by CJ Clark, Featured Contributor
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]A[/su_dropcap] PUNDIT ON THE NEWS this week made a statement about “the republican brand.” I did a double-take. What? A brand? Brands are for marketing…..oh, I get it now. They are marketing the republican politicians as a brand.
The more I think about that, the scarier it seems. Marketing serves the purpose of getting people to buy something, regardless of whether it is the right thing. Do we really want our country’s future being decided by slick ad-men who tell us what they think we want to hear?
Not only that, but lumping the huge number of declared republican candidates into one brand makes a very wrong assumption – that they are interchangeable, and anything one says can be attributed to the others.
So it is with Donald Trump. Republican candidates are distracted from their own campaign trying to distance themselves from his rhetoric. Democrats tweet Trump’s comments, attribute them to “the republican brand,” and now the world sees all republicans as anti-Hispanic.
This is all just silly. We should know better than to believe that a 140-character tweet from a politician carries the entire context of a campaigner’s remarks. But sadly, it seems that it is coming down to 140-characters or a 10-second sound byte that tugs at our emotions, plays to our sense of altruism, and sets “the other guy” up as an unfeeling, uncaring monster.
A very wise young man I know once said that America is on a downward trajectory – we have become so intensely complicated, fractured and shallow that there is no hope of recovery. He often quotes Thomas Jefferson, as being somewhat cynical about how long our democracy can realistically last. So I looked up some of what Mr. Jefferson wrote as he watched this new government forming. Here are a few of his thoughts….
We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Only 57.2% of US citizens voted in the 2012 Presidential election. Yep, “government by the majority who participate.”
Mr. Jefferson obviously couldn’t foresee the arrival of twitter and the instantaneous communication (or miscommunication) tools we have today. I desperately want to believe that there are enough concerned and committed citizens who truly look at the big picture, check the facts and listen beyond 140-characters. But I worry about that lethargy thing Mr. J described….
How can we educate a population that doesn’t want to be educated? And that’s not really a rhetorical question.