by Marion Marks
“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.” ~ Stephen King
Serious voters really are just the citizens who have earned the right to talk and walk and engage in political discussion. Voters are the consumers of democracy in the truest sense of the word. But we also consume stories of those who are both engaged and disengaged with the democratic process, Republicans, Democrats, members of the Green Party, Libertarians as well as those with no formal party affiliation. The loudest too often are non-participants!
All that said, we who have been engaged with the process believe, rightly or wrongly, that we have earned the right to criticize the system as well as those who attempt to manipulate the process from the fringes. It is the manipulators who we should focus more attention on limiting from our attention. They spend far too much time distracting us from important issues.
When the Greeks established the voting process, based on educated Athenian men who owned land, the world of governing moved to a new level of participation. Perhaps the new normal thought for Trump supporters is that leadership by the rich as well as capable businessmen in leadership positions is what others should get used to seeing holding high government positions.
This fictional read of democracy fits the sense of entitlement Trump supporters believe they earned to right to change in the American governmental process. It is the fruits of victory. They feel a sense of entitlement as well as a fear that they must control the process from this time forward or they might lose out to the masses who are merely invaders at the gates.
The leadership gears have become warped by actors and their minions who have taken what began as a good governmental process that lost the intended focus through poor management and abuse. Sadly it was subverted to the wrong purposes. Perhaps we digested too many fictional documentaries and big budget films that tell an interesting story but lack the foundation of the “Real” American Democracy.
It makes no difference whether we are watching a large or small screen, or reading, listening or viewing history as it develops, because without clear focus we will always have a difficult time telling reality from fiction. We have become a society that demands good stories, where the form is more important than the lesson or the result. As long as the story is dramatic, rich in action and suspense, like reality shows or what we believe will be Trump’s government, we follow closely and ask few questions.
Many of us can’t go to bed at night without a story because we expect exciting entertainment. From childhood, we become the product of entertainment we experience as children. Unfortunately we don’t learn to appreciate other views of the world around us, especially if they seem boring or too normal. It may difficult to accept that the whole world is not full of flashing lights, action and continuous stimulation.
One lesson we must learn is to take ourselves out of fantasy lives for more than a few moments, hours or even days and experience real life, which may be a bit boring. We must learn to accept other’s live with empathy, and have a real appreciation of how it is to walk in another’s shoes – regardless of if it seems true or imagined from our lack of experience. The real point of a good story and education for a reader to learn and accept differences from our limited experiences, and how and what we can take from knowledge.
Some politician’s dirty secrets may be disclosed from the fact that sometimes they spend too much time watching TV or the movies and they expect us to believe the story they are trying to sell us. You know the expression, “So many options, so little time?” Well, I’m afraid that’s the purpose of the fabricated news or advertising, too many people trying to sell some things that just aren’t true.
If you don’t have time to read a really good book or learn accurate information, many people get information from watching movies. And, that really so isn’t so bad unless you begin to believe and act out the stories you see as real.
Educated voters and leaders need to weigh in and let the public know if this current form of voter education is how you want the world to be, especially for your children. I can only hope that reality television, action movies the current political climate don’t become the new normal. The American way of life needs a large dose of cause-and-effect appreciation for sanity.