One of the things that catches my attention most mornings while watching the news is how bought and paid for our media is, even at the local level since the station I tune into broadcasts from Oakland, California. At this point anyone who’s reading this is probably saying something to the effect of, “yeah-yeah, you’re preaching to the choir”, but just because many of us are aware that most media in this country is basically owned and controlled by a small number of conglomerates, it’s still interesting to note the bias in the way certain items are reported. In particular any stories involving the police beating and tasing innocent people (yes innocent because that’s what you’re presumed to be until proven guilty in a court of law), and in some cases killing innocent people. Incidents that are increasingly captured on video. The pro-police stance of my local station shouldn’t surprise me, and it also shouldn’t surprise me that they appear to be pro-gentrification, and extremely uncritical when reporting on local politics and elections, and I’m not surprised, but taken aback at times by how blatant their establishment bias is. It’s another one of those things that we shrug and shake our heads at, but accept as a reality of the world we live in.
Instead, we should be asking, what are we doing to break the cycle that has lead us to this place. One of the big mistakes we’ve made and continue to make is that we tend to be reactive instead of proactive. The political system that governs us (even on the local level) is just that - a system. By the time you’ve reached the point of being angry about affordable housing being demolished in the Mission to make way for $3000 dollar a month micro lofts, it’s too late in the process. When across the Bay Area you see a trend of only 50% of eligible voters being registered, and only 25% actually voting, you’re going to end up with mayors and city councils being elected almost by default. Who do these politicians serve if a majority of the citizenry didn’t vote them into office?
That’s only the beginning, and if you need a quick education on how things work in government, even at a local level, attend a city council meeting. It’s as simple as that. I do want to leave off with my personal belief that politicians are not to be trusted, even at a local level, but if you’re going to vote anyone into a position that could influence the lives of those living in your community, make sure they’re from that community. That doesn’t mean you moved here to work for Google or to attend law school at the local university, but that you are actually from the community you want to make decisions for, ideally born and raised there.