Do As You're Sold, The Mindless Mantra Of America

In previous posts I have addressed both the issues of a poorly functioning democracy, as well as the distraction of the American Dream, the essential ingredient for said democracy to maintain power, without too much objection from its constituents. In modern day America the American Dream permeates every aspect of our daily lives. It affects where we live, how we live, what we eat, what we wear, watch, who we vote for....

It is all so subtle, yet forceful. It is called marketing, and everything today is marketed, tagged, and sold to us in bulk. We look to celebrities for fashion, T.V. for lifestyles, the internet for anything, and "experts" for politics. Nothing we see has transparency, and everything has fine print. Particularly politics. Take a look at the current primary running rampant throughout our country. Marketing 101 says that if you want your candidate to win, make the name a household name, don't get caught slandering the opponent (but do make sure they look bad), and in primary debates, always leave yourself enough wiggle room for a 'swing vote' addendum. Then we let the media control debates, interviews, and all manner of coverage to create the aura of unbiased expertise in all things political, very gently guiding the voters to view only the "most important candidates" when they are most polished. The seemingly open and lively debate has been successfully contained to lull the voter into their confidence. Then, at primary's end, the party's pet candidate strikes it rich in the electoral gold rush.

People are told that only thus and such candidate is likely to do well, and so they ought not waste their vote on someone less worthy. A president is born. Somehow, amazingly, we still believe that it was all our own choice.

Is it?

Americans are also sold on the idea that the changing of the guard means a changing of the times. In some cases this is true to an extent. When a president inherits a poor economy, and turns it around, this is a beneficial change for Americans. Others take a turn for the worse. Over a period of time, we are supposed to break even, but if you really crunch the numbers, our economy hasn't actually changed that much. It only seems different because of all the toys we buy that we are told we must have. We have more, but own less. We own less, and owe a great deal more. Enough about economics, and onward towards presidential policy making.

The American Dream of a non materialistic nature consists of the faith we have in our system. Presidents are limited to two terms, thus ensuring that we can consistently implement change when we need to, he provision that keeps our country from becoming a stagnant dictatorship. The fine print however, that one needs a magnifying glass to read is that a president's legacy can and does survive long after his term is up. There is a permanency to the acts, bills, and legislation passed under the watchful eye of a person destined to leave his mark on the free world. From Supreme Court Judges, to foreign policy, to constitutional amendments, the old president forces the new president to work in a hostile environment of policies they can't undo. This creates a backlash that forces would-be presidents of real change into presidents of "business as usual". Those who promised to usher in innovative policies find that those ideas are ushered out faster than a bum in a five star restaurant.

The moral of the story is that electing a new president, a party darling that has been inspected, boxed and shipped post haste directly into our living rooms, is about as reliable at initiating anything new as a product from "as seen on TV" commercials.

They simply can't deliver.

At this point in the game, between lack of choice, electoral college disingenuously electing presidents for us, and prepackaged deals that this new president must handle - we are being sold a non-salable, nonreturnable nightmare.

At least we have reality TV, half-hour sitcoms, and sports to keep us preoccupied while the Whitehouse is being occupied by the next available tenant, who is no better than the last tenant. What more could we expect from a country obsessed with consumerism?

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