To Live and Die by Television

The mandatory advent of digital television is a testament to our nation’s misplaced priorities.  This is amazing to me for two reasons.  Our lawmakers, politicians, lobbyists, and big business came together in a unified front to pass this law and then made available discounts to the public to help them defray the cost of the switch-over.  How come we have not seen this sort of consensus regarding health care?

Foremost, it is comforting on one hand to see our policy makers actually agree on new policy, but on the other hand it is downright unbelievable to witness their convergence to be all about television!  Aren’t we faced with more important issues that need attention?  How callous is it for Congress not to demonstrate their bipartisan power in addressing the health care needs of our citizens?  To ignore this urgency (along with other emergencies such as infrastructure investment, social security reform and educational betterment, just to name a few) is a slap in the face to every single voter.  Moreover, it reveals the vapid stupidity of our lawmakers.  Not totally off the hook for some of the blame are the citizens, many of whom regard their television watching as vital to their well-being.  Many Americans, whether or not due to an increased sense of hopelessness and need for immediate gratification, have found themselves content with this show of consensus over our television viewing.  Maybe they figure that while we can not get any health care programs passed in Congress, the least we can do is better our television pictures.  So minimally, we can die happy and fat in front of our tv sets.  With a hopefully higher death rate as a result of our inactivity in front of our boob tubes, there will be less need for health care.  Genius!  Talk about misguided leadership for a misplaced following.

Secondly, I find it appalling that we can offer our citizens a discount for converter boxes to transform our analog televisions into digital ones.  The concern, effort and available funds to make this switchover happen is so out of line with what we really need.  This is nothing more than a subsidy for being a couch potato.  I do not see Americans being offered any coupons for health care, do you?   How does a legislature absolutely ignore our most basic needs yet offers government funding to keep us satisfied in front of our newly digitalized screens?

I do believe that this battle of real transformational issues is what President Obama will deal with.  Not only will he have to embarrass our lawmakers into taking up these life-and-death issues, but also the American public will have to open their hearts and minds to a different set of priorities.  This analog-to-digital revolution has proven a travesty to our ordering of priorities, and Obama will have to create and promote a solidarity built on common sense and decency to alter our future path.  The clarity and sharp definition of a television picture fulfills nothing of what America needs now.  Instead, it just muddies the picture even more by allowing us to put off dealing with the real, deeper problems.  It is a ruse, but dire economic realities often cause the population to seek solace and escape through “entertainment.”

A good example of non-transformational hype was the supposed life-altering Segway, the personal transporter that came out about a decade ago.  Before its debut, it was hailed as something that would forever change our way of life.  This was nonsensical spin if I ever saw it.  You want transformation?  I give you the Sony Walkman, which made music portable for the first time in history and opened the way for a true revolution in music and devices that deliver music.  But the Segway?  No way.  The damn machine goes twelve miles per hour, neither a good replacement for walking or driving.  Of course, it was a product of private industry, not government funding, so the insanity of it all really did not take away federal funds from other much needed areas.  There was no federal subsidy for the Segway mania.

How proud Americans must feel of our fractional democracy actually coming together over our television habits.  Quite frankly, I find it embarrassing, degrading and insulting that the larger issues at hand were passed over and remain unresolved.

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One Response to “To Live and Die by Television”

  1. Natalie Rosen Says:

    EXCELLENT!!! I wholeheartedly agree and I know my partner, Lulabelle agrees too. What more could one say. I just hope you send your opinions to the Obama site especially this one. It needs to be seen. You could post it too on the Daily Kos or Huffpost although Huffington I think limits words. Anyway, get these thoughts out there. You make some EXCELLENT points.

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