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Election '08

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News at 11

Is it just me or has the news become less about information and more about entertainment? When I was a kid, the news anchors looked serious and told an important story in a matter of fact way. What happened?

We’ve gone from front line reporters putting their lives on the line to tell the story to stories about the lady raising pet bunnies to save them from being used for coats and the latest details of some Senator’s or Congressman’s latest extramarital affair. Is that news? Does anyone actually care about this stuff? Also, what’s up with the same story twenty times a week? If you watch the news more than once a week you already saw the disaster footage from the latest crisis and all the subsequent interviews with the local trailer park residents who have been left homeless by it. Why show it every night for a month? Is it maybe that there’s other, more relevant, news that they don’t want us to see? More importantly, why aren’t we, as a nation, asking these questions and demanding answers? Have we become so complacent that we just don’t ever worry that we might be getting duped by the people that have the money we work so hard for them to have?

Maybe I’m cynical but does anyone really care about who our politicians are having sex with at the moment? Isn’t it a little more important to find out what bills they are passing that actually impact our daily lives? When it comes to election years, it might be nice to find out what the voting records of the candidates are instead of who they had affairs with twenty years ago or whether or not they smoked a joint in college. I think at this point, you’ll have a hard time finding a person under sixty in America that didn’t take the occasional bong hit back in their college days. Now, if they’re hitting the pipe today, that might be news. Although, even if they are hitting the pipe, if they vote in the interests of the people they represent, maybe the pipe is working for them. If hitting the pipe makes them mellow enough to vote for the bills that actually protect the little guys instead of screwing them then light ‘em up I say. Need a lighter?

Personally, I just want representatives in Washington that will make sure that I don’t get shafted by people with more money than sense. As long as they do that, let them smoke, sniff, drink, or have sex with whatever or whomever they want to. I don’t care if they like to wear dresses or get whipped in their own bedroom and why should I if they are doing a good job? Bill Clinton may have banged his interns but at least he didn’t screw over the American people. We have become so consumed with scandals that we have stopped paying attention to what the politicians are actually doing while they’re supposedly acting on our behalf.

It actually took airplanes being flown into skyscrapers in one of the largest cities in America for us to look away from the scandal of the week and actually think about the storm that our global policies of the last fifty years have brought upon us. To those few of us that have been paying attention all along, September 11th 2001 was not terribly surprising. Horrifying yes, but not surprising. America has angered virtually every country on Earth at one time or another and we don't tend to apologize when we wrong other countries. If we want to stop having people from other countries blowing up our buildings, we need to stop setting up “friendly” dictators and financing foreign wars. It kind of burns people up when people half way across the planet control their daily lives without much regard for their needs. The American people need to spend more time worrying about what our government is doing to our so called friends around the world that is making them want to blow us up before we worry about what freedoms we should be giving up to protect ourselves from terrorism.

Osama Bin Laden was called a “freedom fighter” by our own government when it was convenient. Now, he’s a terrorist and “the evil one”!?! He was always a terrorist!! He was just a terrorist that suited our needs at the time. Our government has more false faces than a night at the Oscars! Let’s take a quick look at a few of the “friends” we have had in the recent past who have taken on evil status after we put them in power; Fidel Castro, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, and of course Osama Bin Laden. Mind you the previous list doesn’t even come close to naming all of them. You need a lineup card to keep track of who’s our friend and who’s our enemy anymore. If you don’t like our alliances right now, wait a little while, they’ll change. We didn’t really win the cold war. It just stopped being profitable. The PR costs became higher than the profits for both sides so we made nice with Russia. When the war on terrorism stops being profitable or popular, it too will end.

How did we respond to the horrific events of September 11th 2001? We went out and spent money and waved flags. Our president, who was in fact not voted for by the majority of Americans, went on TV and told everyone to stimulate the economy and spend, spend, spend and we just ate it up. Give me a break! We have become so wrapped up in the hype that the nightly news is shoving down our throats that we have become dangerously unaware of the realities that exist in the world. Has nobody noticed that every time the economy turns sour we start a war or find one to jump into? WWII really pulled us out of the Great Depression. The Gulf War was a great cure for the slumping economy in the early 90's. The stock market was bottoming out right before the war on terrorism began. How many jobs are being created by the war on terrorism? Is mass murder really the best way to stimulate the economy?

The American people may not have noticed this but the rest of the world is keenly aware of it. The rest of the world does not love America. We are hated for our selfish arrogance and feared for our nuclear arsenal and massive military budget. The kicker in that is that we have lost the stomach for using the aforementioned nuclear weapons while other countries are getting itchy trigger fingers and making nuclear weapons of their own. Terrorism on American soil is not going away. It’s just getting started because “We the people” has lost all meaning and we have turned our government over to a bunch of power mad idiots with more money than sense. The American people seem to have forgotten that we don’t actually have to vote for a Democrat or Republican in an election. There are other candidates you know.

I believe that there is hope though. “We the people” have more power than we are led to believe. The power is in the vote and more importantly the pocketbook and to some degree in the remote control. Where we spend our money determines who has it. If we take the time to learn about the people that run the companies that support the politicians, we can start to create change with how and where we spend our money. The real change comes when we as a collective group start waking up and voting our consciences with our wallets, our actual votes and the remote control. We even have a certain level of control over the companies that we work for.

If a company supports ideals that you don’t agree with, don’t buy their products. Do the research and support the companies out there that don’t support unethical people or policies. When you see that independent candidate that is actually the best person for the job, vote for them and work to get others to vote for them. It’s not wasting your vote to vote for the right person. If more people start doing it, things might actually change for the better. If the company you are working for is screwing its employees, organize a strike or turn them in to the labor board. The company cannot survive without its workers. Regardless of what they may try to tell you, they need you just as much as you need them. When the local news anchor or even the national news anchor starts to tell us about the latest scandal, that is much more sensationalism than substance, we need to change the channel. We also need to keep the channel changed until the media realizes that we want to know about reality instead of the neatly packaged sixty-second sound bite news stories that are beginning to look an awful lot like the commercials that come in between them. We need to look past the flash and glamour that the news has become and demand that our media tell us the whole story without the spin.

The only truly free press outlets left in America are, unfortunately, the newspapers that hardly anybody reads because they are characterized by the mainstream press as fringe or radical. We the People of the United States of America are the source of the power of this land. Our work, our sweat, our dollars and our votes drive this nation. We need to take hold of the steering wheel and turn it when things go in the wrong direction. If we don't, we might as well just admit that we have decided to give up the freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard and died for and accept the end of the world as our leaders drive us into it.

Ask questions, demand answers and don’t fall for the hype. These are dangerous times for America as well as the human race itself and if we don’t start questioning those in power and those who dole out the information, we are all doomed to extinction. The people of Rome never thought their empire would fall but it did. America is the Rome of the modern age. We should avoid their mistakes by learning from them. The people of Rome stopped paying attention to their leaders to the point of having their empire collapse under it’s own weight from the endless campaigns of conquest and the continual quest for control of the world. Our armies are spread all over the world to the point of not being able to adequately defend our own country. If we remain complacent, surely we will fall just as the Romans did.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at | Visit Troy's MySpace page at

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