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President Obama recently took to the media to condemn some of its practitioners.

Particularly the conservative media, which has been a thorn in Obama’s torso for a while now. It won’t stop. Rush Limbaugh is going to find a shadow to cast to the current administration. And the president will continuously brand the conservative media as enemy to progression in this country. Symbiosis.

Headlines all across the web yesterday:

Obama: Media to blame for promoting gridlock.

Shorter version: Politicians worry about their image, so they won’t work across parties to solve a common problem. They’ll do what folks in their circles would want to see so their sphincters can be spared of the big bad media. These people made me … and they can unmake me too, is the prevailing logic.

The metaphor is strong, eh?

Politics is a macrocosm of our personal lives. We identify with our crew. Stick to them. By them. Around them. We risk isolation by defying them … who wants that?

Elected officials are no dummy … well, let me start again. Elected officials do know one thing, if nothing else: how their bread is buttered. Congressional figures don’t last by bucking their plugs.

Which presents some grim math: The system as is encourages pols to cling to the special interests of their party. Public interest takes a backseat.

Not out the car, but away from the driver’s seat. And tried as true, there comes a time when the driver has to decide whether to let public interest take the wheel or keep her in the back.

In our personal lives, we’ve made certain compromises to our standards, generally on matters of love or money or love and money.

We relent to the smallest of compromises. No harm, no foul. No big deal. Until the next time. Then next. Then again.

A trend forms. The line between compromise and lie become nonexistent. We become adept at tailoring our words to massage truth as it serves us. All while telling ourselves, it’s for me and mine. my intentions are noble.

For many, it’s debatable whether elected officials have the best intentions at heart for the public. For a long time — some may say since inception — the political matrix has been a bed of schemes, manipulations and broken promises.

Certain populations are constantly in the crossfire. Rising college tuition, escalating student loan debt, antiquated school systems tee off on communities without proper armor to deflect blows and insufficient training to fight back. Minorities are exposed to the winds of legislative oversight, executive indecision and judicial indifference more than any other group.

The term news cycle indicates redundancy, a recurrence of events tuned to keep the political football in the air long enough to keep us from looking at the action on the ground.

The president is no fool. He knows that a growing part of his base feels this way. That’s why he has taken the first days of his second term to urge the media to be sensible in its coverage for the good of the country. To urge citizens to have the insight to know when they’re being swindled. To reiterate his purpose.

He has the right of it.

But his “wise words” have a double edge. He is a part of a party. A party who heeds a base just like any other party. A party that has built him up. A party that wants to push forward its own lens of governance. A party that is not without flaws.

At least he admits this much. “I’m not somebody — when I look back on American history — who believes that one party has got a monopoly on wisdom,” says the 44th president, first of direct African descent, later in the same interview.

Let’s see if that gets some play in the headlines.

7 Comments

  1. Whether you’re a politician, a manager, CEO, or parent, you generally have to make decisions that please everyone you oversea-across the board but at the same time be beneficial to you. Some people thought once Obama came into office it would be a brand new day for African Americans, like that scene in The Wiz when Evilline was killed & everyone rejoiced and danced in barley there loincloths! He isn’t the president of Black America only.

    I doubt many people *really knows/grasps how politics actually works. We can complain that he, or any politician isn’t doing enough, but yet what are we doing? I think we are at a point where you have to put your faith in the *system* or abandon it completely. And when I say put your faith in it, I don’t mean sit idly by & twiddle your thumbs & wait for the best. Get involved. Start your own community organization or join local politions you believe in. The more noise you make the more people have to take notice. And you’ll also understand everything isn’t as black & white as it may seem. You sometimes have to get dirty in order to clean up.

    • The Comment

      Great comment. As a former reporter…I”ve see regular everyday people, who are passionate about civil politics, inspire others to join their cause; local school reform, outing mayors and demanding proof of payment for city services.

      Those little things eventually add up to make or break a community. I could go on and on but your comment was by all accounts fair and balanced…

    • Agreed.

      Singing… “Can you feel a brand new day”

  2. The citizens have to put the politicians feet to the fire. The job isnt over after you cast your vote, and the media, both sides can not be trusted to do the work for you. The problem is how do you keep the people objectively informed.

    • dirtychai

      Exactly. The media has helped to shape the red vs. blue climate in this country by catering to certain emotions and bending under the economic pressures of ratings and the need to entertain, rather then truly inform. I swear — I feel like cable news has more pundits on staff than actual journalists.

  3. I was reading an entertainment blog this morning and the story was about a 15 year old who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant and this 15 year old had the rare opportunty to have performed with her high school band in the innaugaration parade, she was from Chicago. What was interesting to me was the blogger had such negative things to say about the President in reference to how he spoke out about the gun violence when it effected Sandy Hook Elementary, the blogger (black but not American) all but called the President an uncle tom because THEY don’t THINK he is going to have anything at all to say regarding this recent shooting, and just browsing over the comments, there were just as many negative ones as the blog itself. My question is, why can’t WE give the Pres a chance, just as we have given others(Pres’ Clinton)? Are we treating him differently because he’s black?

  4. I think it’s true that most politicians capitulate to public opinion rather than to facts and statistics. However, a true leader will buck the trend and do what is good for the country. That’s how the New Deal was created. In spite of helping to lead the U.S. out of a depression, Roosevelt was vastly unpopular with many, including the very rich. But he did what he had to do. I feel Obama has to do the same. However, things are not as cut and dried as it was in Roosevelt’s day. With the onslaught of social media, play by play legislation is accessible to everyone and can stall the process rather than help it, especially when the media is acting as an instigator whose sole purpose is to secretly uphold the ultra rich’s agenda. People then fall prey to the red herrings thrown by the media, and fail to support key initiatives that will actually make life better for everyone. It’s a double-edged sword nowadays.

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