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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Goodbye, MSNBC

Once a haven for those of us with a more progressive political mindset, MSNBC now seems to have capitulated to its corporate handlers. I suppose it was inevitable, but I mourn the passing of this last holdout in the mainstream media's race to the bottom. 

Today, we learned that yet another voice has been silenced. Melissa Harris-Perry released an e-mail message she wrote to her team on Friday.  (link)

Harris-Perry states: "I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work." 

Guess what, MSNBC? There are millions of us who want to see a return to that kind of integrity in journalism. Millions who will not settle for the few crumbs that are being thrown our way in an attempt to keep the ratings up. Millions who have now touched that dial and tuned you out. Your "Lean Forward" meme has become a joke; you're becoming just like everybody else. 

I admire what Harris-Perry has done. I wish that more of her colleagues, many of whom I respected, many of whom have apparently bowed to MSNBC's directives, would do the same.

While I'd like to see another broadcaster fill the void that MSNBC has left, I don't believe that in our corporate-owned condition, this is even possible. Journalistic integrity has been shifted to the minor leagues, and those who have respect for the ones not afraid to speak truth - and the venues that encourage them to do so - have left. 

Endings are hard for me, so I've held out for awhile - but this latest move is my personal last-straw moment. 

(Rachel Maddow, I'll definitely miss you)

Goodbye, MSNBC. 

Relevant article links:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Five Years Later: Reality Show Politics

It's been a long time coming, but today, I climb back onto my soapbox. God help us all :-).

In the years since 2011, when I first began this blog, Scott Walker has won two elections. President Obama was resoundingly re-elected. A do-nothing Congress has blocked his every effort, and continues to do so. Despite this, our country has continued to recover from a near-depression. My beloved Wisconsin has continued to devolve, as have all ALEC-controlled states. The spirit of the Wisconsin Uprising is still strong, which gives me hope that We Shall Overcome. Young people are beginning to pay attention and realize that the political system really does matter, that it impacts each one of us every day, that when they band together, their voices are POWERFUL.

On a personal level, I have lost two deep relationships, both breasts to cancer, my mind a couple of times, and several beloved friends and relatives. I've gained three more grandchildren and have another due in eight weeks. I live in a lakeside apartment with a happy little dog, a guinea pig, and a talking parrot for company. I am in a relationship with a good man.

Overall, again on a personal level, the joys have exceeded the sorrows. My life is in a pretty good place right now.
Enter Donald "You're Fired" Trump.

A year or so ago, I would never have believed that the Trump candidacy would have gained such a strong foothold. We are so much better than that, I thought. No reasonable person could support him, given his history of failure, his chameleon-like "principles", his hateful and divisive rhetoric, his childish bullying of anyone who dares to challenge him, his blatant narcissism. Or so, innocently, I thought.

Yet, like lemmings rushing to the sea, millions are following this man whose talking points lack any semblance of underlying substance. Millions of our fellow citizens are revealing a shocking (to me, at least) intolerance in a country that was built, at least in principle, on acceptance of diversity.

The more I struggle to understand this phenomenon, the less comprehensible it seems. I have come to the conclusion that it took a labyrinthine conglomeration of factors to create this heinous monstrosity. I seriously doubt that we will see an end to the mindless, heartless, immoral and authoritarian mentality that has overcome so many, at least in my lifetime. (Yes, I hope that I am wrong!)

We have become an international laughingstock. We have sown, and reaped, the disdain and hatred of those whose lives we have despised and destroyed both domestically and abroad. A Trump presidency - which is increasingly looking like a real possibility - would most certainly validate both of those sentiments toward our nation.

I hope and pray that it doesn't come to that.  And yet, if Trump actually gets elected, perhaps his supporters' eyes will be opened and we can get to work on the issues that truly matter: those related to how we as human beings can stop destroying our planet and one another.

Would a Trump presidency be a disaster? OF COURSE. Perhaps, though, that disaster would enable the crucial changes that the lesser evils we've fallen victim to have forestalled.