Saturday, July 12, 2008

When ordinary people claim democracy as their own - UPDATED

Bill Moyers commented, not long ago, that:
Sadly, in many respects, the Fourth Estate has become the fifth column of democracy, colluding with the powers that be in a culture of deception that subverts the thing most necessary to freedom, and that is the truth.
In These Times has an article with his words. They also note this:
This article was adapted from Bill Moyers’ keynote address at the National Conference for Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis on June 7. You can read and respond to the full speech at
Bill Moyers always merits a listen or a read.

h/t to don mikulecky at Daily Kos.
Don notes the challenges posed by Moyers and is troubled. He concludes (following the quote in the graphic above):
Ummmmmmm, but that is the answer? Most of the people I know don't find me a person who is a good substitute for Fox. Who is going to be listening as we go tell it to the mountain? The blogs, for example, are quite safe unless they begin to change things significantly. We just lost FISA as another in a long series of significant losses. We are fighting a covert war in Iran right now. This is all information that is available. The public just goes on plodding along listening and watching as the lies and distortions are spewed out to them. When I try to talk about how upsetting this all is, their eyes glass over and I pick up the brain waves "Oh no there he goes again. He doesn't even watch Fox." I wonder why Moyers is so good at seeing the problem yet comes across, to me at least, as helpless to change the situation? Anyone have any ideas?

The Collect for the Day read in church this morning (All Saints, River Ridge) seemed especially apt in light of the questions raised here, viz., what can be done? What ought we to do?  How can we accomplish it?

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

--the BB


FranIAm said...

This is very complicated and I think we are at a real juncture here in our society and in the world. I don't want to sound all-crazy-ass-paranoid but this is what I think.

The "way" things are is the net result of a long time of change and the point is that we live in a society where even those of us who do want change, are very disempowered to do it.

Our world (refer back to your impoverished world of functionality only post) has been reshaped in some way from the dynamic to the linear, the collaborative to the hierarchal in a very extreme way.

Our companies (CEO pay vs worker pay),our churches, our living spaces (gated communities, developments with "boards" that decide what color your house can be, co-ops in NYC that deserve a post of their own) are but a few examples of how power becomes congealed.

Once power is focused in such a small space it is very hard to undo.

However, not impossible.

At this point in time in the US, I think we have a situation where the middle class/upper middle class (such as it is these days) are too afraid of giving up "comfort and convenience" and the poor are too beaten down.

Convenience told us that if we "paid" people -whether they be a clerk at a store, our employees, our kids even, and our candidates - via contributions... They better damn well do what we want.

Well - if democracy requires participation, paying someone to do the work does not really function, does it?

Sorry for such a long comment, I feel like we could both write posts about this element alone.

And I have just skimmed the surface.

Who knows if I make any sense, I think we all gave up a lot- both knowingly and unknowingly - along the way.

And we will have to all give up a whole lot more if we want things to change.

Which is a very challenging thought to me, I don't know how you react to it.

Yes I want real change - but what am I willing to give up to get it?

There is the question for me. I do find myself pausing -and wondering - and feeling afraid of the potential answers.

OK shutting up now.

FranIAm said...

Did I really say that?

Paul said...

Yes, Fran, thank Godde you did.