The Eight Year Filibuster (A little essay for Juneteenth)


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I haven’t posted on this blog for some time now. I have taken a break from the news, politics, etc. Don’t get me wrong I am still listening to NPR and reading the BBC and a few other news sources. But I have had to take time from attempting to analyze what I have read and heard in order to express a cogent and perhaps even useful commentary.

What I realized after mulling this situation over and discussing it with some friends is that what passes for news these days is so cliche-ridden and tabloidesque that I could say little more about it than that. And there is no point in repeating every day that the quality and content of the news has gotten pretty lame.

What’s curious is that I have still been getting viewers on my blog. Not many but a steady stream of folks who seem to think I might have something interesting to say. So out of respect for these blog-scouring readers I decided that I should probably not abandon this blog thdough the thought had occurred to me a few times.

What I have come to realize is that the news is dominated by many of the same mind-numbing stories repeated over and over. Congress is deadlocked, the Republicans blame the Democrats, the Democrats blame the Republicans and so on. But what occurred to me in my little “aha” moment is that, in terms of the dynamics of communication, these news stories have much in common with filibusters. Think about it, a filibuster is just talking to waste time like running out the game clock in a basketball game. The content of a filibuster is never reported because it is never relevant. It is just words to fill time.

So this is what we’ve come to now. News outlets are reporting a lot of time wasting stories, the same ones basically that they reported yesterday and the day after. Even the most learned analyses are repeated over and over. That, I believe, is why my mind has felt so foggy.

I can and have written about other things but until today haven’t felt like I have anything worth blogging in the realm of politics. While I care about the issues of the day I have not found the news media particularly useful to me. And it might be some time before I write another blog post because I don’t want to waste my time or certainly that of those faithful blog trollers who seem to keep finding this blog. (I do appreciate that, by the way)

In effect we have been living in one large filibuster, verbose without relevant content and not much hope of that changing. It is as though the lawmakers are just pouting and not playing nice since the election of 2008. And the news media is reporting on that unchanging and mostly irrelevant dialog. I have to wonder if things will even change noticeably after the 2016 elections.

So what is Juneteenth and what has that got to do with filibusters as a metaphor for this boring news? Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words “June” and “nineteenth”. On June nineteenth federal troops entered the state of Texas. This slave state had seceded from the union in 1861 and the troops were there to establish federal authority following the Civil War and to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation (signed September 22, 1862 with the effective date of January 1, 1863). Celebrations of “Emancipation Day” or “Freedom Day” are now frequently celebrated on this day and it is recognized as a holiday in 42 states (the eight hold out states are Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah).

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Historians looking back at these eight years in history will make note of the fact that we have elected our first black president to two terms in office. Whether their analyses will find that to be a reason for the deadlocked and worthless Congress remains to be seen but I doubt that anyone will be able to dismiss this fact completely. It appears to this writer that the conservative forces in this country, no longer able to be as direct in their racist attitudes, have resorted to the childish and ultimately destructive tactics of basically putting the country on hold until we can get a white guy in there again.

To be fair there is always some game playing and posturing following elections as the fantasies of power and control get exercised and no doubt there will be a strong reaction if and when we elect a female president. But the shameful thing on this Juneteenth is that we have hardly scratched that surface of equality and civil rights even though the Emancipation Proclamation was singed 147 years ago.

So Happy Juneteenth to my progressive friends. We have a long way to go and though the revolution might be televised there is likely no one paying much attention.

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About perkustooth

I am a registered nurse, writer, photographer and composer living in Alameda. I am originally a midwesterner and was born and raised in Chicago.
This entry was posted in accountability, Democrats, holidays, media, News Cycle, non-solutions, origins, Politics, racism, Republicans, white people, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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