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just the factions, ma'am
just because they want to divide us doesn't mean we can't get along
by jeffrey d. walker
11.13.00
pop culture

We live in a world filled with factions.

I realize that Intrepid Media is not only available, but also read, on a worldwide basis. While some factions are global, like Catholicism, Judaism, and Microsoft®, others are wholly contained within regional borders. As I am fairly ignorant of the social, political, and other divisions as they exist outside of the United States, I will not attempt to write about them. Still, those of you who aren’t from here will probably be able to transpose your similar delegations with those I speak of here. While some places are worse than others, I don’t believe Earth has a “Utopia” as of yet.

At the time of this column's publication, the year 2000 elections in the United States will be decided and over with. A new president-elect will have been decided, and I’ll have a break of at least a few months from political advertising, popularity polls, and nightly debates on every other cable channel every night touting the respective pros and cons should a particular party gain control.

And for this I say, hallelujah.

Times like this drive so many wedges between and among our society, it’s a wonder we're all still speaking to each other.

“The Republicans want school children to starve.”
“The Democrats want everyone in jail set free.”
“The HMOs want to deny you coverage.”
“Iraqis want to bomb America.”
“Dr. Laura wants to light homosexuals on fire.”
“Cops want to arrest YOU.”

Really? Are all these things I hear on the news and in the magazines and on talk radio true?

No. Of course they’re not. Each of the above statements only have validity if you look at them through very narrow viewpoints. (With the exception of the last one; if you are a quite enlightened person who enjoys kidnapping children in your spare time, the cops still want to arrest you).

But honestly. The things you hear about different clusters of society are only myths. Yet it's easy to fall into the traps.

Think you’re immune? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Did you watch the presidential election and groan, curse, raise your fist, or at least grit your teeth a little at something one of the candidates said?
2. Have you ever wished death to the referee who made a call against the sports entity you pull for?
3. Ever been angry at a police officer who gave you a speeding ticket, even though you were clearly speeding?
4. This next one is divided up depending on your gender:
a. Men: Ever tried to start a car by merely turning the key or push the on/off button on a devise to see if you can make it work immediately after a woman just told you that it wasn’t working?
b. Women: Ever pick out a man’s clothing for him, or suggest, “Maybe this tie would look better”?
5. Do you hate Dr. Laura?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ve fallen prey to the rhetoric. (And if you didn’t, you may be patting yourself on the back now, but I bet I just haven’t asked the right question to expose you).

But don’t feel bad. It’s all based on fear. Fear that you're wrong. Fear that you're not in control of your situation. Fear of losing what's yours. And fear is a powerful tool that politicians and the media use against us every day.

Why? Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. Fear causes people to fight with both strangers and loved ones. Fear can elicit screams, sweat, and sometimes even bodily fluids. And fear gets people’s attention. If it didn’t, they’d quit making those “Scream” and “I know what you did…” movies once and for all.

Many groups, both political and otherwise, use “scare tactics” to get what they want. Over the course of this year’s political campaign, Democrats claimed that electing Republicans would mean the diversion of Social Security funds, leaving the current elderly population out in the cold, with a health care plan that wouldn’t cover their medical expenses. The Republicans, said the Democrats, only care about corporations. And the Democrats, said the Republicans, would overtax you, and take away your right to choose your doctor in favor of a large federal health plan bureaucracy. Actually, all bureaucracy will be growing, and the “big government” would make all your choices with your future and your money from now on.

And they’d take away your firearms, too.

I’m only using politics as an example because it's current. Tons of organizations use these tactics. And while it's great to have your opinion, it's equally important to separate reality from fear-making overstatements. Political officials aren’t looking to exclude anyone; they work hard to find careful answers to convoluted issues, the better to avoid making enemies. Sometimes, however, to achieve the necessary authority, they resort to scare tactics. Often they do this by insisting that the alternative, should you choose it, will "bring an end to society.” Just like the Church, who really wants the best for your afterlife, they just might have to scare you with the prospect of damnation. Just like pilots threaten to walk off the job, costing their company millions, if their contract demands aren’t met. Just like homosexual groups threaten boycotts of advertisers on the Dr. Laura show.

But Dr. Laura is trying to improve the morality of our society. Politicians honestly want to help citizens. Cops want all drivers to be free from danger. Referees want a game to progress fairly. (And men and women… well, they’ll always disagree on some things).

So what is the answer?

Did you really expect a severely underpaid Intrepid staffer to know?

Still, if forced to offer up my meager opinion, I suppose it's this:

Just because another’s viewpoint is horribly different from yours, that doesn't make it invalid. While it's important to work for what you believe is best, the person who is diametrically opposed to you is likely doing the same from their viewpoint. So while you may disagree, try to always remember to respect.

And stop listening to Dr. Laura.


ABOUT JEFFREY D. WALKER

A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker

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COMMENTS

adam kraemer
11.13.00 @ 9:33a

I'm thinking I may have a problem with the statement in paragraph 3. It just doesn't ring true.

jeffrey walker
11.13.00 @ 3:55p

Admitted, Adam. But you know as I know that these articles are due the third Friday of the month before publication. And I just hadn't been reading enough political "conspiracy theory" type novels to predict our current situation.

Honestly, did any of you see THIS coming?


jael mchenry
11.13.00 @ 4:46p

Nobody could've seen it. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Even conspiracy theory falls woefully short. I guess the Hallelujah is still pending. (Okay, add this to the list of band names should I ever have a band: Pending Hallelujah.)

adam kraemer
11.13.00 @ 4:47p

Actually, a heard a few predictions that Bush might win the popular vote and Gore the electoral. Did not see this coming.



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