Miley Cyrus! Okay, now that I have your attention, we can talk. What happened to the dream, the democratic experiment, that was the United States of America? Satire has become the most honest form of news, and politics are so destroyed that we vote for the lesser of two evils, evils that are so close in the running that flipping a coin wouldn't make you a bad person. I, like many others, have become so disenfranchised with my current government that paying attention to pop culture drama seems almost more intelligent by comparison. Escapism is as much a need to breath in a torrid existence of bile-filled party politics as it is simple enjoyment. The words written by the founding fathers are now used like religious doctrine; language penned to ensure liberty and peace is now twisted to cause hate, fear, and war.
An anonymously posted quote I have seen around the Internet -- "When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are ruled by criminals" -- stirs in my thoughts constantly. Who are we now: too proud to admit our failures, too entrenched in ego to see them, or too corrupted to care? We are given the gift of social media and an interconnectedness never before seen, but it is mostly squandered by the use of small strings of sentences explaining our current mood or activity. We are wasting its infinite potential to change our reality. The Commonwealth has a louder voice than ever before, but we use it to share simple joys for the most part -- rather than shouting our needs and expectations to those who plug their ears and blind their eyes from the pop culture spawned commoners. We are mighty in our connectedness, they fear us, but they rely on our short-term memory for their safety.
However, the Internet has a wonderful ability to document the past in a way that is at the tips of everyone's fingers. For example: A once-proud ruler of the United States said, "History shows that upholding universal rights is ultimately a key to success, prosperity, and justice for all nations." This was a quote from Obama to Chinese president Xi Jinping, telling China to release Liu Xiaobo from prison when he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. So, recently, Edward Snowden was nominated for this same coveted award and he is still hunted as a traitor by our government, which is headed by a president elected on the idea of transparency in the White House. Likewise, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years for a similar crime of spreading awareness of military criminal acts. These are people who shared information about wrongdoings by the government to its own people and those of other nations, leaving it as public knowledge, because they knew morality should stand hand in hand with serving the Commonwealth.
I am not saying we should all sit down and write a letter to our representatives; that is as old-fashioned and boring as sending a telegraph at this point. I am not saying we should stop listening to the music we like or watching the shows that comfort and excite us; that would be a waste of perfectly good storytelling. Instead, I am suggesting that you write a tweet posing questions or, better yet, demand change from politicians. We are already describing the wonderful sub sandwich we are devouring; it would take about the same time to find a senator's Twitter or Facebook page and ask what their stance on GMOs are or why Snowden is called a traitor when the information was not sold to an enemy foreign government but freely given to the people of the United States. I mean, Anthony Weiner showed us that they use their Twitter accounts personally, so they are bound to at least see our questions. If one person asks, another might behold your 140-character bravery and take action as well. This could lead to a rush of social involvement, help start the online revolution of information if you will, changing the American people from an attention deficit populous of whiny rascals to the debonair freedom fighters we think we are. And we won't even have to stop looking at pictures of cats with their faces stuck in bread.
Follow Adrian Louis Chandler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Adrian_Chandler