Over on a CNN show yesterday, there was a statement made by a political strategist. I wrote it down –
“Americans are only interested in watching the news to confirm what they already believe.” (probably paraphrased but its durn close to what he said.)
Well, either that is a possibility or it is a belief widely held by political strategists that are advising our political parties and political candidates, which is actually more likely.
That means, in the rarefied air where a political candidate or politician lives, he or she is being advised by those they trust – to find what people want to believe and then tell them that.
So, however they arrive at what they think people believe – by polling any one thousand people in the US and asking them a bunch of questions when they would really rather be doing something else, or by some online polling or phone polling of some specific group they are targeting for votes – it would seem that some group of predominant beliefs would emerge, accurate or not.
Then, the political strategists would take these key issues and weave them into the campaign points to match what people want to believe. Is that it?
But once in office, the candidate (who didn’t actually believe nor stand for any of that stuff to begin with) could vote or stand on an issue any damn place they want, or follow the party’s guidelines about how to vote or what to say on any given issue in order to keep that funding stream alive.
So we are being led and suffering the polled opinions of a thousand people in America who answered leading questions structured to get the desired answers by the political strategy companies who created the questions?
Does that make any sense?
It reminds me of the time in our country when the only music hardly made available was being decided by corporate executives who used numbers for their decisions also not based in reality. Based on the playlists at radio stations which they were pressuring to play only those songs and artists who they were publishing and promoting, the excuse was made to exclude all other types of music, all other songs, all other genre of the same types of music, all other artists and all other opportunities for any full palette of music to be offered for sale, publication or listening time on the radio.
And, then there were companies who started getting a more comprehensive range of sales data and information by offering a range of music not heard on radio stations. And, the Japanese bought out the recording companies who had been holding back, shelving and archiving music and artists without ever releasing any of it to the public. It was as if these new company executives from Japan turned out those shelves and archives to the marketplace with all kinds of music and performances and artists that, as it turned out – the public did want to hear and does enjoy.
Using these new information systems, it became obvious that there were a lot more audiences who wanted different types of music than the original recording company executives ever imagined. They had been excluding those majorities of people in the marketplace by excluding music that was of interest to them and consequently, in that process of exclusion – had robbed the lifetimes of opportunities to the listening audiences and the musicians as well while robbing themselves of potential profits from it.
Serves them right for doing it that way and only that way for so long.
However, in our political arena – we seem to be facing the same thing. An exclusionary process seems to occur which constructs the questions to suit themselves, uses the answers about the beliefs of only a few and then tailors their campaigns and talking points to suit the same thing. There is no integrity in that. There is no thinking through what is best for our country doing it that way. There is no leadership in doing that. Those are no leadership skills. In fact, those are simple sales skills used by salesmen who have no integrity and are trying to pass off a lemon to an unsuspecting buyer. And, doing it that way always, always undermines the true power of leadership sooner or later.
So, what these people whose companies are engaged in political strategy and advice to our candidates and politicians are saying is what?
1. There aren’t enough people in the United States that agree with anything to get their votes based on a true stand about anything?
2. People in the United States don’t want honesty and integrity in their politicians or political leaders?
3. Voters in the United States only cast their votes based on hearing what they want to hear coming from the candidates and anything else will change or bar their vote to that political party or candidate?
– or –
4. We, in America are too stupid to know the difference between reality and a sales pitch geared to make us think what they want us to think?
– or –
could the strategists be wrong in their belief that “perception is reality”. If they kick the shoes under the bed at their house, and they want to believe their shoes are by the front door – do their shoes magically appear at the front door?
If the news shows cover the photo of their shoes by the front door where they were last week, even though they are under the bed now – does it make it so?
See, what I notice – is that we live with their decisions – once they get in office. That’s what I’ve noticed.
On Larry King yesterday, there was the Republican gal, Coulter – the Democrat guy, Mark and Mr. King having a fuss. But when the statement was made, “perception is reality” – they all agreed.
Where in their lives does that work that way? Do they all perceive the people of the United States as being that slow and that stupid? But, it was the only thing that the three of them agreed with and re-said while shaking their heads yes – like three bobbing head monkeys. What is that?
They had argued their asses off about every other single thing. So, in our nation apparently – we all agree that “if you believe it is so – and perceive it as such – then therefore it is?” – is that the truth of it?
Surely not –
I’ve yet to understand when tv news became an opportunity for two experts from political strategy camps (or three or four) to have a fuss about it on national television as “political coverage”. But, there it is.
And, it doesn’t mean anything. Because in their world, only the nonsensical makes any sense to them if they believe that perception management is the key to every political race, every political candidates’ future and every opportunity for leadership in our country. Maybe that’s the way it was during the Nixon years, the Reagan years, the Bush years, before the internet and before people actually talked with one another by text and blackberry and iphone and cellphone and email. (and blogs).
Maybe they are right – but are they doing it that way because they think it works or because that is what worked fifteen years ago or thirty years ago even though it isn’t appropriate anymore?
When a child comes home from school and can’t read the back of the cereal box by third grade or sixth grade or tenth grade after being taught in American schools, I don’t think perception management makes any damn difference. And, when that school isn’t safe, is a war zone of bullying and derision, has food that isn’t safe to eat, textbooks that don’t teach what they were designed to teach and teachers that aren’t getting the job done while the students are available wanting to learn – I refuse to believe that is a high standard of education regardless of what some political strategists, political party talking points, or political dissemination of information tells me.
It either is or it isn’t – true and based in factual reality.
When any member of my family, any neighbor, any part of my extended family, me, or any of my friends goes into a hospital and comes out with sicknesses or consequences from mistakes that they didn’t have when they went there – I don’t care how many people tell me our health care providers are topnotch – reality says something else. The politicians can say every single day on every news broadcast that the health care systems in America are high quality – but when I look at the statistics and calculate the odds of going in with one health problem and coming out healthy – these facts tell a different story. Which one am I going to believe – the one based on perception management – or the one based on reality?
Which one yields solutions that work – twisting people’s perceptions to fit a desired result or dealing with reality exactly as it exists today? It is no wonder our leaders come up with these hedgehog solutions that don’t work but one day a year when it puts out a shadow somewhere.
I still say that if a simple rule were passed in our state legislatures and in the Congress and Senate – that unless a rider, attachment, amendment or an addition to a bill pertains to the subject matter specifically of that bill – it can’t be added to the bill, there would be an entirely different reality in our leadership and legislating process. It might even start to make sense.