They have you playing the part
What the hell did I just see?
If you are anything like me, you’ve said that a million times.
I did the unthinkable. I turned on the “news”. I can tell you after an hour of it, I had enough.
Maybe I’m out of touch with what the news is these days. Living in rural South Arkansas is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse.
Let me summarize what the one hour of “news” did for me.
Absolutely nothing that will determine how my day will go here at home.
Social media influence
All day, everyday people spend hours scrolling on social media.
Today I learned even more about deer hunting from the local experts as I scrolled my news feed.
I learned that the current trend in hunting is to tell other hunters that harvesting a two-year-old buck is ruining the deer herd. Last time I read the rules I must have missed the biologist opinion that supports these social media experts’ opinions.
Yet, they are everywhere.
Speaking of experts
Freedom of Information is still a hot topic.
Apparently numerous “task force" working groups have formed to look at improving or limiting citizens’ rights to scrutinize our government depending on who you listen to.
Keep in mind these working groups, or as they like to be called “task force” groups, were actively involved in opposition to the recent changes during the special session in September called by Gov. Sarah Sanders.
In typical fashion, politicians drafted bills containing changes to the FOIA law that would essentially gut it completely. If passed, the changes would render FOIA useless by all accounts. It was a shit show. We went to the state capital and saw Arkansas citizens and “experts” speak to legislators, pleading that lawmakers leave the people’s right to know alone.
As the days went on, people quickly realized that lawmakers were working for the governor, not the people they were elected to represent. Let’s be real here a minute. Do you blame the elected officials? They don’t want you to request their emails and read them and they definitely do not want you to see the correspondence between the governor and her cabinet members. Yet, you still elect them.
There's another side to the story.
Some public records bullies apparently get off on sending FOIA requests just for sport. They get on social media to boast and sling insults at government officials regularly. It’s a game. I've taken a few swings myself at people in power.
But some bullies won't stop once they obtain the records they want. Instead of sharing just the facts, they start down a dangerous path teetering on slander by hurling juvenile insults.
Their crudeness really doesn't help, and it’s definitely not the best way to promote accountability in government.
You rarely see any common sense or logic from these online bullies at the end of the day. It’s all about fame and being an “expert” in their echo chambers to gain more followers.
To me, FOIA is a tool to actually look at what is happening that you do not see — a behind-the-scenes view. And I have fought to get documents.
FOIA is not a weapon to dismantle the image of individual public officials. Those individuals who choose smear tactics and hate speech as a tool for clicks, likes and shares are not helping bring about accountability. They are about feeding their egos.
There's a stark difference in making social media posts in jest and going on a full assault on an individual's character.
And that's what politicians want.
Politicians had a plan from the beginning, drum up fear to obtain the results they wanted — and they got it.
The special session ended with changes that stymied the public's right to know in the name of security. Citizens and activists from all political backgrounds cheered on social media posts. They claimed a “win” for the people. At South Arkansas Reckoning, we did not.
Buyer’s remorse hit quickly
Well, it’s pretty obvious that those who cheered victory tasted the bitterness of censorship and choked on it.
In an effort to restore the Freedom of Information Act to its original purpose — and protect it from future changes — activists from all backgrounds formed another working group to put forth a constitutional amendment to correct the recent changes supported by lawmakers.
FOIA is a noble cause. It's likely the most important thing happening in 2024 in Arkansas — if it makes it on the ballot.
Some will argue that I’m wrong and say the country is doomed if Donald Trump isn’t elected. Others will say Joe Biden is the only hope. It’s all theatrics.
Presidents are not controlling local decisions that actually matter to working people.
Washington’s primary objective today is to send money overseas, protect big government and make changes to laws to generate more fear, hatred and division.
At some point we have to turn it off and focus on what the politicians here at home are doing.
When Trump was indicted in New York, how did that affect you here? Did that show you what your local politicians are up to? Nope. Many times at the local level the fox is guarding the hen house. Are you watching that?
If Biden forgets where he is every 30 minutes does that change where you are? Did that buy your groceries or fill up your gas tank?
If U.S. senators curse each other all day, if the Speaker of the House prays to a rock on High Street, does that change your day? Does it pay your bills?
When Arkansas lawmakers change your tax rate or take away your right to scrutinize their actions, that matters.
If your city mayor annexes in new housing developments placing a strain on the city utility services? That matters. If your water is making you sick, it matters. If the local school board proposes a millage increase after blowing millions of dollars on projects that didn’t really change the quality of education your kids receive, that matters. If they avoid laws on competitive bidding that are passed to protect our tax dollars, that matters.
Let’s face reality and stop allowing national politics and fear mongering to control our lives.
If you want to truly change the country you live in, it starts at the local level. It takes you — not the blow hard on social media or your neighbor and not the “news" outlet that propagates fear and discourse over the social issue of the day.
As activists continue to push their agendas — calling public officials psychopaths and suggesting that they are less than qualified to hold office — let’s remember that those officials were elected by the people. Don’t like them? Hold the insults, put out all the facts and unseat them.
Social media bullies and propagandists continue to divide this country. It’ll remain that way until the people change the status quo. If you want better representation you have to vote for people, not the party. If you want to stop the divide, you have to find a way to tune out the propaganda. It’s hard when all you see on social media and the “news” is bullshit.
Turn it off.
When every day people realize that we still control the narrative things will change. But the individual must be the source of change. Waiting on the Social Media Bully to bring change or the political hack on TV is wasting your time.
There’s more politicians feeding you “news” than we have holding office in this country. And they are pulling your strings.
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