Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Your Insignificance Will Be Televised

Posted in activism, Barack Obama, media by allisonkilkenny on March 10, 2008

By Allison Kilkenny at Huffington Post

The national media is quick to remind the American citizenry that their opinions don’t matter.

Meanwhile, moments of democratic triumph go largely unreported. Take, for example, residents of California voting out all five members of a local planning group that had backed plans to allow Blackwater Worldwide to open a training camp in their area. Blackwater claims they hightailed it because of noise regulations and not the angry battle cries of the California residents, which is a lie. If the California residents had warmly embraced plans for the mercenary training facility, Blackwater’s merry engineers would have rushed in overnight to start building. It was only the will of the people that prevented this from happening.

Despite this awesome moment of democracy trumping corporatism and the military-industrial complex, the national media largely ignored the story. Why? Because media deals in tragedy, not inspiration. The media portrays American citizens as perpetual victims – pawns in a big, scary game where their votes are stolen, their jobs are shipped overseas, and their children are left to die in understaffed emergency rooms, while they scramble to take out a second mortgage from predatory lenders just so they can pay the hospital bills.

It’s true that Americans are consistently exploited by uncaring government and corporate elites, but the amazing thing is that they have not surrendered under the pressure of such merciless onslaught.

The media injected Americans with their latest dose of morphine with their coverage of Super Delegates. What might have been a rallying investigative breakthrough became the latest groan of “Can you believe THIS shit?!” heard throughout the country. Your opinions don’t matter, the American people were reminded yet again. You’re helpless, pathetic, and weak.

Few media outlets proposed a way to change this highly undemocratic system. Almost no one suggested rushing the offices of Congress representatives with collected signatures and demands to scrap unconstitutionally appointed representatives that ultimately decide the democratic nominee. No, there was none of that. Instead, the media patted Americans on their heads and tried to look sincere when they murmured, “Sorry, little guys. Looks like you got disenfranchised…again.”

The story became that Americans are victims, not vehicles for change. Though, that may be because optimism and politics are strange bed partners. Just ask Obama’s supporters, who are constantly accused of cult-like behavior because they have dared to invest in these weird things called “Hope” and “Change.” But they can’t, like…change stuff! They’re Americans, for Christ’s sake!

Why aren’t they rolling over and taking it like they’re supposed to?
Why aren’t they still bitching about Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, and Ralph Nader, and all those really bad things that turned Americans into perpetual victims rather than empowered citizens?!
Why are they smiling?! OH GOD! WHY ARE THEY SMILING?!

I have heard many young voters say they’re not going to vote in the national election if Super Delegates, and not the American people, decide who will be the Democratic nominee. This is the saddest kind of testament to how disenfranchised and victimized American citizens have become. Instead of organizing and rebelling like the citizens of California did with Blackwater, they’re already bracing themselves for getting dicked over, yet again.

Americans have been conditioned to believe protest is a silly waste of time, that being a fringe candidate like Ralph Nader is annoying and bothersome, and that they are weak, helpless creatures that will forever be exploited by our big, evil government. They must accept, says the media, that their votes will not be counted, that their children will receive a poor education and poorer health care, and they will either die beneath a mountain of debt or from the retaliation of rebels reacting to our government’s retarded foreign policies. Any way you spin it, the message is clear: You are all fucked. Stop trying.

Except, that’s not true, and Americans know it. That’s why Democratic turn-out for the primaries has been so high. Americans are protecting themselves by rejecting their status as helpless cogs in a corrupt machine. In order to change course, they must turn off the television and switch off the computer. They must politically organize in their own communities and take back their democracy.

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