Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Steven Hass: Beginner's Guide To American Politics

A Beginner's Guide To American Politics

By Steven A. Hass

1. Your president is George W. Bush. He lives in the White House. He doesn't actually do anything except act as a figurehead for American politics, which is kind of embarrassing. I know we all could think of someone a lot more impressive to show as our leader, but American voters screwed it up twice and now we're stuck with him. Well, maybe that's a little harsh, because American voters didn't actually screw up any elections; electronic voting machines did that for them.

2. Don't try to understand any "war on terrorism", because there isn't one. It's impossible to fight a "war" against an ideal. It can't be fought, and even if it could be, it couldn't be won. "War on terrorism" is nothing more than a scary-sounding catch phrase, meant to keep you thinking you're in danger so you'll just go along with whatever program is dictated to you as being your protection. It's like saying, "Bush will save you from those meanie terrorists, if only you'll vote for him". You get the idea.

3. Do not try to think too deeply about what comes out of George W. Bush's mouth. Why should you have to think about it when even he doesn't think about it? He doesn't think this stuff up - he's got a whole team of handlers and script writers who do that for him. All he has to do is read what they write, but he tends to screw up the bigger words. Most of it is baloney anyway, just neat phrases and sound bites to paint whatever picture they want you to be seeing. Think Hollywood, and movies, and bad actors - that's about as authentic as it is. Pinocchio meets the 21st century - pull his strings and watch his mouth move.

4. Under no circumstances should you be buying crap like magnetic ribbons that say mindless things, such as "Freedom Isn't Free". Displaying such trinkets will only tag you as a mindless sheep in a mindless herd. Don't do it. If you see things like this, avoid the people who display them. They have absolutely no idea about much of anything, and certainly no clue about Iraq, oil, Bush, the economy, etc. They go along to get along, where they are comfortable. Avoid them at all costs.

5. Cable TV news? It isn't. It's entertainment. The giveaway is usually when the word "news" is in the show's title, such as "Fox News", a prime example.

6. If you really want the truth about anything involving American politics and current events, you'll need to do some homework. Here's a major tip: look outside of the American mainstream media, which gave up on objective journalism a long time ago. Try international news sources and online independent sources. Chances are good that you'll find more to every story there than you'll ever get from American mainstream media.

7. When you cast a vote for somebody, you do it because they're going to represent you and your wishes, right? Well, that was the original intention a couple hundred years ago, but it's not like that anymore. Once they get to Washington DC, all bets are off. They're in the club now. Oh, they'll do some representing, but not if you aren't sitting on a pile of cash. Elections have degenerated into a choice between two evils, and your only option is the lesser evil. Pretty sad, isn't it? Welcome to American politics in the 21st century. If an honest one does happen to slip in through the cracks, he won't be there after one term.

8. What is patriotism? It has nothing to do with the size of your flag. It has nothing to do with blind loyalty to a president. It has nothing to do with supporting a war. What is patriotism? It is standing up to a president (or anyone else) who goes against the principles this country stands on. It is a decision to ask the difficult questions, to demand accountability from every elected official (including, especially, the president). It is an attitude that says, "Nobody, not even a president, is more important than the good of the country". Patriotism is non-partisan. Patriotism bows to nobody. And patriotism will kick a president in the ass when it's called for, every time it's called for.

9. Your Vice-President is Dick Cheney. Sometimes he lives at the White House, too. Most of the time nobody knows where he lives or what he's doing. He's not very good at clearing that up. All he's really been good at is awarding multi-billion dollar contracts to his former company, for cleaning and rebuilding Iraq - and now the U.S. gulf coast, too (probably because he's still getting paid by his former company). Cheney is worse than Bush, because Bush is only lying according to a script, and Cheney can do it on his own. Again, some intense homework is in order if you really want to know about Dick Cheney.

10. This is your initiation into the world of American politics in the 21st century. It's not very in-depth, because it would take too long to erase what Big Brother has sold to you as the real story of American politics. It's been whitewashed and dressed up and sugarcoated for so long that now it's just a tacky piece of junk on a souvenir stand, painted in red, white, and blue. Do some homework. Do some research. Ask questions. Question everything. And turn off that friggin' TV!


Steven A. Hass

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julien Troussier: Loving Trump

It’s 3am. Cannot sleep. Restless. Slide to unlock. Open the New York Times App. Look for the latest incident. He did it again. He lashed out. Fear. Anger. Outrage. I needed to see this. I needed to check that the madness was still there. More>>


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Live Blog: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>


Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news