Dirty, Rotten, Scoundrels

A few years ago I happened to see the movie Dirty, Rotten, Scoundrels the gist of which was a group of aging con artists combining forces to romance and eventually rob a wealthy woman.  It was quite entertaining and also very telling about how often alliances are formed out of a common desire to steal, discredit or undermine.  In this case I am referring to the mainstream American media and their equally underhanded counterparts in the United States Senate which many times respond to stories in the press like a puppy chasing its tail.


It is no secret that the media in this country has changed and that lust for popularity and creating their own storylines has replaced anything resembling the type of methodical, investigative journalism found now only on programs like 60 Minutes, the Newshour and Bill Moyers Journal.  Nowhere has this become more evident than from the moment President Obama took the oath of office.


I remember it distinctly because I was at the ceremony and after returning to the hotel and listening to the recap on the news; I wondered if I had attended the same event these reporters had.  The President was still making the rounds of the inaugural balls when his speech was being dissected as to what he said and did not say and of course the inevitable comparison to other inaugural speeches. To my mind, he could have stood on the steps of the Capital and recited the 23rd psalm, so great was my relief that George Bush was no longer in office, that this Jamaican/American who does not like cold weather, stood with the million other well wishers to let my President know, that by just being there, he embodied all my hopes and aspirations for the America I had known, but which had been hijacked and taken down a dark and narrow path.  The media didn’t get that, or maybe they did, but that story line wasn’t that compelling.


The media is after all skilled in extracting just the right sound bite and adding just enough to fan the flames of their own contrived story line, leaving most of us to wonder where these American people they are so fond of referring to actually live.  Nowhere has this been more evident than in the ongoing fight for healthcare reform. 


In recent days I have found myself humming Bob Marley’s “Ambush in the night” mainly out of frustration and realizing just how apropos his words seem, especially given the media’s all out onslaught to contrive and circulate bad news, without ever acknowledging the American people who are hurting who desperately need healthcare reform and who will bear the brunt of its failure, but who don’t have the energy to indulge in histrionics in order to get their voices heard. 

  “They say what we know
Is just what they teach us;
And we’re so ignorant
‘Cause every time they can reach us”
    I wonder if one of these conscienceless media outlets has spoken to someone who wanted to see a public option because their deductible is so high that they will never make it for the year,  as a result of which they will pay for insurance the entire year without the benefit of having it cover any of their illnesses.  I know this first hand because I work in healthcare environment.  It is not possible to present a balanced picture, or argue the minutiae of an argument without addressing the issue in its entirety.  There is no point in getting caught up in a debate over paper or plastic, when the goal is getting your grocery home. Competition has been the hallmark of the American society except when it comes to providing essential services to the American people.  Why isn’t the media looking out for our interest and asking the hard questions, do they think this is above our heads, do they think we are really that stupid?  I don’t even watch the news anymore because for me it is an exercise in frustration.  I am not invisible and will not be treated that way and until they acknowledge me and the fact that I know their ability for spin, they really have nothing to say to me. As upset as I am with the media, I am probably even more so with the United States Senate and at this point can say quite unequivocally I have no intention of supporting anyone with my vote or funds.  What has taken place over the past few months has been nothing short of a disgrace.  Republicans I understand, in my estimation they are the modern day Pharisees, so bound up in the law and maintaining their perception of the “status quo” i.e. their money, that they will go to any lengths including using people’s religious beliefs as a guilt trip to force them to vote against their own self interest in the name of god.    “Through political strategy
They keep us hungry
And when you gonna get some food
Your brother got to be your enemy”
 The Democrats are a whole other issue; these people had the power and let it slip because they couldn’t rise to the occasion.  The healthcare bill which would have lightened the load of so many people is now so watered down that it is essentially useless, due to the egregious behavior of some senators who have gone to great lengths to stop the President’s ambitious agenda.  One has to wonder how much of this is out of any real concern, or if there isn’t a racial underpinning to their foot shuffling. One cannot lose sight of the fact that healthcare reform has been attempted by several presidents and each time it has ended in failure.  Should President Obama manage to get this passed, this would be a major accomplishment, one that would certainly earn him a distinction and a place in history.  Human nature being what it is, that is a hard pill to swallow for some in the senate, who like former president Bill Clinton still have a problem with someone who looks like Barack Obama holding the highest office in the land,  instead of fetching coffee for himself as he suggested to the late Ted Kennedy. What better way to stall this president’s agenda that throw up all contrived arguments and delays so the media can trumpets how far the President’s approval rating has fallen based on their own assessment of the “American people” without stopping to make the distinction that what they are actually seeing is an overwhelming anger toward the Democrats for their failure to act, not our President who we not only understand, but fully support.  We also know fully that we elected a President not a King, who unfortunately has to work with a gutless, treacherous and ignoble lot who I predict will find one of their own to challenge the President for the White House in 2012. Personally, I don’t see why the President would run again in 2012 if this type of betrayal and treachery is what he has to look forward to.  He is a man who has a lot to live for, he has a wonderful family, the respect of a world that is also watching how he is being treated and rather than lay with the dogs of war, he should extract himself in a dignified manner, leave the mongrels to fight over the scraps and never, never, never give an interview to another news outlet.