26 Days to go until election day here in the US, and I thought I should admit a cynical fear. To express this fear, it is necessary to remember that in the year 2000, Al Gore was told that, even though he had more votes than the other guy, that he still lost the election. ??? When this happened I really began to wonder just what was going on in America. At the time nobody really saw any difference between the candidates, and not too much was done to correct the voter fraud and questions surrounding the election. 8 years later and there is no doubt that the entire world would be a different place if (Nobel Prize winner) Al Gore would have been in the Oval Office instead of (can barely speak a sentence-stomp out the evil-doers) George “Dubbya” Bush.
The fear is that we may see a smiler event take place in less than a month. I believe that America wants a real change from the last 8 years of insanity and failure, I believe that only one of the two candidates is capable of making that change and that the other is just a cronie of the current administration. No one in this election year can say that there is little difference between the two candidates, and no one in America can ever again say that an election doesn’t really matter. I am not trying to sway opinions here on which candidate is better, but I am saying that, never again, should we be lulled into inaction and complacency. Never again should we, as a nation, allow ourselves to be swayed by misinformation, patronizing politicians, or dirty politics. We cannot afford to be fooled by dirty tricks, slander or lies. Now, I am not trying to say that any one of the current candidates is engaged in this stuff, but I am saying that we need to make sure our votes get counted. That is what this process is all about.
Thomas Jefferson said that he had great faith in the people to lead and govern themselves. To vote for their future. AS LONG AS they were INFORMED CITIZENS. We cannot direct ourselves, cannot govern ourselves, cannot make a wise decision if we are not well informed, if we are mislead by mischaracterizations, lies, slander, spin media, or any of the like. Biased media is fine, as long as it admits it is biased, but this is another issue entirely. The point here is that we need to be well informed to make intelligent choices. Another way to say this is that stupid people should not be allowed to vote. Now the problem is that we cannot take away anyone’s right to vote, so the only thing left to do to make sure that no stupid people are voting is to EDUCATE AND INFORM THEM. Lead a horse to water…hope it drinks.
The question here is, how do we inform everyone, if the media required to facilitate that education is not FREE?
How do we educate people and make certain that they actually know what is going on, if they have to pay for this information? This is one aspect of non-free culture that really disturbs me. You may say that everyone can afford a newspaper, but that is 1) not true and 2) not the point. Putting a monetary value on knowledge in this sense is the same to say you would rather people pay for their information than have the guarantee of a properly functioning democracy (or…that turning a profit and/or paying your dues is more important than the right to an equal vote, and a fair voting process). The capitalist model is not more important than the democratic one, and they are not inseparable despite what the majority of people in the United States assume on a barely conscious level. Now you have people that will, at this point, say that there is enough media spread out to make it accessible, and that there are ample movements to make knowledge as accessible as possible in the current pay-for-knowledge design that I should shut up. This is not the point. The point is that it is not free. IF YOU LIVE IN A NATION WHO’S PRIMARY FUNCTION IS DEMOCRACY, ALL THINGS REQUIRED TO FACILITATE A PROPERLY FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO ALL CITIZENS OF THAT DEMOCRACY AT NO COST. This means free. Free culture. Free news. Free knowledge. Free information. The primary requirement in a government of, by and for the people is for the people to be well informed. DUH.
The dumbing down of America is real, and deliberate.
Paying for knowledge, and education is putting a price on democracy, and putting the ruling of a nation into the hands of the privileged.
So…Slacker Uprising. (the torrent file can be downloaded at the end of this article) This is a movie about the run-up to the 2004 elections, a piece about how vital the YOUTH VOTE is in a time when we desperately NEED CHANGE. It is being offered for free.Its intention is to turn out young voters in record numbers. Yes. We. Need. This. Micheal Moore identified a serious need: the need for a new, invigorated youth to enter the political life of this country and MAKE A DIFFERENCE, force people to hear their voices, and to count their votes. This is a need to bring in youth before the cynicism that tells us that we cannot make a difference gets to them. This is a need. Needs should be addressed, not bartered against. Micheal Moore was able to see this need, and attempt to fill it a bit by proving this piece of culture, this piece of media information for free. So watch it. Regardless of what you may think of Micheal Moore’s work in the past, this is an effort to bring in the youth vote, this is an effort to inform people at no cost. This is good. And this is another point of manifestation of why free culture is good. Why knowledge needs to be free, without the kind of absolute ownership we have now that chokes progress and puts “well informed” in a synonymous relationship with “privileged”.
Well informed is not a privilege, it is a right, and a requirement.