Sunday

Jedi Mind Tricks And Social Media

Wandering away from my usual topics for a moment, remember the scene in the original Star Wars movie where our heroes are stopped by an Imperial Trooper and old hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi waves his hand and said "These are not the droids you are looking for"? The Imperial Trooper suddenly looses interest and lets them go, and Kenobi then explains to a puzzled Luke Skywalker that "The Force" can have influence over weak minds. This so-called "Jedi mind trick" seems to have become even more popular with politicians of late; just say something that you know is not true and charm your way out of it.



Politicians as a group are considered by many to be if not habitual liars, then at least people who say whatever is expedient at the time to further their agenda. However, they seem to forget or ignore that these days we have widespread means of catching these deceits, through easily-searchable databases, YouTube video clips and so on. Social media (I am using that as a catch-all term for the Internet and Facebook, Twitter and so on) has the ability, or at least the potential, to offer some kind of checks and balances to all this hogwash.

Possibly the most well-known recent example of such deceit is probably President Obama's oft-repeated statement about the Affordable Care Act; "If you like your health care plan...etc". But there are so many others, cutting across party lines, that it really seems as if we are being governed by sociopaths, who are completely contemptuous of those they are supposed to serve. 

And that is an important point that seems to get lost these days, they (government employees) are called "public servants" for a reason; they are not our "rulers" - that is one of the main reasons the United States of America was started, to get away from the notion of rule by a monarch or other tyrant.

The flip side of the widespread availability of social media is twofold; first, there is so much distraction via kitten videos, or friends posting photos of their breakfast, that we are probably not paying much attention to the "boring stuff" of politics and governmental hijinks.

Secondly, the political parties are jumping on the social media bandwagon themselves, and creating so much "noise", it's sometimes hard to know what is going on - even if you know what you should be looking for.

I realize people are almost always dissatisfied with their government, it's human nature to gripe and complain; and yet the rather blatant deceit and manipulation that is going on in the modern era is hard to accept; "I am not a crook"; "Read my lips, no new taxes"; "I did not have sexual relations with that woman", the NSA surveillance activities, etc, etc.

It's just tough to watch as the "great experiment" of a Constitutional Republic seems to be faltering, winding down, finally succumbing to those who are no longer trying to keep the original premise alive. Bummer.

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