Posts Tagged ‘ America ’

Politics of PR; PR for Politics?

Since I’m working/looking for a new job/trying to graduate/doing my best to be a decent human being, I don’t often get the opportunity to discuss politics with academics whom I respect, so today’s chat with a former professor was a welcome deviation from the norm. Though much of the conversation revolved around our respective life activities (and thus wouldn’t be interesting to Dear Reader), there was one thing mentioned which I think is a good question for American society at-large.

In recounting the various ways in which the financial meltdown and subsequent government actions were framed in the “relevant” discourses (i.e., the media and the 2008/2010 political campaigns), I opined that those who support(ed) drastic measures to ensure (admittedly relative) stability have utterly lost the public relations battle to the reactionaries who oppose(d) such actions. To this my professor friend agreed and added that, for better or worse, much of our politics and discourse in this country often breaks down to public relations and marketing. It is less about who can best lead us into tomorrow, and rather about who can best appeal to our fleeting consumer sensibilities.

Yes, my friend is an avowed Marxist philosopher in a society that venerates anything “market-based.” But I do not believe that undermines his critique. In fact, I rather think it supports such a conclusion – however broad it may be – because our reverence for the system too often induces us to be uncritical of the system.

But for the time being, the system looks like it’s here to stay. So, the question I now pose is this: how can we use the system to reform or recreate the system? Can the tools of marketing and public relations be appropriated for a higher purpose than merely electing candidates who reflect the “public” opinion or giving power and influence to those who pander to our fears and anxieties?

Damn proud to be an American. Period.

There is little I can say about America that hasn’t already been said, or would be empty hyperbole. Suffice it to say, America has allowed me to become the man I am today – complete with all my virtues and vices – and for that I am forever grateful and indebted to her.

The idea of America is bigger than any one person or group; it is the place where all persons and all groups can live and work together as equals. But the idea is far from realized – for all our successes, there are just as many (if not more) failures which we must still devote immeasurable energy to rectifying. So on this Fourth of July, 234 years since declaring freedom from tyranny for all peoples, let us celebrate the great victories of our past but not forget that the real work still lies ahead.

America, fuck yeah.