Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Citizen Show

Recently, in the National Review Online, Ben Berger, an associate professor of political science at Swathmore College had an excellent, well-researched article on television and its effect on politics in America.

“Television,” he wrote, “makes us fat, lazy, inattentive, unsociable, mistrustful, materialistic – and unhappy…  It cheapens political discourse, weakens family ties, prevents face-to-face socializing, and exposes kids to sex and inures them to violence.”

But does it cheapen and weaken?  We Tea Partiers knew that Americans were becoming ever more distant from the political process.   Television was a medium the Liberals, with their ties to Hollywood, were experts at manipulating.   Television did, indeed, put a greater divide between Americans and the politicians they elected.  But newspapers and the radio had already been doing that for a century before TV became the most popular medium.  Did it weaken Conservatives, or did Conservatives just make weak use of television?

The same can be said of family relationships.  In my speech to the Tea Party, I warned that the key to Conservative power was the mothers of America.  They rule with iron rolling pins.  Moms decide when and where Dads, the more politically active of most couples, are going to spend their spare time, and usually the backyard lawn or the garage or the roof wins out over political meetings.

Couples with children are limited in their activities, unless those activities are child-oriented, such as soccer games.  Particularly on school nights, there’s really no place parents can go.  Would it be better if they read a book?  Certainly.  But a family is a social compact, and social groups frown on such individualistic activities as reading which takes the reader’s attention away from the social interaction.  Watching television, now that it exists, is something the family can do together.

Television, dominated by the Liberal Media, is a mighty foe that has succored at least three generations to its banner.  Not only is television the new family activity, it’s the great social connector on college campuses and workplaces.  American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are the prime-time conversation topic during breaks and lulls.  Let’s face it; it’s a lot safer to talk about who Simon gave the boot to than it is to talk about Obama giving Israel the boot.

Our Constitution notwithstanding, there’s an unwritten social rule about discussing politics, religion, or sex in public, especially in the workplace.  Average citizens sit stubbornly (or timidly) in their corners, unwilling to risk censure or open warfare and upset the status quo.   They have yielded to the recipe for boiled Americans:  inoculate them with entitlements like Medicare and Social Security (the Liberals know that the elderly are particular vulnerable), reassure them that it’s their own money that they’re getting back, indoctrinate the young in the glories of communism, add a dose of young pepper sprouts to mock, through the Media, any Conservative ideas, then throw in a healthy dose of intimidation through union thuggery, turn up the heat on violent demonstrations, then let the citizens stew until they’re tender and malleable and are too afraid to care what happens to their country.
Summer is coming and there are some simple things conservative citizens can do to help keep the tide turning in America’s favor.  Those who have the wherewithal to do so, like the Morristown Tea Party, can continue to hold public rallies, encouraging citizens to come out with their signs.

Families going on vacation with school-age children can choose to visit historic sites like Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Washington, D.C., with all its museums.   If you’re in the Northeast, you can take your children to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell, Boston and its environs to see the old North Church, the U.S.S. Constitution, and Plymouth Rock, as well as Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

New York City, of course, is filled with history, starting with one of the most famous of all the symbols of freedom – the Statue of Liberty.  You can take the kids to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and Federal Hall, where George Washington was first inaugurated as President of the United States.  And, of course, there’s also Ground Zero.
In the Midwest and West, you can take your children for wagon rides along the Oregon Trail, see the St. Louis Arch, and Springfield, Ill., where Abraham Lincoln practiced law.  If and when the flooding subsides, you and the kids can go for a ride on a paddle-wheeler and see how important the Mississippi was, and is, to America’s industry.  Or take a steam train ride into the Rocky
Mountains or climb Pikes Peak.

There’s also the Gold Rush country of eastern California.  The redwood forests of This Land is Your Land fame are just north of San Francisco, as is the wine country.  Yosemite National Park is a tourist-attraction favorite, and of course, there’s also Hollywood which, while grossly Liberal, has a history that’s pure made-in-America.

Parents must learn to become storytellers – American history storytellers.  You must be able to tell your kids the story of Paul Revere’s ride with drama and passion.  Take them to the Lincoln Memorial or better yet, the battlefields of Gettysburg and read the Gettysburg Address to them.  Or if they’re old enough, have them read it and look across that very wide field and imagine the battle on that hot, July day, countrymen versus countrymen, bullets flying and men dying for freedom.

Show them the U.S.S. Constitution and tell them the story of the Mayflower and the Speedwell.  Let them think over the dangers of making an ocean crossing in such a small vessel.  Tell them of everything the Pilgrims left behind and what dangers they faced as they stand at the lapping shore.

You don’t have to unplug the television from the wall, but you do need to unplug your kids from the television, the computer, and the Ipod once in a while and show them real life and the real America.  They may not like it.  They’ve been taught to regard history as irrelevant and uncool.  It’s up to you to reconnect them to reality and citizenship.

Meanwhile, creative conservatives have to do something about recapturing the medium from the enemy.  Rush Limbaugh has retaken radio.  Glenn Beck followed in radio and then retook television, at least for a while.  There’s also the new medium of the Internet.  With technology advancing, it’s possible for us to lasso this newest medium to our advantage with creative programming that will get the attention of young people. 

That is, if we can conquer our ephebiphobia.

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