If the United States were to be a person… who would it be?
My guess is a sick crazy-person.
Crazy, because our societal nerves do not work. The Press:
the Newspapers, who do the deep reporting, are dying because opinions are free on the internet, and folks don’t seem to miss the absence of fact in our public discourse. And people will not pay for what is already free.
The press is the equivalent to a person’s nervous system. How one knows oneself.
And what sickness would the society of the United States, if it were a person, have?
Well, we act anemic, blind, schizophrenic, depressed and way out of joint. Our nerves are shot and we are addicted to some drug called blackberry, iphone, ipod, texting, tweeting, sports or TV.
What does that mean?
anemic because there is no blood surging in our veins ( call it income)
blind: because we have no vision.
schizophrenic: because half of us believe the other half is nuts and absolutely devoid of common sense.
depressed: not only because we have no vision, but the pres. and the press are telling us everything is swell when we know it is not.
out of joint: because the left hand cannot coordinate with the right. Is global warming real or not? Is it stimulus or deficit reduction? We fight two wars which are absolutely important on the other side of the globe while the war near our border in Mexico is not.
So the question is…. how do you treat a sick crazy-person?
I would say that you treat the crazy part first, or he will not accept treatment. What is that? To fix the press.
What is wrong with the press? It’s funding model has been broken and does not work. Why? It used to be funded by the display advertising model, and Google outdated that with its intentional marketing model. It works better to sell stuff. No problem there. The problem is that no funding has emerged to replace the missing display model funds, and there is no money to pay reporters to investigate unknown stories and dredge up new facts. Thus all we have today is the pander press, as old stories and trivia recirculate.
What would fix this? Simple. A free people must liberate themselves from a pun. Instead of considering the “free press” in the gratis column, the same as “free beer”, the people would hold to the same standard as colonists held themselves during Ben Franklin’s time and realize that a free press meant liberty (not gratis) and must be funded by a free people to the tune of $30 a month (That is the current value of the $1.50 a month the colonists paid.)
So simple. One half of a family’s internet bill to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) would go to pay for content…. $30/month. And recipients of pay for content would reintroduce the fairness doctrine, that requires an airing opposing views, so that we give up our current pathology of talking past one another and believing with conviction that the other half of America is dumb as a stump. Democracy will not work in the context of a mutual castigation society.
It is said the majority of Americans today believe we should receive better services and yet, are unwilling to pay for them. In our current formulation, there is no cost for being incoherent. None.
The Republicans want to fund two wars, extend the Bush tax cuts, and yet are not willing to extend unemployment insurance when roughly 20% of Americans are out of work. People must wait until the ripe old age of 18 before they vote, seeming because we do not let children make decisions of state. Yet when adults act as infants, and produce entirely incoherent positions, what are we to do?
And this is not to exonerate the Democrats who are equally incoherent in their positions, for example they too support a war in Afghanistan, apparently to give voting rights there for women in a population that is 80% illiterate and who live in a forth century goat herding culture in profoundly mountainous terrain, when we are firing teachers in our home states because we cannot afford to pay them.
But all this refers back to the press not functioning, because it is not reliably funded, and thus is pandering for eyeballs and wishes not to offend.
The truth shall set us free. Are we each, willing to pay for it?
I contend it must become the ethic of a free people to fund a free press.
That’s what I think. Do you have a better idea?