Cleverly, mass media has turned our attention away from the political rift turning Democratic Party members against each other. This is the purpose of these campaigns: for all members of the Party to come to an accord on their collective vision; however, the ideological nature of the political process is hidden behind the shadow-like quality of political personas that are cast like holograms through millions of TVs. The politician spends weeks preparing for the debate, doing research into public opinion to fine-tune her costume, preparing the script for the performance she only has to play once. Even though politicians only adopt this persona in public events, it’s all they let the public see of themselves, and the manicured images are preserved in millions of brains and hard drives. Thus, controversy ensues.
Back in March, Hillary Clinton asked congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, to condense the debate line-up; Clinton felt that everyone really agreed that she was the nominee and that everyone was of a mind. She really did expect to cruise through the primary, and so did all the aristocrats. As Frank Herbert says, “Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat.” Most of these “closet aristocrats”—the shadow organizations who decide elections under-the-table and behind-closed-doors—do not see the common social reality. These establishment politicians have been enculturated within their Party through the shared myths that establish the Party’s identity and explain the Party’s connection to the public, to the collective social organism of our nation. The establishment has fictionalized the Public to fit us into the Party myths; as a result, Party members are serving their fictional public which they constructed to serve the Party’s interests. Our political system is verifiably a web of conspiracies.
Mass media has an inordinate amount of power in furthering particular realities or narratives. Being the fourth estate, mass media used to enjoy the full authority over the public construction of reality, being able to structure a narrative out of the news that is happening across the country. The internet was released to the public in 1991, and with it, the public became the fifth estate; once and for all, the individual became the force of creativity and social change. No longer can mass media peddle their narratives without the resistance of alternative perspectives.
The ethical principles of broadcast journalism used to be the main force that persuaded the television audiences to accept and trust the broadcast journalists. They didn’t have the technology to allow their audiences to take part in the shaping of the narrative, but the moral compass of pundits allowed them to serve the public. The decay of mass media can be directly correlated with the rise of the internet.
Even though most sectors of society accept the new social paradigm ushered in by the internet, there is still one sector that continues to operate in a pre-Internet mindset. Historically, government has been the realm of the second estate—the nobility—and we can clearly see the cultural remnants of nobility/aristocracy within our political system. The second estate which currently controls the government made the Citizen’s United ruling, and now the second estate has formed a bond with mass media. It would appear that the second and fourth estates have teamed up in their fight against the fifth estate. While mass media and government is explicitly meant to serve the public, the members of this government-media establishment are addicted to their power and want to suppress public opinion to cling onto power for just… another… few… years… They don’t want to be pushed into history yet.
This “yet” is important because the internet caused a paradigm shift of enormous dimensions, comparable to the invention of the printing press, and this change cannot be reversed. The first century of printed books are known as incunables, and they show the transition from hand-inscribed manuscripts and scrolls to the regularized style of printed text. We are at the transition from printed to digital text. At this moment in history, we have figured out how to adapt our literate education to a digital environment. Digital forms evolve from print-replicas to computer-enabled forms, with video a common form for how-to guides. There is no return to the typewriter’s infallibility. The current government-media establishment will lose and step off into the history that they created, and the government will be rebuilt as a reflection of the American people.
Lawrence Lessig, a Democratic presidential candidate, has a great idea about how the government can shift their focus back to the public. There is a guide for how the government should represent the people, called the US Constitution. Lessig thinks that our government should call for a constitutional convention so that politicians and constitutional lawyers can reinterpret how the constitutional frame can be updated to acknowledge the public’s increased power to shape reality, to force the government to submit to the public’s will. You might not have known about Lessig, since he didn’t appear at the first Democratic debate. He did appear on Real Time with Bill Maher later that week, and he tried to explain why he was left out of the debate. He said that the DNC required that he raise enough money and have 1% of the votes in six polls prior to the debate.
Sounds reasonable enough, right? Lessig only ran because he made a pledge to enter the presidential race if he raised one million dollars in a month. He is a noted scholar and a Harvard professor of constitutional law—a brilliant man with a large following in academia. You could compare him to Elizabeth Warren, except that he wants to focus on the constitutional frame of government rather than on the political structure. Suffice to say, he would have made a great impression at the debate. Webb and Chaffee were let in, so that means they met the requirements. Doesn’t it sound like those two would have fewer supporters than an academic celebrity? I must be lying about Lessig if Webb and Chaffee were let in over him. Right?
Unfortunately, the DNC dropped Lessig from their polls three weeks before the debate. When Lessig mentioned this, Bill Maher told him not to make it into a conspiracy like Webb was doing about how he didn’t have enough time to speak. I’m sorry, by I think being allowed on stage is a different thing than being blocked from the stage by the insider politics of the DNC. Maher is a firm Democrat, so he’s going to keep spinning the narrative that he really digs Sanders but that the Democratic Party is so wonderful, and Maher isn’t wrong when he says that a lot of Lessig’s platform is covered by Sanders, but Lessig’s plan for a constitutional convention is uniquely his. He is running because his friends and fans like his ideas and want him to work in the government. He’s basically running to get a cabinet position, and the Democrats should be hungry over the ideas he is proposing.
I think that the DNC and Wasserman Schulz were scared of Lessig’s intelligence and conviction, so they shamelessly censored his voice by circumventing the law. A criminal investigation needs to be conducted to establish the process Wassermann Schulz used to silence a presidential candidate. If Webb or Chaffee had been excluded, there would be valid reasons—neither comes off as a democrat or has a place in the Party. But the Democrats were supposed to be the Party of the smart people. The Democratic Party should embrace Lawrence Lessig as a contributor to the discourse which is defining the Party. In fact, most of the members of the DNC do believe that these non-establishment candidates should be treated fairly.
The infighting over the debate line-up has been escalating over the weeks while Wassermann Schulz has become more defensive. She claimed to have consulted with her vice chairs, but these congress members have come out publically to discredit Wasserman Schulz. Deb Kozikowski, vice chairwoman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, even went so far as calling the current chairwoman a “dictator.” These members of the DNC believe that Wasserman Schulz is doing everything in her power to help Clinton reach the White House.
There is a mutiny within the DNC, as more people are challenging the dictatorship. I think this is a clear sign that the Democratic establishment has become aristocratic, and they are creating their myth of destiny to gain public support so they can continue their operation as-is. Aristocracy is different from democracy, so the Democratic establishment has created their own fictional form of democracy in which the public wants what is most expedient for the establishment, for the whole percent of people who are afloat in a bloated system.
The Party has been decaying for some time. Frank Herbert explains the inevitable corruption of politics: “Power bases are very dangerous because they attract people who are truly insane, people who seek power only for the sake of power.” There is a reason the President has a term limit. The incredible power the high offices have to create reality leads to corruption when the politician fails to represent the public. If we let the internet merge with the government, then the government will have greater access to the public, and politicians can know more about the people they’re supposed to be representing.
Our current establishment always does its real work in the shadows. Public appearances are focused on appearance and style, as mass media focuses the public’s attention. The government and media have been practicing this game for a long time, and no one profits more from Super PACs than these network channels with all their advertisements. The rise of partisan political networks has furthered mass media’s propaganda caricature, as these channels tell the narratives in which they still have the same amount of power to determine which reality we live in. These are greedy goblins clinging onto the establishment’s foundation, but if they look into the future, they will see that they need to fade away for progress to occur.
The government-media establishment wants to slow the pace of change, but we’re coming out of a major paradigm shift and trying to come to a consensus with each other about what reality is now. Sorry, establishment, but you’re old and your voters are dying. In four years, enough Republican voters died to let the newcomers mutiny and now the establishment is sinking. Isn’t it logical that the same forces whittling the GOP away are at work within the Democratic Party as well? We are actively revising the government to include a system of representative democracy that fell off the system a while back.
The people want nothing but democracy, and the Party myths have deluded the establishment politicians to the disappearance of democracy. In reality, the Democrats are oligarchs who represent the aristocrats who finance their campaigns. Politicians really are pro athletes in their shadow reality, but they’re so enculturated they can’t see how reality could be anything different. The extreme example of Wasserman Schulz, who represents the DNC, proves that we cannot allow the establishment’s game to continue. We need to elect someone who will emphasize the democracy in Democrat, and that is Bernie Sanders.
For now, the establishment hasn’t quite figured what to think about Sanders. They are so fixated on the fantasy scenarios of their Party myth that they thought the first debate was between Clinton and Biden. It is clear that the establishment thinks they are the ones who hand-pick their nominees. The question of democracy is: should we accept the establishment’s dictatorship or should we demand that we be allowed to vote for the Democratic nominee?
The establishment will fade away and change will come, so the question is if we want change now or in another four years, or eight… We’ve seen House of Cards. We know politicians are villains. I would say that establishment politicians are villains, since their myths are built to convince them that they are the good guys. If they were doing good, they wouldn’t have to be reminded of it. Heroes are the ones who act for change and judge their success by what they’ve accomplished. While Bernie Sanders tries to spread the light of truth across our great nation, the establishment is trying to cram yet another skeleton into their closet.