Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Foley, the media and politics

Right up front I'm going to state that what Florida Congressman Foley did is disgusting and wrong on every level possible. Like the movie stars who get caught doing drugs he has now checked himself into rehab. He can run, he can hide, but sooner or later he’s going to face the consequences of his despicable actions.

Unfortunately, his family will suffer the majority of the consequences of his arrogance in thinking he could get away with whatever he may have done be it just emails or more, and they'll suffer the consequences of his lack of character. His family will have to walk into their schools, neighborhood stores and churches and face the people he has let down. Some people will take their anger and frustrations out on the family. There’s going to be a lot of hurt that flows from his actions.

I could write an entire blog about his actions, character, etc. but the focus of this diatribe is the media and politics.

I hate how things like this are used, manipulated and twisted. How they are blown so far out of proportion it's virtually impossible to sometimes remember, or ever know, what the "original sin" was.

It's obvious, in my mind, that the timing of the release of this is a political ploy. I think we can expect more - probably from both sides of the aisle. Everyone holds onto the nasty things they've discovered so they can dump them into the public eye as close to voting time as possible.

What does this say about our political system? Our media? From the bits and pieces I’m hearing it appears that this was leaked to newspapers months ago. Why hold onto it until AFTER Foley had filed to run? Politics?

Is the media “in” on the manipulation? I know many outlets will hold news until they think it has the most impact. So what if young boys are possibly being subjected to unwanted attentions from Congressman? It’ll be a big story a month before the election; it’ll be a tiny story if we do it now.

I don’t know that’s what happened in this case, it’s just a possibility worth thinking about.

How are we out here in voter-land supposed to deal with things like this? The political parties put their party or personal agendas ahead of the voters and the public. They don’t seem to care that the growing negativity is causing more and more people to throw up their hands in frustration. Are they capable of thinking long term? Or is the goal to alienate as many voters as possible, keep the voting pool manageable?

I believe, along with a large majority of people, that we are headed in the wrong direction. The situation with Foley and all the hoopla surrounding it just highlights how far out of kilter our politicians and media have become. The very same people who thought Clinton could do no wrong, who support Ted Kennedy and others who have admitted to serious moral lapses are acting as though this were the most horrible thing that ever happened and they are indicting an entire political party. Consequences to the country, to the voters and to the young people who are opening their eyes to the possibility of getting involved, be damned. Win power at any cost.

In some ways their actions, arrogance and addiction to power mirror Foleys. He obviously put his own interests above those of his constituents and his family. I’m not equating the potential manipulation or abuse of children with the manipulation or abuse of voters, but if you think about it, there are some parallels.

What can we do as “little people?” We can’t or shouldn’t sit back and say “politics as usual.” It’s not politics as it should be. We can’t NOT vote. We can’t walk away and do nothing or the ‘bad guys’ win. Our children will suffer the consequences of OUR inaction.

There’s not a lot we can do if you look from the top down and start trying to solve all the problems with the media and/or politics. But if you just try to take on your corner of the world, you can make an impact. It’s the oft talked about pebble tossed into a pool ripple affect. You never know which of the people who you influence may just turn out to be the person to change the tide or save the day .

Our votes matter. Our involvement matters. You may only influence one vote, one action or one person. You may never see the impact of your actions. There’s a great commercial on television where one person does something nice for someone. Another person sees the action and they in turn do something nice for someone and the cycle continues. Of course, that's magnified and not quite the way things really work out here in non-tv-land, but our actions do influence others and often we are unaware.

Do your good deed, do what you can, make your corner of the world a little better. I promise, if enough of us wake up and do whatever little bit we can, sooner or later we will change the tide.

No comments: