Thursday, January 11, 2007

the not so silent majority...

Digby's on his feed:
It's clear to me that there is something pathologically wrong with the right wing in America in their inability let go of the 60's. (And I'm talking to you Joe Klein.) It isn't us --- it isn't the liberals. We are not obsessed with the past or trying to relive our glory days. The liberal baby boomers are looking to the future, just as we always did, while these boomer wingnuts are mired in the their pathetic, loser youths and punishing the rest of the country because they were anachronisms in their own time.
On the flipside, I'm convinced today's opposition to the Bush/McCain/Lieberman war will be far more sustained than was the counter-culture movement of the 60s, and the burgeoning progressive movement will project years, if not decades, further into the future, precisely because we are not the counter-culture but the culture itself. We are the doctors and the lawyers, the financial analysts and the journalists, unlike, say, the resistance of the 60s, which was comprised primarily of students, dropouts, and a disparate group of artists that evolved from the beat movement of the 50s, and added a more visual projection; all of whom were deemed hippies, peaceniks, and anti-war activists -- essentially, the counterculture. Admittedly, many of them would later become doctors, lawyers, financiers and journalists, but many of them became Republicans too.

Don't look now (Okay, go ahead and look!), but have you seen the surge-defectors(TM) in the Repo party the last couple of days?

But back to the 60s: It had to be the visual aspect of the movement that shocked the so-called silent majority most. Gone were the neat little buzz-cut dweebs with the white socks, gone was the peace & prosperity, or the perception thereof -- the metaphoric car in every garage; hello to the long & mangy haired, dope-smoking, peace-flipping, in-your-face kids. This happened in less than a decade and the spectacle was a shock to the collective's conciousness. And while fear and loathing is an instinctive initial reaction to discernible change, imagine the viscera at a considerably accelerated pace. Factor in the Kennedy & King assassinations with the Civil Rights upheaval... well, bets were coming off the table.

Of course, the silent majority eventually would be brought around to the Hippie's way of thinking, at least as it pertained to the war, but it would take more than a decade, or even two.

Some Americans would be surprised but there have been demonstrations in the U.S. protesting the occupation of Iraq, some have even risen to the level of the Vietnam era. The difference in perception is due to corporate media being more saavy in promoting their own interests, i.e., whatever the president says goes, while suppressing the appearance of dispute, and particularly so any unrest among the masses. Mass Communication can be summarized by the Greek Logos, Ethos and Pathos, loosely meaning the messenger, the message, and the audience's receipt of the message. Without one -- never mind two -- communication does not occur, and it didn't as the media effectively interrupted, intercepted and interdicted the message for several years following 9/11.

And so the American people were the last to climb aboard the anti-war movement, because they were the ones kept mostly in the dark. The corporate media consistently would not broadcast major protests or any kind of event that could adversely affect their bottom line; if people are out on the streets protesting, you see, they're not stimulating the economy by shopping or being good little worker bees. An exception helping to prove the rule came conveniently at the 2004 Republican convention in New York City, a singular opportunity for some very determined Americans, a half-a-million strong at least, who felt unprecedentedly oppressed by a government run-amuck, and aided by an overzealous while under-vigilant corporate media, to march and bellow in front of Madison Square Garden and show the rest of the world we weren't all assholes.

It is the Internet that makes all the difference. People communicate instantly and more directly, and, most importantly, peacefully, with others at a much greater speed and capacity, and, unfiltered at that, than they ever could before. It is where the individual can be seen, heard and read by many, and many more by the individual. It is the Internet that facilitated awareness by the people, where no other venue was available to them, so that they could make an informed change in Congressional control. Arguably the Internet is more precise, if a trifle slower than is rioting, in getting one's point across. People are more receptive when absorbing information at their own pace. Conversely, were the American people left to the tender mercies of today's corporate media, they would likely be less aware of this president's congenital mendacity, and probably would not have hired the first female Speaker of the House to act as a thorn in his side.

Absent the Internet then (or a gun), the only means of expressing outrage and to effect positive change is to demonstrate and/or to conduct civil disobedience of authority. Demonstrators, history teaches us, can be brought easily to anger, however, and the consequences of which may lead to disturbances, greater civil unrest, and bloody riots. One might want to consider this a good reason to keep access to the Internet neutral and available to all the people, as a safety valve. Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, or any other soulless corporate entity, or government bureaucrat for that matter, must never be allowed to act as its gatekeeper.

And while we're on that subject, control over the "public's" television, cable, and radio airwaves ought be revisited.

Power to the People!

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