Trying to follow politics in our modern media environment can be a difficult and exhausting task!
In the age of non-traditional media that we live in now, finding reliable sources or good perspective on what’s going on in Madison or Washington D.C. can be hard to come by. Many of our traditional news sources have been bought out by big corporate media conglomerates whose sole focus is creating a profitable media company. Often, they fail to discuss the issues that affect every day Wisconsinites, focusing more on the theater of politics than on the actual substance of what’s going on because it’s the latter that tends to drive the ratings and clicks they need to make money.
Traditional media sources are also falling by the wayside as more and more people turn to the internet to get their everyday news. In the wake of this, there’s been a destructive tendency for bad actors to take the place of these companies, spreading disinformation and sowing discord between us by creating fake sites that are designed to look like real news sources.
Others have used their media platforms to provide a certain political perspective on current events, but often they engage in spreading the same kind of falsehoods that these fake news sites do. Our traditional media environment in Southeastern Wisconsin, in particular, is dominated by far-right talking heads on talk radio, or in the pages of our local papers. Those voices often drown out the perspectives of many Wisconsin citizens, and their distorting of the facts further poisons our discourse and ends up dividing us even more.
This crazy environment that we live in can make it really hard to follow politics in a way that is satisfying and easy to understand. Many have been turned off by the constant fighting and lying that pervades our political discussions. They feel hopeless that we can actually address the problems that we face. I hope to change that!
The goal of starting this blog is to provide a progressive prospective on local, state and federal politics through the channel of a non-traditional media site. My hope is that I can use this blog, not only to bring attention to issues that affect our everyday lives, but to find ways for us to solve the problems that we face. I want to spur people to action. I want to encourage all of us to be active participants in our democracy! The only way we can change things is if we all do our part!
In my experiences, whether it was working as a criminal defense attorney, working as a policy and legal intern with the Department of Public Instruction and the State legislature, or working as a community organizer all across this great state, I’ve always found that there is much more that unites us than divides us. We are all human beings, who have many of the same desires and goals as one another. We may come from different backgrounds, come from different areas, have different perspectives and life experiences, but we’re all seeking to accomplish the same goals: to live a better life and leave this planet a better place than where we found it.
When we have a conversation that isn’t shaped by the parameters of how Madison and Washington politicians, or the media at large, talks about things, and we talk to each other in a way that is inclusive and respectful, we can find common ground. We can solve many of the big problems we face, no matter how hard it may seem to do so. We become a stronger, more tightly knit community. We realize the principles of our founders of becoming a more perfect union.
We are living in a time of real crisis. Our government is separating children from their parents. They’re running detention centers where people are dying because they’re not being provided even the most basic care and resources every human being has a right to have. People are still being bankrupted and denied the health care that they deserve because of an inadequate health care system that puts profits over people. People are being discriminated against and mistreated because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their gender, or their sexual orientation. Our world is warming at an alarming rate, and will very well change life as we know it. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We’re falling behind the rest of the world in education and innovation. More and more people are having the opportunity to work their way up the economic ladder foreclosed to them. We can do better. We will do better.
I want you to ask yourself as read my blog, and think about the critical issues we face, what you can to do to change the status quo. What are you willing to sacrifice to carry out the values that you hold dearly? As Barack Obama wrote in the Audacity of Hope, he used to tell his community organizers in Chicago, “If we aren’t willing to pay a price for our values, if we aren’t willing to make some sacrifices in order to realize them, we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all.” What are you willing to do to see that we bring about change? What are we willing to do to realize the fantastic promise of this great nation?
I’ll leave you with this quote from President Obama’s farewell address in January of 2017, because what he said that day still holds true for us today: ” I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.” Let’s get to work!