During a recent conversation with some folks, I learned that the Ideologically oriented For-Profit Media has been very effective in convincing the electorate of their skewed broadcasts and rhetoric. Unlike many previous discussions, I have begun (over time) to be accepted as one with an educated opinion on political matters, so the "heat" involved in such discussions has been eased considerably. By lowering the "temperature," I am able to provide facts that address the rhetoric being regurgitated by many.
One of the areas continuously brought up by folks is the fear Obama is going to take everyone's gun away from them. They immediately follow-up this narrative with stories about Castro taking away guns from Cubans so that he could maintain complete control over them. And we know how that worked out for Cubans, right? Another new story I was told just yesterday was that the Japanese did not attack the American mainland because they knew they could never invade a country possessing so many firearms, and to do so would be suicide (like attacking Pearl Harbor was not enough to lead to the dropping of two Atomic bombs on her homeland?). When the discussion got down to what the Senate is actually proposing (Universal Background Checks), they pivoted to the tried and true rhetoric that "criminals get guns anyway..." Drunks still drive drunk. Banks still rip off consumers. Folks still murder folks. That does justify not having laws against these crimes? We have limitations on all of our fundamental civil liberties, so what is so different about those that regulate firearms by requiring a background check? When I remind them that the First Amendment has limitations imposed on it (like yelling "bomb" at the airport, or printing defamatory statements in the press), they seem a bit confused. When I remind them that "Probable Cause" can limit the application of our inherent rights of privacy, they all agree limitations in some circumstances may be necessary. So why not at least close the gun show loophole that allows sales of firearms without a universal background check? And how in the world would such checks lead to a blanket seizure of citizens' guns? We have to register to vote, we have to register our automobiles. Why not register our guns? It's not like society has any expectation of privacy in today's modern Internet world, does it? Google yourself on the Internet and you will find plenty. How many governmental data bases are we all in? Hell, places on the Internet even show images of our homes and their current market values!
Another "discussion" point was that the Federal budget is so far out of control, we probably cannot remedy the problem. When I mentioned that over 80% of our national debt is owed to ourselves, people always seem to be puzzled. You mean we don't owe at least $10 Trillion to China? Nope. We owe the Federal Reserve, Social Security (that our government stole from and replaced with worthless I.O.U.'s), and pension funds that invested in governmental securities. They had no clue. Why? Because claiming we owe China scores huge political points, reinforced over and over on Ideologically Oriented For-Profit Media. I mean, telling Americans the truth might actually be boring, and boring does not bring viewership. Creating a fiscal "car crash" sucks folks into watching "Breaking News" (that is hardly breaking, or for that matter, "news.").
And then the discussion turns to States' Rights. Many claim States are better off running their governmental bureaucracy and not the Federal Government. But are they? Really? And then I get the rhetoric I was waiting for..."States have a balanced budget, they run like a business!" But balanced budgets come with a cost...a cost TO the Federal Government! According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract, a total of $3.238 Trillion was spent on states in the form of revenue sharing during fiscal year 2009. You read that right, $3.238 Trillion! So what would happen to states having a balanced budget requirement if Federal funds were not provided? If political ideologues truly felt the federal deficit has to be cut, surely they would volunteer to take less from the federal government, right? This year, the Florida legislature is gleefully boasting that they have successfully budgeted themselves a surplus in excess of $128 Million. Would it not be in our nation's best interests then to ask Florida and similar states with budget surpluses, to refund those surpluses back to the Federal government, earmarked specifically to lower the much complained about Federal deficit? Really? If you believe that will happen, then I have a bridge to sell you!
And what top ten states receive more in Federal Revenue Sharing than their citizens pay in? Although evaluations date back to 2004, PolitiFact has verified these statistics as "Mostly True." "Split State" is one led by one Party in the Governorship and the other Party in the Statehouse. Per dollar paid in, the following states receive: 1. New Mexico ("R" State) receives $2.63 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 2. West Virginia ("D" State) receives $2.57 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 3. Mississippi ("R" State) receives $2.47 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 4. Hawaii ("D" State) receives $2.38 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. , 5. Alabama ("R" State) receives $2.03 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 6. Alaska ("R" State) receives $1.93 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 7. Montana ("Split" State) receives $1.92 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 8. South Carolina ("R" State) receives $1.92 for every $1.o0 paid in taxes. 10. Maine ("Split" State) receives $1.78 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. 10. Arkansas ("R" state) received $1.53 for every $1.00 paid in taxes. The reason I post these numbers? Because the "discussion" I was having led to my being told that "Red States" lead in budget surpluses and receive the least in federal aid! Really?
And according to those I was talking to, California is the worst economic State in the Union! But California projects a budget surplus of over $851 Million by the end of next year! So where do folks get such incorrect information about our economy? About the sad state of poverty? About the overall failure of political ideologies mandating tax cuts for "job creators" vs. spending to help average Americans simply "get by?"
Facts are sticky things. Unfortunately, Americans today would rather be told what to think than to exert any brain power that might "tax" them and force them to think for themselves. Thomas Jefferson once said, "He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."
Isn't it time to start thinking for ourselves and stop listening to a Media designed to mislead and manipulate? Isn't is time we collectively exercise our brain, lest we fall into a national case of political dementia? It won't be easy, it will be hard. But the richest rewards await U.S. when we earn them!