Tuesday, October 19, 2010

today : my life is shit and I need someone to blame

It increasingly looks like the American Democrats will suffer a bloodbath in the upcoming midterms. I guess this is to be expected. Everywhere people are frightened about being poor.

But what happens in America always interests and amuses me. Their politics is so messed up that they really cannot see that they are consistently undermining themselves as a power. It seems that Americans are like Liverpool fans. Once, a long time ago they ruled the roost and perennially expect that they should continue to do so by default. But the world has changed since they were on top. Okay, so Liverpool have done well in the Champions league in the past decade, but that's a cup competition. Any team or country can shine in a cup competition, or in an individual area of business.

The story of the the midterms is that a mature Internet has fragmented the narratives of politics. This has always been the case to some extent in the USA because it is such a huge, geographically, culturally and economically diverse country. But the less people get their news and information from central sources, the more localised things seemingly have become. Localised to the point of reconfiguring communities outside of geography - meaning that people with similar opinions can form together and campaign more easily. Shazam! The Tea Party, connecting together confused, disappointed, bitter people everywhere with other confused disappointed and bitter people. It looks to me like the Tea Party (although much more complex than I'm portraying, and with some agenda driven people behind it) could easily be renamed the 'My Life Turned Out Shit and I Need Someone To Blame Party' - a party whose membership are almost entirely campaigning against stuff rather than for it.

This does diminish the power of the Metropolitan opinion formers and media. They grow ever more irrelevant to the discourse. Even when that discourse is riddled with prejudice, inaccuracy and selfish short-sightedness.

American politics has also suffered from the lack of balanced voice. One warning Brits can take from watching the USA is that to destroy the BBC would leave us open to anti-democratic Fox News-style broadcasters; 'news' channels that exploit freedom of speech to relentlessly and cynically push the agenda of their owners. In Fox's case, of course, this is Murdoch, whose only interest is in creating more wealth and power for himself and his companies. A 'News' channel is just one of his any means necessary.

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