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Nov-27-2008 02:07TweetFollow @OregonNews
Op-Ed: Responsible Revolution
By Henry Clay Ruark for Salem-News.com
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Few citizens in our United States completely comprehend how thoroughly corporate control has infiltrated governance, and how it deprives them of treasured Constitutional freedoms.
Apathetic, uninformed acceptance of supposed “the way it is”-status is the stunning reflection of WHY so much, for so many, goes so thoroughly wrong --when it truly didn’t used to be that way.
How did this happen to us?
We became too occupied with our own personal “pursuit of happiness”, however configured. We failed in those citizen responsibilities made completely clear and workable by our Founding Fathers. Not only did our “free press” fail to fully and probingly inform us, but we failed ourselves in allowing corporate takeover of too many once-free press and broadcast channels to occur.
It is that realistic fact-of-life now depriving us of our American right --and Constitutional necessity-- for deep, broad, well-delivered understandings. Without knowledge of our options we are badly handicapped, vulnerable to even more disasters.
We must pay broad, probing attention to what government does and does NOT do. We get what we deserve, earned by our citizen vigilance and surveillance or its lack. We must listen, watch, read and learn from our responsive media. Then we can closely surveil not only politicians, but those providing massive monies.
They do so only to shape once-democratic activities for their private purposes. We can force potent, powerful changes for our public-opinion/forming system, when we use our massive consumer-power. We can shape up --and definitely shake up-- every commercial marketplace in our society. We must start with our press/broadcast system, now captive to overwhelming impact of its money-driven motor: Advertising. Ownership “payroll power” drives chosen content, in both print and broadcast. That shapes how it is then covered, to what depth and detail; seldom, now, as demanded for citizen understanding and action.
Payroll depends on profit, hinging on advertising,now diminishing in volume and collections. Corporate ownership “calls the shots” by that “normal threatening situation”, the paycheck: Why are we so surprised to find most newsroom denizens so aware of that reality?
They well know advertising must support it all. Wall Street stock-price/levels shape owner asset value for every corporation. Those values determine salary-and-bonus for everyone --especially in all communications enterprise.
Those levels are distorted by many components, including manipulation by merger or take-over. Such acquisition seeks only short-term nurture, then milks huge pay-offs from pension funds to sales of subsidies and sections. It is called “extractive investment” vs long-term development for honest productivity via proud product achievements. That’s what now drives corporate decision affecting all from minimum wage to healthcare or its absence.
We know from Enron and other painful lessons that those numbers can be easily manipulated and often are so “managed”. The current financial crisis once again clearly demonstrates that shameful circumstance.
Advertising income shapes profit expectation for our vaunted “free press”, both print and broadcast. Subscription or other income is immaterial; ads are the foundation for all press/broadcast operations. Advertising at high levels is absolutely essential for press and broadcast survival, much less any further “advance”.
SO to affect owner/shareholder behaviours we need to impact that advertising income. The best way is constant, compelling --but CIVIL-- contacts with corporations dependent on advertising for potential profits. The buying public has right at hand “all the potent UN-purchasing power” it will ever need to demand attention and rapid action.
We should put that massive/muscle into operation, via responsible civil communication with those peddling products by affecting advertising purchase in every channel, both print and broadcast. We need to report, confirm, document and detail what we experience via media performance or its lack. That includes poor performance on Constitutional obligations to inform citizens in depth and detail.
We need to stress how that affects what we honestly learn --and thus come to believe as political motivation-- on every issue, event, and problem Then we can make sure they know what we will purchase -- OR NOT-- as their case may call for. We have every right to demand demonstrated responsibility and accountability for continuing use of our mutually-owned broadcast spectrum.
“Commercials” cannot sell products without these channels. The corporations live only by commercials driving consumption. Profit and corporate existence depend on the flow of advertising. Yet every commercial is truly provisional, appearing only because we permit it on OUR-owned channels, and corporations control those channels, by gift ofCongress to the broadcast-facility owners.
License-and-regulation are distorted by corporate pressures to fix and fill their own needs. Never forget that system depends on spectrum license of channels --owned by every one of us mutually- for its very existence it must “operate in the public interest”; that was long ago determined by Congress, but has never been truly enforced.
Responsible citizen action with truly civil approach creates solid impact and increasing participation by millions of deeply-concerned Americans. That can soon be forcing further progress in a “reversed American Revolution” -- this time aimed at enemies-within.
We still control Congress by our votes. The Nov. 4th transformative election has again proven that fact, fundamental for millions now awakening from apathy. We can shape Congressional legislation by civil, very insistent communications power, with proven potency. Those motivated millions of new voters will be demanding remediation of surely now-”unsustainable conditions”. That’s WHY they registered and voted.
The explosive motivating force behind every successful revolution is that awakening of deeply frustrated humans seeking solid remediation. Without doubt, it drove our first American Revolution.
The same force will motorize and massively strengthen the coming second one. Our “transformative” Presidential election on Nov.4th 2008 surely reflects precisely the wit, wisdom and, unmistakably, the WILL of our American people. That huge working mandate becomes the most potent political tool President Obama must use.
He now has a well-strengthened - and also well instructed, newly reshaped Congress to help. We cannot afford to wait any longer before we put into process this new American Revolution, promising new transformative process worthy of our first one. Those “black arts” used for “dirty tricks” can easily be turned into the weapon for their own destruction...if we will only exercise wit, wisdom and the indomitable American will.
We have the new tools, and the new understandings by millions more are growing every week in multitude ways and channels. What will we do with this opportunity “to begin again the transformation initiated in 1776”? Stay tuned -- the future you may affect may well be your own.
Henry Clay Ruark is the one of, if not the most experienced, working reporter in the state of Oregon, and possibly the entire Northwest. Hank has been at it since the 1930's, working as a newspaper staff writer, reporter and photographer for organizations on the east coast like the Bangor Maine Daily News.
Today he writes Op-Ed's for Salem-News.com with words that deliver his message with much consideration for the youngest, underprivileged and otherwise unrepresented people.