Just this past week, a former colleague wrote on Facebook that "President Obama will be the first sitting president sent to jail at the end of his term of office!" Huh? For what? More importantly, what would motivate anyone to actually publicly state such an opinion (when I say colleague, I do not mean a professor of Political Science or American History...he's a former Science teacher - and I wonder where he stands on climate change)? Letters to the Editor have taken a even more severe turn. One just yesterday stated that "America cannot survive another two years of Obama, and he needs to go!" But where should Obama go? And under what means is a duly democratically elected president supposed to be "removed" from office? Impeachment - we know getting 2/3 of the Senate to vote for conviction is virtually impossible - especially since there is NO evidence Obama has done anything to violate his oath of office. So what gives? I call it "Foot in Mouth Disease." You see, folks are reacting to stories designed to manipulate their emotions without stimulating their (now lazy) brains. Instead of seeing through the manipulation, they readily "buy into it" because it somehow makes them feel empowered while facing an otherwise difficult reality.
When high profile "Moocher and Taker" Clyde Bundy stirred up a bunch of gun toting anti-government nut jobs, the Right Wing Media immediately came out to support his efforts, even before realizing that Bundy had for years been heard in courts of law and found guilty. Before investigating the fact that his claims of land ownership predated statehood were outright lies, Sean Hannity of Fox News embraced him and his followers as "Patriots." Anything that appears to smack down the federal government (ie., Barack Obama), is "red meat" and a "dog whistle" to stir the pot of anti, well, anything, as long as it charges the emotions of their audience. We all know what happened with Bundy after he used Fox as his stage for proclaiming his "thoughts" on the benefits of slavery for African Americans. As if the collective nonsense of accumulated distortions was not enough (Fast and Furious, the IRS, and of course Benghazi), we now have the "rush to judgment" against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and whether it was worth the expense of gaining his release from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Except, I know not one person that actually knows anything about Sgt. Bergdahl, but that does not stop the Media machine from its efforts to tell us what the guy was all about and what Obama wrongfully did to seek and obtain his release from his captors. Once again, Obama acted "illegally" for seeking the return of an American soldier held in captivity.
But, but, but...but what? He was a deserter! He is a coward! He is a traitor! But did he desert? Is he a coward? Perhaps he is, but what do we actually know about Bowe Bergdahl and his capture and subsequent release? Obviously, very little. So why do folks in the Media spurn on the electorate with misinformation and distortions based upon supposition and hearsay instead of real facts? Because it fits their political motivations and objectives. And to most thinking folks, this knee jerk reactionary punditry is getting tired and worn out. Case in point. Folks actually believe that Obama should be impeached for "illegally" negotiating with terrorists for the release of a traitor. Yet, the Media has purposely omitted some critical facts in this matter - like the very law Obama has allegedly violated, was accompanied by a Signing Statement and pursuant to that Signing Statement, the president reserved the right to act without Congressional knowledge or authority in the event "exigent" or "emergency" circumstances warrant said actions. Is there any wonder why Obama has continually pointed out the need to move quickly without Congressional knowledge or authority in this matter? Does it have anything to do with the exception he left open for him when executing the Signing Statement? Go figure! And the Taliban, albeit it awful to Afghani's, is not Al Qaeda, no matter how hard Fox tries to make them be. IF in fact Bergdahl is a deserter and a traitor, wouldn't it be best for American Military Courts to decide this instead of a biased Media and its like minded audience looking for a quick verdict based upon nothing but speculation and hearsay? Aren't we all supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty?" Isn't that also a concept found in the Constitution? Ask any politician accused of wrongdoing and you can bet they will fight to prove the charges as false. Why do we selectively "cherry pick" rights we like from the Constitution and conveniently ignore the ones that don't fit our ideology?
And what about the hysteria created by the Media we know as "The War on Coal?" Seems the Media has convinced folks that Obama has illegally endorsed new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon emissions from coal fired power plants. Immediately, politicians and their supporting Media have attacked Obama for his alleged illegal action. Somewhere along the line, folks have not been told that the EPA's authority to regulate the environment has recently been UPHELD by the Supreme Court as a Constitutionally valid exercise of the Executive (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/court-upholds-epa-rule-on-cross-state-pollution/2014/04/29/7978fd14-cfce-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html). But when do facts actually begin to interfere with the fantasy created by politicians and their Ideologically Oriented Supporting For-Profit Media?
Now we have the Texas GOP overwhelmingly endorsing Senator Ted Cruz for President in 2016. Yes, you read that right. Ted Cruz, the man who claims the federal government should be shut down now thinks he should be presiding over that very same government. Ted Cruz, a climate change denier (See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/20/cruz-to-cnn-global-warming-not-supported-by-data/), also endorses the notion in Texas of "Reparative Therapy", an alleged treatment designed to "cure" gays and make them straight. Yes, you read that right! (See http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/08/us/texas-gop-gay-therapy/). Anyone else notice how the politicians that yell the loudest and the most often, somehow get elevated and promoted by the Media despite the fact their entire political beliefs are based upon lies? How the Media "proclaims" national leaders based upon the level of their vitriol and personal ambitions rather than upon the real solutions they should be offering to unite America instead of tearing it apart?
Now we learn the United States Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on whether threats posed through social media can be considered actual threats that should lead to criminal indictment without protection under the First Amendment. As anyone that writes blogs or posts online can relate, many Americans - sensing some form of anonymity and protection, seem to feel free to insult, denigrate and actually threaten others through social media. I have personally been under attack by someone for over a year (including threats that involve my employer). Where does anyone have the protected right to threaten others? Before social media, any threat that was perceived by the recipient as real, was legally actionable. Nowadays, folks seem insensitive to respecting others, while feeling empowered to run their uneducated opinions at will along with threats and language that would not be accepted in any household I know of. So, according to The Associated Press, the United States Supreme Court may be reviewing two cases involving threats made via social media to determine if the First Amendment protects them from legal action. According to the article, "True threats are not protected by the First Amendment under a doctrine established by the Supreme Court in 1969." Once again, the High Court must catch up to the realities of modern technology and address the issue of lying and distorting in order to foment hate against others. One thing is for sure these days, Americans have the right to remain stupid! But when does their stupidity cross a line? Opinion is one thing, attacking and destroying others that may not agree with you is another.
My bottom line is simple. Many will jump to the conclusion that I am an Obama Apologist and therefore have no credibility. That's fine (I guess), except I too have railed against Obama for a number of reasons, but unlike many, understand that the president has done nothing outside the realm of what other presidents have done. I would prefer however, that most of America's trumped up anger be redirected instead at Congress where it really belongs! America was built upon compromise and a sense of unity. Along those lines, I am always open to be convinced to change my positions on a myriad of matters. The only problem these days though, is that instead of raising cogent argument designed to persuade, I am seeing and hearing nothing more than the repetition of carefully designed talking points and narratives designed not to unite US, but to divide US. To pit Americans against Americans, all the while politicians reap the benefits from the public they have so carefully manipulated.
As President Abraham Lincoln once famously quipped, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." By their actions, we have become a nation of so many fools, following a manipulative political system and its supporting Media. Isn't it high time we come together to deal with our differences before it becomes too late? Before the uninformed and uneducated start actually believing the lies and distortions so they actually think democracy is better served by armed revolution? What else could folks be thinking when stating a "sitting president will be sent to jail" or "we must, for America, get rid of Obama before his term ends?" Clearly American Media has proven time and time again, they have removed all doubt about their foolishness!
Please note I will be unable to post a blog next Sunday as I will be working for the College Board scoring Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics exams in Salt Lake City, Utah. Have a great couple of weeks!