As Seen On TV

Frank O'Brien wants viewers to change their television preference and fast. Frank O'Brien is a long time resident of Troy, NY, USA, and former head of Clan na Gael in same city, and area.

The popularity so far of the Republican Party political campaign is indicative of cultural rot, where otherwise serious discourse has become mere entertainment instead of the serious business it really is.

Donald Trump's one line tweets now garner more attention than any of the news coming out of the Syrian conflict, unless you count his racist, anti-Muslim call to ban all Muslims from gaining American immigration status. When people start exhibiting this kind of off handed, lackadaisical attitude, they can be taken in more easily than usual, and you just know we are in for major trouble.

Trump wouldn't have even been taken seriously back in the day, but his comments resonate from certain white people being tired of the political correctness that has pervaded America for so long. Hitler appealed to this inner desire to break out of the box similarly when the German people had suffered under humiliation for a decade and more. His 'Reichstag Fire' was not even questioned even though to any thinking person it smelled very suspicious, all too conveniently bringing him and his Brown Shirts to power.

Now 'The Donald' is not atypical of how Americans feel normally, most Americans having become slightly more progressive than they were a few decades ago, but he does represent people in his overt rhetoric about dealing with foreigners and our now persecuted Muslim population. It used to be called 'red baiting" when it was still the communist era, when communists were made out to be more dangerous than the Devil. And this tendency at scapegoating usually follows when a people are exhausted by either war, poverty or are living in chronic fear of their lives. In our country we have also the almost 10 years of economic trouble having made it very difficult just to survive from week to week, so finding others to blame is an all too convenient means of venting our frustration.

This is seen in how Trump has gone after Mexican, and other Spanish-American speaking peoples, describing them as if they were rats nipping at our heals, stealing jobs away from us, and no doubt all manner of malarkey.

People want hope and change which Barack Obama didn't bring in spite of it being much promised, so they will cling on to anyone who actually seems for real enough in their promises. TV, the great opiate of the masses, has played a huge part in this trajectory, since people will many times accept at face value what they see and hear on it, without using their critical thinking cap. The old, "Well I saw it on TV" response from people, meaning that it must be true if it is on TV, has become sadly a refrain that even covers how people look back at 9/11. People will let TV do their thinking for them, not wanting to be too challenged after a long work day, even if some where inside themselves they know something 'ain't' right. I won't go into the mind control aspects of TV except to say that science has gotten to where the air waves have become riddled with both government and companies manipulating our views and likes and dislikes.

We aren't so much dumb as we are merely exhausted from the daily grind, not making enough money to live very well on, and we are still given to the pavlovian response to terrorism now from having lived through 9/11. We are an admixture of both post traumatic stress, and attention deficit disorders as well, which breaks down our otherwise normal tendency to question more of what is given to us.

TV also tends to comfort us, especially if we live alone, or are looking for some kind of escape. As Jesse Ventura says at the end of each of his "Off the Grid" shows, we need to be more vigilant citizens, and I would add that we need to also see ourselves as global citizens, and not just Americans.

The old 'ugly American' stereotype came from Americans who would say or do things without regard to decorum or social tact, which is where we are once again in a way, since so many are supporting the likes of Donald Trump. We would be so much better off if we were actually better off financially, since we'd be more benevolent and empathetic towards others, including foreigners and refugees in particular. Now that a refugee can be equated to possibly being a secret Sunni extremist, aka a terrorist, we aren't as willing to want to lend a helping hand, add to which the old ethnocentric blaming of immigrants with our not having jobs that 'they stole' from us, and you have a two punch knockout, even though both assumptions are patently false for most immigrants/refugees.

It's also racism, prejudice, and class warfare all at the same time, despite it all being the very worst kind of demagoguery. We can't even trust the more sedate Democrats, whose debates are far kindlier, but who still eat and drink from the same fat cat campaign finance trough that the uglier minded Republicans do. Our future lies some where outside the two party political system, but we first must think outside the box, coming up with say a multi-party system, where the two parties don't have a stranglehold on the system as they do now. Though tuning out TV sounds like one way to help alter our perception and perspective, it is not very likely to happen since so many enjoy at least a little bit of their 'info-entertainment' commercials, which are the kinds of news shows we get nowadays.

Balancing it all with a good amount of excellent ALT news media is one thing I always suggest, since these programs literally scream at you to think more, and to question more. Abby Martin's "The Empire Files," on teleSur, which can be found on the Net, especially on YouTube, is an excellent eye opening news and views show, say coupled with the equally fantastic "Corbett Report," hosted by James Corbett. If you merely watched these two programs alone with the rest of your time spent watching corporate mainstream news, you'd still see a remarkable reorienting of your thinking.

Whether Left or Right, which is a false dichotomy any way, you will find both these alternative shows to be challenging to your knowledge of the world, and to the view you may have on any number of issues. You'd have to be pretty hardline to turn these shows off, so I suggest you honestly try them out. Take'em out for a spin when you can't find anything worth watching on regular TV, for who knows, you might turn out to love them like I did. Open minds lead to open hearts, which is much more preferable to the buffoonery that you get from Donald Trump, or the fakery/chicanery of the Democrats.

Both the political parties have dictated our lives for way too long, and we need real change and hope finally, otherwise things can only get worse. We can almost all agree that change begins at home, in our own homes. By changing the channel, even if doing it by hooking up your laptop to the TV, you can change your mind, opening it at any time to new, and fresh ideas, not getting stuck in ways that no longer offer the kind of hope long desired for.

Obama merely proved to me that even his being the first African-American in the Oval Office doesn't mean that he would be any different than the white elite who came before him. Sure it is great to have set a new precedent, allowing for more diversity in the White House, but we don't have time for that any more right now, say by electing Hillary just because she'd be the first woman president. What we need is someone who will break the tired old mantras, giving us basically something more than the same old, same old.

Just because we see something on TV doesn't make it a certainty that it is real, so we need to dig deeper, looking beyond our normal level of investigation. Most don't do any kind of investigation concerning news, which was where I was back a few years ago, until I woke up from the boob tube slumber.

The failure of Obama to bring real hope and change was what lit the fire under my rear end, and I've never looked back except to use it as a lesson to newbies of the truth movement. We are all human, and to be human is to err, whether it be on the job, in family situations or in how we decide our political views. Being very, very close to a confrontation with Russia, and China, we don't any longer have the luxury with which to make mistakes. Our representatives must be 'on the ball' and not trigger happy.

They need to also focus more on us, the nation, and not far flung military misadventures. However much we would like to change the system, we must still decide on who gets into the Oval Office in a year, so why not begin by opening up our minds to alternative news and views, so as to help that change. A change that begins on the inside rather than the outside.

Once we change we might very well open up others to the same possibility, even if it is but to change our TV viewing habits. A 'dark horse' candidate like Jesse Ventura once got the electorate to give him a try, so maybe the same could happen for the presidency. Life is more than a two way street, and certainly is more than a one way street, as long as we will it to be. Real change begins in oneself, and at home, then spreading out in a ripple like effect. Pass it on once you 'get it,' enriching the lives of others, changing the very fabric of society. The worst that could happen is had by your not doing anything at all. Look to yourself, looking inside of yourself, much to where you feel the change happening from within. Learning is only difficult because we sometimes fight it like we do with outer changes to society. When we change on the inside though, the change on the outside is much more in our control. Hope comes from that change that can give us an economic leg up. It also comes from seeing others getting along better with each other, not fighting from the tired old Left/Right paradigm.

Much of what changes us comes from exposure to different perspectives, many times on TV, and from the Internet. By changing the channel, or going to a different website, we literally open ourselves up, learning far more than if we remained sticks in the mud. Educate, activate and create needs to be our new mantra. As always it is surely all up to us to make the changes that can ultimately bring that longed for hope.

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