I have struggled with this article for the past several weeks. The title was always there but the countless points that needed making have been stark, riveting and complex. Let’s rewind to four years ago during one of the most historic elections in US history…
In 2007, a lesser-known candidate tossed in his bid for the presidential election. Back then, not everyone knew who Barack Obama was. He was just some Senator from Illinois. By the time all was said and done, he had captured both the support and the opposition of many. Upon his election by the citizens of the United States, those elected officials personally opposing him began an all-out assault in an attempt to ensure a one-term presidency. Part of that strategy was to spoon-feed party citizens clever sound bites via chain emails, notorious bloggers, and talk show and radio hosts, among other sworn ideologs.
One of the most infamous, one-two punch, cyber sound bites was how the newly elected president(1) was not an American citizen (keyword: different; therefore, “scary”) and that he was a Muslim (keyword: unknown religion; therefore, “scary”). First, allow me to point out that in order to become a US President, individuals are vigilantly scrutinized and investigated before they can even put in their bid for candidacy.
In the case of President Obama, even then-candidate Senator John McCain had the common decency to counter a town hall voter on the truth of the matter(2), replying, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].” But here’s the real kicker to the entire argument of the “Muslim” issue: Since when did practicing freedom of religion in these United States become once again a question and accepted form of intolerance? Why do Americans today think that Pilgrims fled England in the first place? They were being persecuted for practicing their own religious beliefs.(3) Last time I checked, one of the many reasons our “Forefathers” (overused and misused term, by the way) formed the Declaration of Independence(4), was to fight the many injustices and intolerances enforced upon us as a common people.
Though our US President is clearly not part of the Muslim community (and there is NOTHING wrong with being any particular religion for that matter), there is a growing faction of American representatives that continue to condone and incite others to filter vitriol into society regarding this specific religion. The sad part is that the very people who would arbitrarily heist the US Constitution as a wedge issue to support their prejudices, hypocritically preach against that very Constitution in that the First Amendment(5) clearly relays, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
But the cyber sound bites are not limited to false religious accusations and incendiary “birther”(6) proclamations, they are far more sinister and provocative in driving the great political (and even racially-motivated) divide in these United States. Effectively using cognitive dissonance, certain political representatives continuously and knowingly spread misinformation to deepen wedge issues; therefore creating a conspiracy theory-environment among the masses. For example, unwitting citizens have fallen ruthless prey to these predatory practices so much so that many did not even realize that the Affordable Care Act(7) (commonly referred to as “Obamacare(8)“) has been a law signed into effect since 2010. This specific piece of legislation was voted into law by both the Congress and the Senate.
The Affordable Care Act itself would have never won Republican support without specific “conditions” and legislation, including the Heritage Foundation’s recommendation(9) (reinforced by candidate, Mitt Romney) of insurance mandates. While some political pundits in both branches of congress and the senate, and media outlets have alluded to this fact (pending the outcome of the US Supreme Court review(10) of the law), presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows to “repeal Obamacare”; however, Romney’s political history and public record paints a very different picture(11).
Online, we see mounting comments and criticism about the presidential election and very-split party policies. The most ironic (and mostly hypocritical) online posts are derived from the very people helped mostly by the administration’s policies, and are equally harmed by opposing party ideologies. The kangaroo court of public opinion is constantly fueled by an endless stream of cyber sound bites (via twitter feeds and other propaganda-proliferated multimedia networks). No longer do old school journalists – once an ethical coalesce of reporters and writers – rule the day with unabashed and truthful journalism. No… carpe diem is the egotistical rite of passage as the news speakers become the headline; where “news” quickly becomes sensationalized and distorted by the he-said/she-said game of political football. In fact, the high-stakes game of football pales in comparison to the monetary hand changing behind the political landscape — all at the cost of lives and livelihood. Deceitfully pandering to the emotions and unrealistic expectations, as well as ideological fundamentalism of Americans, is like taking candy from a baby. “We the People” are so typical and so, so easy. We can be so effortlessly fooled and misled by the political pied pipers.
There are so many “news stories” and “real life stories” that have been deliberately misconstrued. To list all the mistruths and deceptions would take pages upon pages. Truth be told, as an American citizen, it is your civic duty — and moral conscience — to practice due diligence. Demand the truth. Demand reason. Armed with both, knowledge is power.
Note – If you would like to see the Affordable Care Act brought to your State, call your Governor’s office and ask where s/he stands on “Obamacare”. Currently, several States like South Carolina(12) – led by Gov. Nikki Haley(13), have decided not to side in favor of its most needy and vulnerable residents.
Cyber Sound Bite Culture and the Public Kangaroo Court of Opinion
Copyright – ALL Rights Reserved
- Credentials for becoming US President
- Politico: Obama not an Arab, crowd boos
- America as a Religious Refuge: The Seventeenth Century, Part I – Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
- USHistory.org: Declaration of Independence
- Cornell University; Legal Information Institute; First Amendment
- CNN: Trump-Wolf: Birther Interview Obama Video
- White House: The Affordable Care Act – Implementation Timeline
- 12 Reasons to Support Health Care
- Daily KOS: Republicans Supported an Individual Mandate Until Obama did
- PBS Newshour Extra – Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Law
- USA Today – Romney defends Massachusetts health care law
- CBS: States opting out of Medicaid expansion could leave many uninsured
- The Digital Myrtle Beach: Haley announces ‘Obamacare’ stance via Facebook