Glenn Beck recently made a point to criticize and mock Fareed Zakaria for his piece on Iceland’s attempts to revise their constitution. Fareed noted that, after Iceland was crippled by the recent economic crisis, they ‘all’ wanted a fresh start and felt that the document (constitution) was outdated, so they decided to open up the political conversation to the people, via social media (twitter, facebook). This enabled any one of the 320,000 citizens of Iceland to submit ideas on how the constitution should reflect the values and interests of the people of Iceland. Although this sounds like a no-brainer, the idea that the people of a country can actually have a say in how they are governed, you would not get this impression if you listened to Glenn Beck. In fact, Glenn instantly attempted to frame the issue. He mocked the two most popular ideas submitted by the people of Iceland, that of a universal healthcare system, and making sure corporate donations do not influence their political system, and purposely directed our attention (via framing) to a well orchestrated plot to take over the American way of life. He stated that Fareed’s entire coverage of this story is a propaganda piece, suggesting somehow that either Iceland wasn’t crippled by the economic crisis, or that this occurrence is also tied to the plot by various left-wing peace activists, unions, immigrants, and other minorities to take over our government and strip our freedoms away. Never mind the incredible irony, given that peace activists and unions are devoted to standing up for workers rights and freedoms of the citizens in this country. It is evident that Glenn Beck is not in favor of a participatory democracy, where all voices are heard. Instead, he is simply ignoring the facts and concentrating on what he wants all of “us” to focus on which is best summed up by Glenn himself. This is more or less what he had to frame, I mean say: http://www.glennbeck.com/content/videos/?uri=channels/451373/1382057
The people wanted a fresh start, and they had the courage to start over again, and they came up with a new better idea. So, they wanted to have it open on the internet, where people just like you, who know best. Free-health care, they know, because they can come up with these new ideas. It’s a new way, it’s a new dawn, a new era! If you put all 3 of these things together, the American society is sick, we have lost our way, we have lost our history, we have lost an understanding of who put the constitution together, why it was put together. Then you have the people who are stirring up trouble on the left, you have Van Jones, Francis fox-Piven, the unions, the Marxists, south Americans coming across our border, the Middle East, our own white house causing chaos, our economy is going to be crippled pretty soon. What is Van Jones starting this week, restoring the American dream. He was involved in Storm, a communist movement to overthrow the United States government. It’s a false pride and false history. (Ironically, the movement to rebuild the American dream is similar to Iceland’s approach, which is to open up the conversation of politics to “we the people” – See for yourself what this so-called, false pride is all about http://www.rebuildthedream.com/) Then you have the internet, oh it’s going to be changed by you, look the people are changing the world.
So, why would Glenn Beck insist on mocking the people for their efforts to participate in crucial decisions that affect their way of life, and frame what Fareed reported on in this way? If he is truly a patriot and recognizes devotion to one’s country, shouldn’t he be in favor of a participatory democracy, where everyone’s voice is heard? And what about universal health care? Why would he be against something that provides health care to all citizens, particularly for all of “us” in the United States. After all, every other industrialized nation on the planet provides “free” health care for its citizens.
Rather than being a true patriot, it appears that Glenn Beck’s role is that of a puppet of the radical right in this country, to present half-truths, or framed versions of reality by insisting that the idea of a truly representative government by the people, for the people, is akin to a violent take-over by the so-called, “others” (immigrants, Islamic people, unions, George Soros) who want to destroy our way of life, by overthrowing the Government. Thus, he is advocating in a truly Orwellian fashion, the opposite of reality.
He claims that, what Fareed is doing is launching the beginning of an attack that will lead to the fall of Israel and eventually the fall of the United States, or the ‘West’ as he put it. If one were only to listen to Glenn Beck, then one would believe the framed version of reality that suggests a threat of some “other” group is imminent and we need to join him in his pursuit to wake up the American people to the evil doers plan on actively attempting to take away our freedoms. In fact, he went as far as pleading with his listeners to join him to help protect freedom. He goes on to say that there is a very well-coordinated attack that is well-funded and put together, but we can win if we stand together. Even in his framed reality, he is plainly suggesting that ‘we the people’ need to stand together and fight threats to our freedom, our constitution, and our way of life. So, he clearly acknowledges that it’s a bad thing if our government and the constitution it was founded on to protect “we the people” were to be jeopardized.
Let’s step out of the frame for a minute and consider the actual ramifications of this thought. If the purpose of Glenn Beck’s message is to protect “we the people” and our government, which is designed to protect and empower its citizens, then the idea of a truly representative government by the people, for the people (ie, input from the people) via social media is a fantastic idea! After all, our elected officials are supposed to represent “our” view point in the policies and programs they enact, as opposed to a select few of “them” who seem to be the only group whose interests are being advocated for. I realize that facts are not welcome in a framed version of reality, (since facts are rejected if they don’t fit the frame) but consider the undeniable reality that there are approximately 30,000 lobbyists in Washington, up from 300 or so in 1980, prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency, all advocating on behalf of the interests of .1% of Americans. That is, 99.9% of “us” do not have a single lobby supporting our interests. Does this make sense? So, Fareed Zakaria made a suggestion that we take a page out of Iceland’s play book and consider making adjustments to our constitution, which is far more outdated than the one created in Iceland in 1944. By opening up the conversation to all of us, via social media, the people’s interests will finally be heard, and they will actually have an input into the policies and programs affecting their lives. The best ideas will then have a chance of being put into action, such as universal health care, and taking money out of the equation in our election process in an attempt to eliminate, or at least drastically reduce corruption.
So, why is there a need for Glenn Beck to frame reality in a different way? Hopefully, this question answers itself. But, for those who would like a bit more information, consider the ramifications of a movement where everyone is able to voice their opinions on issues affecting their well-being. This is truly a dangerous idea for those in the top .1%, since this group and NOT immigrants, George Soros, unions, and others who advocate on behalf of people over profit are to blame for our problems. The select few of “them” that currently hold more wealth than the bottom 90% of “us” are the real danger to our collective rights and freedoms, since income inequality is precisely how this group has managed to gain a greater proportion of wealth and power than at any time in history, including the Gilded age. Income inequality and maintaining this status quo is the true evil force in society that Glenn Beck and other radical right-wing talking heads are desperately trying to uphold. As this blog entry notes, the puppets of the radical right are trying to convince us that the coordinated, well-funded attack on our way of life is due to poor people, immigrants, peace activists, unions, wealthy progressives like George Soros, as opposed to the real culprit, which is those at the very top of the pyramid, who stand to gain enormous wealth and political power that they have certainly wielded over of all of “us”, and the world over. Thus, attempts will continue to be made to frame reality in a way that demonize the victims and true patriots, who fight against the devastating effects of income inequality, while painting those who support and defend the status quo as heroes, and courageous defenders of freedom and democracy. This is but just one attempt to call them out on it.