by JOHN CASHON
The 2012 Election has reached a new low and moneyed interests are pulling all of the strings. A narrative has been created that resembles nothing near to the truth. A narrative that has expatriated a President, mischaracterized long held liberal beliefs as a foreign invader and told half the country to forget everything they have learned and believed because they were wrong. A narrative that has been rewriting history for ulterior motives.
For what? To win an election or to change long standing law? Total control of the government institutions or better yet, dismantling them and leaving only a shell where our government stood?
Politicians and their operatives are showing a blatant disregard of the truth and it has become common during this election. Their talking points are not spin anymore, and when confronted with indisputable evidence from a video or a direct quote displayed before them from an earlier time, they continue to tell the lie with that knowing, mischievous smirk. Just win at all costs is all that matters.
There are two groups in our country. One highlighting the hopes and goals of everyday people that need nothing more than a days work and spending time with their families, with no aspirations for becoming rich. A living wage is one of their main requests, because they are already rich with what they were given.
With the poor and the middle class, there is a real fear of being one sickness or accident away, even with insurance, from losing everything and going bankrupt. This causes a lack of security and keeps them from taking risks for a better life, especially when their insurance is tied to their work, because it is too expensive to buy insurance outside of the workplace.
The other side includes those who believe to be truly American, one should be able to strive to rise as high as they can in society and wealth, without government interference. It is their highest ideal. Business works best when there are no hindrances from regulations, and banks work best when they are allowed to gamble, without restrictions, the pensions and investments of the masses for the sole purpose of becoming larger and larger to be able to buy out all of their competitors. The too big to fail controversy was unfortunate, but they promise it will not happen again. It was just a few bad apples.
Unfortunately, many of the far right have begun to take a new path, and fact checking and history are no longer required. Their blatant disregard of the facts and the fact checkers boggle the mind with how this has become possible, but there it is, occurring every day. It is curious that there has not been a bigger push back from the news services to counter this tactic of refusing the truth.
So what you get is a large group of the electorate that is continually getting misinformation and propaganda, but the worst part of all of this is they tell their friends, and they, in turn, tell their friends. You get the picture.
Politicians have grown unconcerned when their facts do not agree with history. When they are not held accountable for the facts, what reason would they have to worry. Also, partisan rewriting of history has become the new fad, but hopefully one that will be squashed as ineffective for winning elections, but for this to happen, the citizenry has to be notified to what is happening.
One would hope that historians across the nation would stand up together to expose this practice, but unfortunately, they have not united with one voice against this misrepresentation of history. Some are influenced with their own political motivations and can be affected by politics as well, causing them to turn a blind eye if it helps the candidate they support. They are human, after all. However, you can become your own historian and find out the truth for yourself.
First of all, pull yourself away from the 24 hour news cycle mindset and look at everything with a bigger lens. By looking at the big picture instead of single occurrences over a time-frame, the picture becomes more clear. Be concerned with the sources you are reading, even though you agree with the viewpoints expressed, because there are many biased news articles on many news sites today, so one point to remember is that with news articles, it is much easier to dig for the truth when you only need tweezers instead of a shovel.
Historians are all taught that being objective is the most important goal while doing research. You have probably heard the expression that history is written by the victors, and you will see there are times when the winner of an election will declare a mandate and rewrite history by overlooking their negative campaigning and only highlighting their accomplishments or inflating their numbers.
When reading an article, listening to the radio, or watching the news on television, verify if the information is from primary sources. For example, someone that was a witness or a participant of an event would fall into this category. Someone that heard about an event from a friend or family member would be a secondary source and not as reliable as evidence, but second or third hand accounts or those just giving opinions can be used for anecdotal thoughts, reactions or comparisons.
If a news article shows no attempt to hide their partiality, this does not always mean nothing interesting can be found. This is a great way to research how both sides are coming to their conclusions, and this can be important to understand their rational. Compare the similarities and the differences of opinion from both sides and try to determine if they are trying to mislead the public or if what they are saying is only half true.
When you are done researching the topic, review all of the different viewpoints and try to do this as an outsider looking in, making a conscious effort to remain as neutral as possible. Determine what the evidence is telling you and build your own narrative of the facts.
It is very similar to what an investigative reporter would have to do while interviewing and researching a story. Objectivity can be seen when a story shows, accurately, both sides of the story so that the reader can make their own interpretations. It gives the story credence and allows the reader to follow up and review the sources to verify the writer's facts.
Historians are mostly like detectives though. They have to build timelines, look at the context of what is being said and done that could affect the narrative, and most of all, the witnesses and sources must be credible.
A lot is being said and done today against the public interest and the culprits have been stealing our history for their own political or nefarious reasons. Can you solve the case?