrogant to think my personal thoughts are of any value to anyone other than myself.  Yet when I offer them, people respond.  So long as they do, I will from time to time offer them.  As I did yesterday.  As I am doing today.”  Hmm?  Might these words be as candidate and President Obama would say?  As long as there are people aboard I am “fired up.” “Ready to go.” Climb onboard Americans.  Get ready for another ride.

References. Resources. Rally ‘Round and Ignore . . .


Campaign Killers; Conglomerates, Candidates, Correspondents

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

On December 1, 2007 the American public and Democratic candidates had a rare opportunity to truly listen to the common folks.  Presidential hopefuls were able to see and experience the pain that people of lesser means feel each and every day.  The Campaign for Community Values hosted a forum.  This organization opened the floor to each and every candidate for more than a moment.  

Common citizens shared sorrowful stories.  Real people informed the conversation.  Americans were reminded that no one of us can pull ourselves up by bootstraps we are unable to afford.  Tale after tale revealed a mentor, a member of the family, an association founded on the principle of community assistance helped many individuals to succeed.  Triumphant individuals from dire circumstances appeared on stage with the Presidential hopefuls and shared real life sagas.  The audience heard of nightmares and dreams that came true.  After the narratives, Presidential aspirants were asked what they might do once in office so that no one would experience what these persons had.  

There were no flashy videos, no comedy, and the moderator did not force herself into the fray. Democratic candidates stood face-to-face with the those who experienced crisis in their personal lives.  Frequently, the prestigious politician, and the, all too often, invisible immigrant, poor person, child, and elderly citizen held hands.  Tears flowed and sincerity followed.  

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement debate was unlike what the general public often sees.  The assembly was not aired on one of the mainstream media outlets.  Only C-SPAN covered this campaign milestone.  Perchance, that made the difference.

Today, Conglomerates, Candidates, and Correspondents kill campaigns.  The public is helpless to change what occurs and has been for oh, so very long.  Common folks flounder in a sea of information and believe they have the real scoop.  However, deep inside the people know, they have little if any access to authentic information.  Ordinary people cannot make their voice heard.  In recent decades the media is the message.  Political contenders control the communication, as do the companies that fund the discussions.  The race to the Oval Office, or any political cubicle, is bought and paid for.  The people purchase only the wares offered to them, and not much is made available.

A National Study of Confidence in Leadership, a Harvard University report reveals what most of us know, for we, the American people are the subject of this survey. More Than 60% of the American people Do Not Trust Campaign Coverage.  I inquire, why should citizens have faith in the reports.  Even the Presidential “Debates” are rigged in favor of a candidate or a corporation. Sponsors of such forums are the same companies that contribute to a particular Presidential hopeful.

Consider some of the conglomerates that characteristically subsidize the media programs. You may also wish to assess the assets that the candidates receive from these same sponsors, regardless of their political affiliation.  Then contemplate the carefully choreographed debate question and answer format.  Search for authenticity.  

If you find it, please tell me where.  Bill Moyers, of Public Broadcasting Services would also like to know if you discover a genuine give and take amongst the candidates.  The founder of a nonpartisan organization Open Debates, and Author, George Farah might counter the notion that the debates are truly spontaneous or real.  Yes, there was a time when Presidential hopefuls spoke at length, in depth and detail.  They exchanged opinions, and carefully reflected on the issues aloud.  However, that was eons ago.

When Carter squared off with Reagan, sixty percent of American TV households were watching. But over the past quarter century, there’s been a big change. During Gore versus Bush four years ago, less than thirty percent of TV households tuned in . . .

Farah: The American people want to hear and see popular candidates discuss the important issues in an unscripted manner. That’s what’s at stake. Whether or not we’re gonna have the right to witness an important conversation.

Moyers: And why aren’t we getting that kind of discussion between the candidates now?

Farah: Because the Commission on Presidential Debates secretly submits to the Republican and the Democratic candidates and allows these candidates to sanitize the debate format, excludes popular voices, avoid discussing critical issues.

. . . The Commission on Presidential Debates, although it claims to be a nonpartisan organization, was created by the Republican and Democratic parties for the Republican and Democratic parties. By design, it was established to submit and conceal the wishes and demands of the Democratic/Republican nominees.

Moyers: The result, he says, is an event tightly controlled by the candidates, a glorified press conference with rules rigged to serve the candidates, not the public. . . .

. . . Do you think the people watching knew that the rules had been written by the two parties?

Farah: Oh, of course not. They had no idea. They thought the Commission on Presidential Debates, whose name sounds like a government commission, it sounds like a lovely agency that was commissioned or chartered by Congress. They thought this: organizations had decided that these rules best served the public interest. They had no idea that behind closed doors leading negotiators hand-picked by the candidates were determining that the candidates could not even ask themselves questions.

Moyers: The Commission is in fact a private corporation, founded by the then chairmen of the Republican and Democratic national parties. They’re still running the show.

Farah: Every four years, the Commission on Presidential Debate publishes candidate selection criteria and proposes debate formats in order to comply with federal election law.

But questions concerning debate format and debate schedule are ultimately resolved behind closed doors between negotiators for the Republican and Democratic nominees.

Moyers: That wasn’t the case in the beginning. The first televised presidential debates, between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, were sponsored by the networks.

Now even the networks have questionable mores.  News departments are more concerned with profits than information.  Reporters do not investigate. There is no rhyme or reason for examination.  You may recall, Broadcaster Sam Donaldson wrote of the change in his book, “Hold On Mister President.”  Under Ronald Reagan, all was staged.  Journalists were kept safely at bay and the White House dictated the news of the day.  Perhaps, the Reagan White House predicted what George H. W. Bush did not.  Real people, reporters, rural, and urban dwellers might pose a question that belies the “illusion of truth.”

Dear reader, you may recall in days of old, televised town hall meetings were broadcast nationally.  During one of these assemblies the former President Bush was flustered when asked if he might relate to the plight of the average American citizen.

Audience Question: How has the national debt personally affected each of your lives? And if it hasn’t, how can you honestly find a cure for the economic problems of the common people if you have no experience in what’s ailing them?

Bush: I think the national debt affects everybody.

Audience Question: You personally.

Bush: Obviously it has a lot to do with interest rates.

Simpson: She’s saying, “you personally.”

Audience Question: You, on a personal basis, how has it affected you?

Simpson: Has it affected you personally?

Farah: The President was very flustered with the question. He didn’t know how to handle it. What do you mean affect me?

Audience Question: What I’m saying is…

Bush: I’m not sure I get… Help me with the question and I’ll try to answer it.

Farah: Well, this revealed much to the public that he had a very difficult time relating to everyday working people and how they are affected possibly by the budget deficit. And it’s precisely because of that that the candidates decided afterwards for the next two election cycles and in this election cycle to manipulate and sanitize the town hall format.

Moyers: The candidates got their way.

Lehrer: The audience participants are bound by the following rule. They shall not ask follow-up questions or otherwise participate in the extended discussion. And the questioner’s microphone will be turned off after he or she completes asking the question.

Moyers: What’s more, town hall questions would have to be submitted in advance.

Farah: They had every member in the town hall audience write their questions on index cards and give them to Jim Lehrer.

He would point to the individual and have him ask the question. The consequence, of course, was no matter how good a person Jim Lehrer is, he’s still asking all the questions.

The audience members are just there as props. He’s still picking the ones to be asked. So it shows the sanitization of the town hall format, showed the evolution of how the candidates are increasingly controlling whatever they can control to avoid mistakes.

Controlling all aspects of the campaign is of utmost importance to the candidates.  Long before a Presidential aspirant is the Party nominee, with the help of the media and powerful sponsors they ensure their win.  This explains why money matters.  Candidates are not electable if they propose policies that are doable and coveted.  An effective campaign has the green necessary to sell the person that will profit those that already have economic power.

In 1996, members of the press remarked, political conventions were made for television theatrics.  The drama was gone.  Every aspect of the assembly was pre-planned and arranged with precision.  Powerful Party players picked the delegates.  For the candidates, the conference was a coronation.  There was no real deliberation.  Political conventions were just as the campaigns, calculated.

Weeks ago, we witnessed what was billed as a Democratic Debate.  The forum in New Hampshire was one of many profitable programs that allow the public to hear the Presidential hopefuls speak.  Scripted questions are presented and supposedly spontaneous responses are offered. However, in this recent debate, just as all that preceded it, there was no real discussion.  Interaction was frowned upon and ended by a host almost as quickly as it started.  Hype, hard sell, the handlers, and the handled filled the air with folly.  Few of the Presidential aspirants were afforded an opportunity to speak.  Nor do most seem to want to engage in meaningful discussion or debate.

Oh, the chosen ones, so anointed by the media, or the persuaded masses, were granted time.  These front-runners often had more time to answer a question than the approved and allotted minutes the “rules” provided for a response.  However, the little guy, the unelectable one, who articulates what the general public feels and experiences had only five minutes and thirty-seven seconds, in a two-hour broadcast to share his vision for America.  Might we wonder why . . .

Americans give their lowest marks to leaders in the press. Americans are particularly dissatisfied with press coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign.”

When asked if election coverage was politically biased, 40% believed it was too liberal; 21% too conservative; and 30% found it neutral. Nine percent of those responding were not sure.

Key among the findings:

  • 64% of those polled do not trust press coverage of the presidential campaign.
  • 88% believe that campaign coverage focuses on trivial issues.
  • 84% believe that media coverage has too much influence on American voting choices.
  • 92% say it is important that the news media provide information on candidates’ specific policy plans, but 61% say the media does not provide enough coverage of policy plans.??
  • 89% say it is important to hear about candidates’ personal values and ethics, but 43% say there is not enough coverage of personal values and ethics.

Instead, those surveyed claimed they were getting “exactly the type of campaign coverage that they want the least,” the report found. ??Seventy percent of those polled said coverage of negative ads was not important and 65% said the media provided too much coverage of them; 67% say that coverage of “gotcha” moments – candidates’ embarrassing incidents and mistakes – was not important and 68% say there was too much coverage of those moments.

Even when the possible Presidential nominees are not engaged in trickery or deception, during election season the media is.  On a Cable News Network program, titled Campaign Killers, host Campbell Brown, wife to former Advisor to the George W. Bush Presidential Envoy in Iraq, Dan Senor spoke of the insurgency.  The reference did not address those we commonly think of as terrorists.  The lovely Miss Brown purposely indicted, a Progressive organization.

During the November 28 CNN special Campaign Killers: Why Do Negative Ads Work?, CNN anchor Campbell Brown said: “General David Petraeus made his reputation taking on insurgents in Iraq. But when he came to Capitol Hill in September, he was confronted by American insurgents, a liberal anti-war group called”

Brown also asserted that a advertisement headlined “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” “became a huge news story because it questioned the loyalty of a wartime commander, implying he was a traitor.” In asserting that the content of the advertisement generated news coverage, Brown did not point out the claim by many commentators that the ad “became a huge news story” because Republicans preferred to talk about it rather than Petraeus’ testimony before Congress about the situation in Iraq.

In 2007, it is difficult to discern the media from the message.  Lobbyists linger in the halls of every debate.  Special interest groups and individuals with a well-known agenda marry those that report to the masses.  No wonder the American people lack confidence in campaign coverage; accounts are obviously skewed.  

As the broadcast of Campaign Killers continues, viewers realize Campbell Brown consistently makes mention of what she perceives as the wily practices of the ‘money machine’  Hence, we might acknowledge, perceptions of the infamous Liberal bias are not valid.  This supposed slant is not evident in the press today.  Nor has it been for quite some time.  At least, we may note Miss Brown does not lean towards the Left.  

The transcript of for this documentary might reveal Brown is not in favor of grassroots Progressive actions.  We cannot know with certainty.  One can only presume.  However, if we note the number of times this Journalist links to money, we can assume there is reason to postulate.  Might Brown’s personal perspective influence her reports.

It seems, in 2007 journalism is as the political process, a muddle.  In the twentieth first century the old adage is truer than it was.  “Politics makes for strange bedfellows.”  Correspondents sleep with those they report on and we, the people are without an objective blanket.  Campaigns are but a high stakes rigged game.  Once more, in 2008, the public will cast a ballot for the elite’s handpicked electable winner, not for the one best able to address the issues, domestic and foreign.  

In this election season,  as candidates speak of change, we must accept there will be none.  As long as we buy what the Conglomerates, Candidates, and Correspondents sell, only the face in the White House will differ.  The status quo will live on in the Oval Office and the lives of the American people.

References, Resources, Campaigns, Contributors, and Correspondents . . .

  • Campaign for Community Values
  • Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
  • Open Debates.
  • Hillary Clinton; Top Contributors.
  • Barack Obama; Top Contributors.
  • John Edwards; Top Contributors.
  • Dennis Kucinich; Top Contributors.
  • Cris Dodd; Top Contributors.
  • Bill Richardson; Top Contributors.
  • Banking On Becoming President.
  • Some media members hope for a new game at this year’s conventions, By Ian Christopher McCaleb.  Cable News Network.
  • Washington Talk: The Presidency; Shouting Questions At Reagan, By Steven V. Roberts.  The New York Times. October 21, 1987
  • Study: More Than 60% Don’t Trust Campaign Coverage Editor and Publisher. November 30, 2007
  • CPD: National Debate Sponsors.
  • Transcript. Rigging the Debates. NOW with Bill Moyers.  Public Broadcasting Services.
  • Hold On Mr. President. By Sam Donaldson.
  • Ronald Reagan, TV Auteur, By Joe Hagan.  The New York Observer. June 13, 2004
  • CNN’s Brown called “American insurgents”. Media Matters.
  • Dan Senor, Former Advisor to the U.S. Presidential Envoy in Iraq.  White House.
  • Campbell Brown
  • Campaign Killers: Why Do Negative Ads Work? Cable News Network.
  • “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”