Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Representing Yourself

We’re still meeting on the 4th Thursdays, starting at 7pm now, at the Hawaii Republican Headquarters, Kapiolani & Cooke, so the next meeting (all welcome) will be this Thursday, September 27, with special guest speaker, Council member Charles Djou providing his insights on government in Hawaii (Honolulu). Additionally, Senator Trimble attends whenever he is in town, and other party leaders, if they have any information they want to pass on directly.

As you all may already be aware, participation in the elections as well as the political process is falling -- because we live in unprecedented times of diverse interests and activities. In the old days, there was political involvement and little else -- but now, increasingly many, feel that politics is irrelevant to their lives, and seems to offer little else but putting one into contact with argumentative, petty and difficult people, who have unfortunately, been the ones who have remained politically involved, and that’s why “normal” citizens, more than ever, need to make their presence felt -- or the elected officials will think, there is nobody else out there who cares what they do. And so we get the government we get.

For my part, I thought the most significant election of my lifetime, was the election and re-election of President George W. Bush nationally, and in Hawaii, the election of Governor Linda Lingle, as the campaigns one needed to get involved with if we were to change the course of history. They have fulfilled that trust and confidence -- in representing a breed of public officials seldom seen anymore, who attempt to rise above the partisanship that is often misrepresented as “politics”.

But “politics” is largely what we make of it, and unfortunately for much of the last several decades, it is to make it something people want to avoid -- rather than the honor and living symbol it should be. However, the media, schools and universities seem determined to undermine that trust and confidence, and install themselves as those who “speak” exclusively for the people, which is usually to say, that they alone should get all the government money and power -- and what little is left, they will return for next year.

That’s what happens when there is no presence and representation otherwise -- as much as people will complain bitterly to themselves, that there is no fairness and justice in society -- because they don’t make it known, that they know what that is. And that is the real shame of life in these times -- of unlimited opportunities to do so, which lately, only the fringe elements of society, have co-opted, because nobody else cares or shows up.

While some still continue to write letters to their “representatives” and editors of the local newspapers as thheir marginal participation, those voices are likely to be suppressed -- by these self-appointed censors of public opinion and will. So one has to find ways to work around them -- if they are not fulfilling their responsibility to represent all the diverse viewpoints but rather only those of the self-interests that paid to get them elected, or as many do, simply numb themselves to these abuses.
Way before one can hope to change those abuses of power, one has to first be aware of those actualities, rather than deluding themselves, that things will work out because that’s what one merely “wishes” will happen. Those desires have to be manifested in some tangible way -- or there is no way of knowing what matters, and if anybody notices any difference. That is unfortunately what many have deliberately been indoctrinated (educated) to believe -- that nothing makes a difference, and nothing matters, and so they are easily deceived and manipulated by those who do know better -- and they can not tell the difference.

The surprising thing is that it really doesn’t take much to make a difference -- but they have convinced us that we have to first change the world, before we can make that difference -- in just noticing these things, and letting others know that. That is the most powerful action of these times -- even more so than marching in the streets with signs and expressing our disgust, anger, and outrage. Those are largely the demonstrations of “caring” of the past -- which were mostly manipulated and contrived with the help of the mass media.

Mass media made it possible for the rise of totalitarian societies on an unprecedented level -- as the work of George Orwell depicts so well in “1984”. In this writing, as a journalist himself, he masterfully provides insight into all the strategies and techniques for getting people to believe precisely the opposite of what is true -- or for that matter, anything the source wants us to believe -- and very few of us will stop to question the trustworthiness of our sources, beyond their insistence and demands that they are “objective,” and nothing else is possible.

Such people have a predilection for fear- and hate-mongering, of which they will insist, they are just telling it like it is. The nature of hatred, bigotry and prejudice, is that those most afflicted, can never see it as that but will ennoble such attitudes and actions in the noblest-sounding sentiments, convincing themselves, if nobody else can tell them better. Having discriminating people who can tell the difference and don’t allow the hysteria and delusions of mobs to gather momentum, are the heroes of any age and circumstances.

One can often get too hung up on the numbers, as though democratic republics, are simply the tyranny of the majority. Those are just tyrannies -- no matter how they represent themselves. Demagogues invariably call themselves “democrats,” and demand that we believe they are so, despite their behaviors to the contrary. The “actual” rather than just the words, is what one should be guided by in determining these truths. Thus, the important part of the political process, is meeting the principals in person, and deciding for oneself, the actuality and the words -- rather than letting the media (or anybody else) decide for you -- as they will gladly do.

Friday, September 21, 2007

All the Half-Truths in the World, Don’t Make the Whole Truth (Or Any Truth)

Journalists think that by obtaining as many half-truths (distortions) about a fact, they will all balance out and reveal the whole truth. However, the reporter will first screen out all those interviews that don’t align with their “angle,” the editor will further delete to their own tastes (political and editorial correctness), and then the headline writer, will sensationalize it to make a dull story exciting, and so the story is quite different than events experienced by those actually in attendance -- who often have no interest other than their own self-importance at such an event.

Hardly anybody expects anymore at such forums, for somebody just to describe the actualities of the facts -- without grossly distorting them to monstrous deceptions and manipulations to get everyone to see things their way. That is the unfortunate fate of such forums, as well as the death of the media reporting on them. Something new and better must come into being -- that may actually be helpful in attaining the greater insight and affirmation that is the ultimate objective of all social communications. When that is not achieved, or recognized as important, than these forums have outlived their usefulness -- as seems to be the case with most of the venues easily accessible as the public dialogue.

Meaningful and productive exchanges inevitably must take place entirely in the improvisational opportunities that are authentic exchanges. By all accounts, that is indeed taking place more frequently -- among people who have that capacity for it. Others will think that ritualized and routine chatter and rants, is the way humans communicate with one another -- and no one will inform them otherwise. They have to recognize the value as well as the possibility of another way.

Many people do go through their entire lives without a single authentic communication with another human being -- and one can tell that, in the manner of their speech -- of one ranting to the world, certain that no intelligent person would ever listen to them. Most do give others the benefit of the doubt until they recognize that these rants are the full range of expressions such individuals are capable of. Invariably, they insist they are the true leaders of their imagined constituency, of which they feel confident speaking for the world.

So actually, it is quite nice just to be sane enough to recognize that one speaks only for himself -- and that in doing so, that is the ultimate expression of each individual’s being -- and not that one claims to speak with great moral authority for the rest of the world.

Such people are deluded at best -- and listening only to such people, is the cause of much mental illness and illusion in this world. Sanity is recognizing one’s truth only as one’s own truth -- and not projecting it on to everybody else, as the great problems in the world -- with all its paranoia, deceptions, manipulations, conspiracies and rationalizations. That representation of authentic being, is the most important task of public life -- beyond the constant partisanship of half-truths posing as the whole truth.

Once the clarity of the whole truth is understood, one has fulfilled as the whole reason and purpose for government and its institutions -- and not just going through the motions mindlessly repeating every day and every word said before, as though that alone, was the purpose and meaning of it all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

They Who Betray Us

This past week, before a General Petraeus was to give a report on the war on terror in Iraq, the New York Times ran an ad suggesting that the "General Betrays Us" -- as a play on words. That fringe elements in our society have expressed hatred, bigotry and prejudice is nothing new in a society that values freedom of expressions as one of its greatest goods, but the newspaper could have expressed their own “freedom of expression” and better judgment not to publish such an incitement that undermines the trust and confidence in such leaders, who have actually earned and merit such trust and confidence.

The same is true for publishing all the inflammatory and irresponsible letters and commentary that incite the divisions, conflict, suspicions and drama daily in their pages -- while NOT publishing all those who bring about understanding and conciliation in these times. Those voices have been virtually eliminated from the public consciousness, while the shriller voices undermining trust and confidence in fellow citizens, and inciting the divisions, arguments, outrage are given full and unlimited play -- as though there were no other.

The Press insists they are just being “fair and objective” in printing all submissions as a true indicator of all the points of view being expressed -- when it should be increasingly obvious to those who are truly the voices of peace and reconciliation (solutions), that their submissions mysteriously never “make the cut,” while the obvious (and also repetitious) missives inciting hatreds and suspicions of one against another (typically portrayed as Republicans against Democrats, conservatives against liberals, right against left, Americans against every other people, etc.) find prominence at all the local and national newspapers -- as “their great public service.”

However, one begins to suspect among all this unrelenting and escalating contentiousness, that maybe the “villains” are not the extremists themselves, who would have little or no visibility and credibility if it weren’t for the promotion and prominence of the newspapers -- to create these arguments, conflicts and ill-will among us -- while protesting their complete innocence, fairness and objectivity -- as only the messengers, and not the creators of such hateful and prejudicial messages.

Do people truly in fact spend all their time, energy, thoughts and passion undermining, attacking and distrusting their fellow citizens of every petty evil intent and purpose, or is it the creation of the news organizations to attempt to preserve their own job security, relevance and yes, power, in a time in which they have grown increasingly redundant and unnecessary to the information process and paradigm?

That is, are there really problems beyond their making us think there are so, in the way they make it seem hopelessly so, or is it now just their making us think that it is so -- to justify their continued existence, as though we really needed these daily dramas and extra problems or some might die of boredom otherwise? Surely we can redirect these misguided energies to better and more productive purposes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Imagining “Reality”

Quite a number of perceptive thinkers have been aware of the need for more integrated lives and existences -- even before the Internet; that’s what Don Quixote is all about, and more recently in literature, Walter Mitty. That is the mentality still separating fiction from non-fiction -- of which obviously, fiction has precedence, or the classifications would be reality and non-reality.

When the Web was first catching on in popularity and we were learning all the wonderful things one could now do, one of the exercises was to create a homepage and online identity -- and the standard was that everyone would create an entity other than who they really were -- as though anonymity was actually the objective of this enhanced capacity to get to know the world, others, as well as oneself better -- which has always been the meaning and purpose of any fulfillment in life.

But as the world became more specialized and fragmented in the last century, what occurred instead was the possibility of many increasing their multiple realities and personalities, or at least, manifesting them so they became more obvious as the contradictions in many lives. When that became more apparent, liberal hypocrisy became a de facto standard of many people’s lives -- in saying one thing, and doing something else entirely.

People would talk about the increasing “homeless” problem while “flipping houses” -- and saw no contradiction or even connection in that -- that real estate (housing) speculation made housing prohibitive to many -- and ultimately, many would simply refuse to play the game as captives of that special interest.

All these quandaries are connected -- but taught as unconnected phenomena in our schools, universities and media (journalism), and so it is quite the norm for a person to hold mutually exclusive, contradictory “truths,” and think nothing of it, because that is the “political correctness” of the day. George Orwell described this as “doublethink,” which has become the language of mass media culture -- “you ‘d better believe it because we tell you to believe it, and tomorrow, we’ll tell you something else.”

Journalism actually perpetuates this dichotomy by legitimizing the “objective” and the “subjective,” in what they dismissed as “anecdotal” reality, which is actual, real life experience. However, the academics have turned that paradigm upside-down in claiming that only their theories and explanations are the “real,” and people’s actual experiences are illusions of “incorrectness.”

Obviously the former should not take precedence over the latter but they should merge and integrate to reflect one verifiable reality -- using imagination productively rather than merely creating sand castles in the sky -- like socialists of a previous generation, who have in actuality, been the bane of humankind in imposing their “nationalist socialisms” on their unwilling populaces.

No matter how “enlightened” these self-proclaimed think they are, a free and healthy people must be allowed to choose their own right path after being given accurate information -- and not the distorted information to “choose” what a few demagogues demand that they believe and do. That is hardly an improvement over the previous generations’ totalitarianisms.

Such people have always claimed the authority of knowing best what is good for everybody else -- if we just allow them to do the thinking for everybody else (as God intended). In both the old and new media, it is still commonplace to see such coercions, manipulations and deceptions -- but only in the new, is it possible to see something else beyond -- to truths that actually make sense.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What Will Be George W. Bush's Legacy?

The Man changed the course of history.

Prior to his presidency, the world watched helplessly and powerlessly as the Talibans (terrorists) did whatever they pleased. It would have been a disaster if Al Gore had been president after the 9/11/01 attacks -- as we’d still be in bomb shelters convening town meetings trying to reach a consensus on the “politically correct” response. We were not used to presidents anymore who would take decisive action; Clinton, despite his extensive rewriting of history, only hoped the terrorists would stop resorting to violence, and so the terrorists all over the world were increasingly emboldened.

Anybody who’s dealt with criminals and terrorist (and they’ll tell you themselves), know that the only thing they respect and listen to is a firm hand and response, because if we allow them to establish the rules (because of our own uncertainty and insecurities), they will take it to the limits because their rules are to do anything they can get away with.

They are not builders of civilizations but destroyers of them.

So while there is some dissatisfaction with everything the President did, only he could have had the response he did in turning the world around. Nobody else would even have even imagined such a bold and forceful response -- that probably saved the usual millions of lives that would have been lost otherwise. So while a few people are still dying, as they will even under the safest of conditions, they’re no longer dying in the hundreds of millions as happened in the last century because no leader took it personally upon himself to see that it didn’t happen -- as President George W. Bush has.

The fact that not everyone appreciates that is of no consequence because this is a leader who is not dependent on the good opinion of those anti-war protestors willing to stand by in” good conscience” while innocent people are slaughtered while the guilty go unrestrained -- because they can no longer make any kinds of valid “discriminations” anymore.

Fortunately, we had one, in the right place, at the right time. That makes all the difference in the world -- whether people can appreciate it or not.

But that's why they're alive to complain about it.