• Reality; protection is a fundamental requirement
  • The elected officials dilemma
  • Politicians; not representing, but representative
  • Underneath everything are elections; the electoral system
  • Citizenship; to speak for yourself, you need others
Woven throughout the fabric of this work is an emphasis on the concept of protection, its meaning and key interdependence in both civic and electoral affairs.
In all its forms, the question of protection for whom and from what is pivotal, as is also the question of what happens in the absence of – or could happen in the presence of - such protection. In the arena of elections and electoral processes this chiefly means elected officials being offered crucial political protection by their constituents. However, the concept of protection does not and cannot end there.
We previously established that intrigues have come to dominate public minds and media and how essential it is that the citizenry is prepared to deal with these matters. Those in positions of authority or in the know that might have important information to share, or their platforms to lend must be made comfortable; and transparent. Therefore, the clear need for civic protection – and scrutiny - in these instances would be central to such preparation. However obvious this need is or should be, it goes mostly unacknowledged. On the very rare occasions where that’s not the case, empty lip service paid by those who preach but don’t practice ensures the point will be quickly forgotten.
The concept and reality of protection must also extend to an active citizenry that, while pursuing its goals, will be both protected - yet also restrained – by discerning fellow citizens. This will not only ensure safety for those speaking out, but also ensure the proper study and exposure of what might be unrepresentative or purposely radical discourse and demands.
Going back to our electoral sphere, we see that the methods for applying political pressure may change over time; but how the underlying forces elected officials face remain consistent. They have been documented throughout this work; starting with the video content Unbroken America.
In its modern form, these pressures are transmitted via the money media election complex whose first line of defense – and simultaneously offense - against those who both hold and seek office is unprincipled competition (or the threat of it) organized, sanctioned, or tolerated at the nomination level. This means that all elected officials are vulnerable to this “soft” form of intimidation and always have to worry; even if there are no skeletons in their closet.
These concerns place our immediate focus on the idea of protection from artificial, unprincipled electoral competition. Though these dynamics can operate along differing paths of purpose and hierarchy, it is always the true driving force in our visible political-civic system.
One level where this may play out is where hard truths, difficult decisions, nuance, and the possible need for sacrifice sits. This, as the endless list of unpleasant choices life often leaves us will always be fodder for simple demagogic tactics; and those willing to use them. For instance, elected officials’ fears of such unprincipled opportunism related to the closure of surplus military bases necessitated the creation of a commission - to both decide matters and protect officials. This is but one contemporary and illustrative case in point where “political courage” may create openings for ambitious political figures; making such courage something to be avoided at all costs.
Another level of the dynamic is the threat of more formal and hierarchally organized (though largely hidden) electoral competition executed against the unruly or undesirable; perhaps those unenthused about fundraising tasks or serious about exposing abuses. Redistricting such a person out of office is another quiet tool, albeit a more intricate one, at the disposal of those running the game.
However, in such cases, the taking of official, electoral action would be something of an ultimate “big stick” as the soft walk of deterrence - always present – makes drastic measures quite avoidable. On the rare to non-existent occasions where this may not be enough, the complex initiating and supporting active electoral competition, at the nomination level - where it will be unfailingly punitive and effective - is a relatively simple matter. Redistricting such a person out of office is another quiet tool, albeit a more intricate one, at the disposal of those running the game.
This should leave little doubt that anyone attempting to exercise genuine leadership - which mostly cannot avoid crossing the organized and motivated - will be left exposed and soon find they are under attack. With the people having with no defense against a multi-media onslaught of, unfounded or hysterical hyperbole, race-gives-boost-to-gop-incumbent-n1898230 “opposition research” - and no doubt much else - and the politician left with no protection, their taking a courageous stance is irrational.
Implicitly and explicitly documented throughout this work is the elected official’s dilemma; the lack of that visible and powerful constituency. This is a dynamic given little consideration by all those public voices “sharing” their displeasure; and certainties about a broken system. Given the many truths never sought - much less told – and the vast demoralizing and discrediting implications of their rhetoric, this represents failure of significant proportions.
Any realism applied to the issue would extract the simple truth; a citizenry that cannot be depended on to even conceive, much less create such outcomes exercises the height of an infantile ignorance by having any expectation that their “public servants” should owe or pay them any allegiance.
Also demonstrating the soft underbelly of the American people is their unfortunate and confused overemphasis on the presidency; something revealed by a very damaging contradiction.
Given the prevailing zeitgeist, with both the fact and imagery of President Kennedy its face, no doubt any poll conducted on the question would return overwhelming agreement that a courageous leader could expect difficulties that might extend well beyond the complicated politics of championing freedom and the people.
Yet, it is to the seeker and holder of this office in whom they continually invest their hopes; despite being able to offer nothing more than their mass, derivative vote. With ongoing “support” limited only to their “voice”, expressed through toothless and artificial arenas like social media and carefully orchestrated gatherings, we may have the stuff of hopes and dreams, but not of a protective constituency.
With a public unwilling, or unable, to consider such logic, broader consequences in terms of the character of those attracted to political careers and the vacancy of our electoral campaigns and system is missed. This our explains why our standard model of leadership never seeks to create the educational or practical resources that would produce the civic partnerships and protective constituencies that would ensure their promises could be kept; and elections made an effective means of control. As the people are incapable of demanding it, those now attracted to “public service” would never want it; another reason why leadership under prevailing circumstances is an absurd concept.
Either leading or following in these reflexive and unreflective footsteps is our “reform community” that time and again emphasizes leaders and leadership at the expense of visible constituency; the people. Whether it's their promise that public campaign financing will assure us great leaders or, their work to emerge and groom a “new generation” of leaders that will deliver us to yet another promised land - no consideration of these “facts on the ground” are ever mentioned; much less accounted for.
So, while the impossibility of effective and transformative leadership effecting or transforming anything without the people should be obvious, with the help of many, such a path somehow remains inconceivable to contemplate.
By what means are these dynamics of missed opportunity, unprincipled opportunism, delusion and distraction dependably delivered; or ignored?
Through our contemporary media constructs that, being quite undeliberative, make it simple for moneyed and agenda driven political forces - often operating with great cunning - to organize, or, simply use what exists, to promote whatever unprincipled opposition or superficial meme may be necessary to effect what they wish to effect.
This is done with the help of the unwitting sincere dutifully following the lead, or the many levels of actors and minions carrying forward their “disciplined messages” and, even the drowned out, neutralized voices of reason.
Too many fragments, operating through so many channels, will by both design and happenstance amplify and endorse emotionally infused memes, biased positions and, intentionally hostile candidates for office should it come to that. This reliably keeps the discussion away from anything real.
Regardless of one’s attitude towards voting, in our visible system elections are the ultimate channel for all of this activity. Therefore, what is crucial to understand is that the totality of these dynamics decides – controls – what is up for discussion in society.
So, though it may not seem obvious - and is paradoxical - it is a certain truth that our electoral system - even when there is no election in sight - decides what we are talking and caring about. The importance of this connection to our social and economic outcomes cannot be overstated and should be noted by all those who claim an attachment to the “truth” and are quite certain that “voting doesn’t matter”.
This brings us to the civic-social-citizenship side of the protection coin. Here, it is a fundamental necessity to identify the vital - though neglected - connections that will enable the engaged citizenry to create the practical, genuine safe space capable of counteracting the chilling effect. People must feel free - and be free - to speak their truth and get involved and this has been addressed. But, there is more, because even these stark realities can hardly do full justice to the harm and darkness the absence of protection enables.
This is why it’s been stressed throughout these pages that:
  • Under no logical or legitimate circumstances can the areas of political, social and civic matters be separated from matters of media
  • The power and influence of the protective constituency – should it be sought and assembled - would extend far beyond the realm of political/electoral unshackling described throughout these pages, though it will always be inseparable from it.
And, the central extension likely lies in the realm of relations between our people.
It should be unsurprising that in a world teeming with intrigues and distrust we would have a hard time finding proper focus as propaganda and spin - of ever more sophisticated and pernicious forms - do much more than divide a roofless house. They allow false, paid for social constructs to use ideas like group identity and mass victimization to drive complex, clouded agendas; while claiming to speak for others of that “community”.
The people of those communities – who see their lives and identities more broadly – and, inextricably linked to their country, will lack for organization and safety; whatever their majorities might be. The result; they are spoken for and cannot speak out against!
Even if only carried out by small, unrepresentative numbers of the disingenuous, deceived, or foolish - the same methods and channels that prank the rich potential of our civic-electoral sphere will be applied. The result - however misleading or imposed - will brand the citizens of the United Sates a divided people.
Under these circumstances it is a simple matter for genuine American ideals to be crushed while many unhelpful, un-American ones are promoted.
This makes it clear that protective dynamics of the visible constituency go much further than constitutional agents; elected or appointed. Just as the public domain that encompasses those of visible power and responsibility can never be made representative or responsive to the people without that assembled power and coherence, neither can the people be effective, and at peace with each other, without it as well.
Fortunately, simple actions based on simple and long standing facts accomplish both; simultaneously.
But, as charity begins at home, the citizenry – that seeks an end to the madness – must begin to demand and craft these outcomes for themselves and each other. A failure to do so will ensure their undoing, by their own hand.