If you are as old as I am, you remember the movie The Star Chamber.
It was about a group of judges who met in secret. The would discuss and debate over which criminal who got off due to a technicality that they should put out a “hit” on, and, they would then hire an assassin to kill that person.
I find echo chambers to be much the same thing.
For those who blog, hell, who do anything with a group of people, you know what an echo chamber is; a place where a group gets together, all spouting the same views as the others. If you have an opposing view, you quickly find yourself the target of this crowd. In the blogosphere, there are a few places where you see this occurring on both the left and right. They say that birds of a feather flock together. That is true. Just look at the blog sites where all you have are those on the right or left. Nobody else need apply.
Everyone has an opinion. Some opinions are more educated on a subject than another persons, granted. Even if a persons opinion is based on the layman’s knowledge of the subject, that doesn’t necessarily make the opinion wrong even though many times we find examples where it is just that; wrong.
Now that the election is over and Obama won, what becomes of those like me who aren’t left or right; the independent? Not the centrist, but, independent. There’s a difference as there are too many issues out there to be a true “centrist”.
You are either for or against abortion rights for women. You can’t merely say, “whatever”, or, “you know, abortion is right in some cases and wrong in others”. It is something that is or isn’t a woman’s right. You are either for or against torture. You are either for the rule of law or not. You either believe in the Constitution or you don’t. You either believe in the truth, or, you find solace in fantasy and lies when they suit your purposes. This is what it means to be an independent.
Come election time, it is the independent vote that decides elections. The left will vote Democratic and the right will vote Republican. It is the independent voter who decides who rules. But, what about our voice between elections, when one side holds power until the next election?
Obama and the Democratic Party were given the biggest mandate ever given by the population in history to run our government. Two elections in a row the Democratic Party made gains, in the House, the Senate, and won the White House. This was due to two factors and two factors alone; the independent voter and the ex-Republican who became the independent after 8 years of Bush. But, acknowledging a fact doesn’t mean you understand it. What drove people from the GOP? What drove independents to the Democratic Party?
The economy was part of it. When people cannot put food on the table, they tend to start voting in their own best interest, especially when one Party wants to help them and the other doesn’t. The Republican’s have relied on God, Guns, Gays, Racism and Bigotry for so long that they forgot that their base is poor. Go to the South and you see manufactured housing (ie, the nice trailers) businesses galore. God only goes so far when you can’t feed your family or can’t find a job.
While many in America, ok, the majority, feel Iraq was a mistake now, that in and of itself didn’t turn GOP voters. It was the assault on their liberties and the Constitution. Alright, to be fair, it was truly the rule of law. Too many in our government cried that they were above the law for them. There are a lot of poor people in the South who like their drugs and drink, who find themselves arrested, and, have the full force of the laws enacted by their GOP representatives pushed onto them. Then, when their GOP representatives get caught, these people whine and cry about how unfair the laws they enacted are when they suddenly apply to them.
Age is another big factor. Face it, many older people in the South are simply racists and bigots. They grew up in another age, another time. My great-grandfather owned a plantation in the South. My great-grandmother used to tell us stories about the Civil War. My father is racist. I’m not.
Changes in society is another factor. Yes, many men grew up with G.I. Joe and women grew up with Barbie. Men were men and women were women. Homosexuality was great when two women got together, but, men? OMG. That is, until your brother reveals that he has a male partner. Suddenly, you are forced to chose; your brother or long held beliefs. I chose family.
In fact, many ex-Republicans, and, independent voters, were forced to chose over the years. We made our choice. We made it in 2004. We made it in 2006. We made it in 2008. Yes, our choice didn’t win in 2004, but, we were already growing in number. Our numbers grew to the point that 2006 was a landslide for the Democratic Party in 2006. It was even more in 2008. And yet, these numbers, these people, do they still hold a voice in the echo chambers? No, and we never did. The independent isn’t welcome in echo chambers. Our vote, however, is the most sought after every election.
Echo chambers rule for the Party in power, or, the Party looking to assume power. Nobody else need apply. It is about their plans, their ideology, their Party. The politicians, on both sides, understand that it is about votes, something the “base” folks forget as they wish to only discuss certain things, and, certain viewpoints.
For some… the truth trumps both.