47 %: Behind, But Not Asleep.

The second week of March has come and gone for the 2014th + time since somebody enlightened started counting the Four Seasons as One repeating Cycle, starting it over again as Winter reclaims Dominion over the Earth, Man included. Winter is an Annual Brake Check from Mother Nature, telling us we’re following way too close to believing Our own hype. Man’s dominion is fragile at best. Add ice, and stir …. We dominate very little that’s worth crowing about, and that’s when we act.

Worse? When we don’t act? We, the Earths People, can imitate the Ostrich until there’s no sand left to bury our heads in. Then we make fake sand to distract us from the view that replaced the gritty, darkness of the ground. We sleep; most of us; not because we don’t care. WE care, we’re just tired. We nap our way to the dirt nap because of two reasons. We either don’t have time to join a popular movement in a contributing way due to the pressures We face to complete Maslow – Level 1. That’s a full time job, and far too many of Our Citizens are Underemployed, if employed at all. The other reason is painful to admit. It’s Apathy. We’ve grown so accustomed to the inability to make a difference, through misinformation, corruption, Lobbyist’s and all the dark $ in politics, Greed, GREED, Dynastic WEALTH, Trusts, Mistrusts, PATRIOTic ACTions, Patriot Inaction, Voter Disenfranchisement, Biased MEDIA, Unregulated Social Media, Anti-Social Media, Gerrymandering, Astro-turfing, Tea Brewing, Money Spending, Terrorist THREATening, etc.. Too often the Outcome has been known; or widely accepted; prior to the Political Contest ever being held.

That Apathy remains; it exists in Society today. But, something’s not the same now. In truth SOMETHING’s not the same. Turns out, …. It’s a Big Deal. I’ve written smaller pieces for blogs about the effect Social Media had on the last Elections; the 2012 Cycle. More recently, my pieces have been on the Anti-Social nature of Social Media; BUT; I recognize the tremendous potential as a force multiplier during Popular Uprisings …. Like Elections …. Protests …. The good stuff.

On that point; the Anti-Social nature of Social Media Platforms; I’m happy to educate anyone interested on my views here, but I’m done trying to convince anyone who can’t get the message scribbled on the wall, and baffled that some still disagree, yet claim to ‘see my  point; they guess’. The National Elections of 2012 PROVED; BEYOND ANY DOUBT; that the same forces working behind the scenes-ish to stoke fear and division in this Nation, and Its Politics, to achieve the goals of Special Interests’ – no matter how well-intended or ill-conceived – …. Those forces proved too great a strain on the Social Fabric; the ‘Social: Friends and Family’ nature/intent of the Platforms. Sadly, this redefining moment; Friends, to friends(?); didn’t achieve as much as I’d hoped it would. That the word friend is abused by Society in general, and widely so by the younger Generations of Americans, annoys and disappoints me. Perhaps it fed the concept of a Social Utopia where Community and Commonality reign supreme. Then came the reality check, which did tweak the true meaning; the perceived meaning; of the word friend. That tweak was noticed on the sending and receiving ends of posts, tweets and shares. Comments changed. A thunderous quiet of respectful disbelief drowned out discussion, and battle lines were drawn. It was time to choose sides or opt out. What my wife calls ‘The Shrinking Middle Ground’ …. It sunk in an instant.

I’d submit that it’s worthy of a reflective moment/query. ‘Where were you/What were you doing when your first Social Media Friend was revealed to you; via a Social Media Platform; as a Political/Geo-Political Foe?’ I watched it unfold, with rapt interest in all the insult added to repeated injuries; ones inflicted upon relationships once based in commonality and kinship. My former friends and family, included. Friends No More. …. friends no more. …. FRIENDS NO MORE! End of rant.

At last check, We’re all still tired, right? As I write this piece, Veterans and the Jobless are being fed to the wolves; Creditors, Bankruptcy protection and Home Foreclosure; and we’re nowhere near the Bottom of OUR Financial Mess. Even after the Bailouts and Ransoms proved to be at least even money in most respects, the TOP Predators prove themselves Bottom-feeders without remorse or apology, feeding off the bottom during bad times and working to make times even worse for most Americans. Even in the weakling, bleary-eyed throes of recovery, time and again We’re asked to pay ahead; into the recovery; though the recovery has yet to be discovered by millions of Americans. We can borrow money; even MONEY; as a Nation, on a multitude of fronts, mostly with the word ‘War’ in front of front, but Austerity was the only item placed on the menu for the Basic American Diet, back here on the Home front. Needless suffering of countable Countrymen continues to defy logic, and puts in question, the human/humane aspect of Humanity.

Will Social Media come to the Rescue in situations like these? Should it? Did it? It can. It should. It did.

Harken back < two whole years. Two events of that time stood out for me, because of their effect on the National Quadrennial Elections of 2012. One was a video about truth. Personal Truth on a Variety of levels, smacked a huge Percentage of the population in the face. The famous “47% Video” recorded and released surreptitiously by Scott Prouty, proved to be the Bane of the Romney Presidential Campaign. Old Sayings are often proved true, and Mitt was exposed(?) as an Elitist; when he opened his mouth, he confirmed what many actually thought, but couldn’t prove, …. until the video spread like wildfire, igniting a blaze in the Evening News/Cable News Campsites. The second event of importance was Celebrity, and Its ability to influence Politics with all kinds of Artistry, via Social Media. A shining example of this was the Lullaby Spoof Video, “Wake the F**k Up!” starring Samuel L Jackson. Both presentations shook the Social Media World, then the Whole World, the latter with righteous laughter, the former, righteous indignation. Both accomplished the implied/perceived/stated goals of their producers. They woke people up to the truth, the truth about themselves, and how easy it is to set the snooze control. Truth about Perception actually being Proven to be the Reality, and watching it unfold and rinse and spin and repeat. What a Load! Finally, the truth that, when something happens in a forest, you don’t have to hear it, to get it, and you may feel its echoes as painful reminders..

Scott Prouty’s video was a big deal in many ways, and the determining factor in my deciding to call the election for President Obama early. I felt it was that big, and may yet prove bigger in hindsight as a US Political, ‘where were you, when?’ moment. I pecked out a post touting Mitts loss, soon after the second televised Presidential Debate. It’s odd that nearly 2 years after his video was released, our paths crossed on another issue and we struck up an ongoing conversation on a few topics. He’s working these days as the Political Director for The United Steelworker’s Union, an Organization that my father served as Treasurer for years in the past. He’s held firm in his support for Unions throughout his life. I grew up Union. Still am. Strength in numbers …. Force Multiplier.

Now, “Wake the F**k Up!”, and its impact on the election? Much harder to quantify, I think. Perhaps I’d be well served by rewording things; its impact on the Electorate? Major impact. It was the One-Issue Ad that encompassed all the Major Issues perplexing Progressive Voters. Women, The Economy, Prolonged Suffering of too many Countrymen, Reproductive Freedom and Choice, Hypocrisy, Security, …. everything important summed up in one message. ‘Wake up and see what’s been happening while you were asleep. Wake up before it’s too late to fix tomorrow, that which is broken today.’

I’d like to add, or repeat a debt of gratitude to people who take part in projects like this, even if they were unwilling/unwitting participants at first. Activists’ at that level face scrutiny and the harsh reality that they may pay a price for such speech, and then they have to spread the word.

Enter Social Media. Though I jokingly refer to it as The Scream Engine, it has proven very effective in spreading all types of information, and at mobilizing huge numbers of people to get more informed on virtually any issue. I watched that groundswell wash over the face of Social Media in both these examples, and was fascinated by the possibilities that lay ahead for its use as a personal content creator and visual voice among the masses. Every user has the opportunity to participate; to speak volumes without ever uttering a word.

That’s the apex of Social Media. We the People, are We the Media. United. Forty-Seven Percent behind …. ? …. Maybe so. Maybe still. But we’re not all asleep; not nearly. Some of us may never sleep again.

To the rest, Babe said it best. …. “Bah Ram Ewe!”

drstiff    (@MiddleDude on twitter)

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