Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Watch a Politically Slanted Film

I won't lie. I have been swayed by a propagandist, "conspiracy theory," left- or right-leaning "documentary" in my day. Check out the section on Netflix for these types of movies, and you will find everything from capitalism, to wealth in America, to credit card debt, to the fast food industry.

If you aren't really careful, you can jump on one of these bandwagons and it can change your life in a very, very dark and terrifying way.

I bring this up because on my FB feed in the last week, I've seen several people who've watched 2016: Obama's America. About 10 years ago, when I was 22, I wished I was more educated when it came to politics in America. I realized even though I had lots of opinions about politics, I really had no idea where those opinions came from, nor if they were even right or wrong. I got very involved in the 2008 election and did alot of research. Not only did I research on the two candidates, but I researched all the way back to previous presidencies. Know what I found out? No president in the history of America has been perfect. AND, none of them, no matter how awful, have single-handedly destroyed the country in such a way that it will NEVER recover. NONE. Know what else I realized? Every, single man who has ever been "CEO" of America has not had a perfect past, nor have they all been great men. They have not all been men of substance. The great men, like Jimmy Carter, have been completely awful presidents and the non-so-great men have made great ones.

The thing is that if you allow it to, politics can wrap around your life and mind in such a negative way that it will consume you. You will begin to feed into the hype that "this man is the anti-Christ who will destroy every thing America holds dear." It will alter your mindset, it will depress you, and it will mold you into a paranoid, pessimistic, doomsday person that you never intended to be. Do you know what Dave Ramsey tells people who call into his show, the ones that feed into the news about "unemployment is so terrible, no one can get a job, blah blah blah?" He says, "STOP WATCHING TV. STOP GETTING ON THE INTERNET." He knows that all of the stuff you see on a daily basis will make your mind bend in ways you could never imagine.

Do I like Obama? Not really. I don't care for some of the things he's done while in office, but I have a feeling, had the Republicans won the election four years ago, I wouldn't have liked everything they did, either. The truth is that there have been men as "evil" or "more evil" running this country than Obama. The difference with him and others is that we live in the information age. Just imagine what types of manic, leaning articles would have come out about past presidents, had there been access to the internet, movies, and talking head shows back in the day. I mean, try doing some research on our Founding Fathers one day. You will some of the most imperfect, twisted, corrupt people (not all of them, but some of them - see Thomas Jefferson!) Could you imagine what would have been said during the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Here are the some of the headlines you would have probably seen on the Founding Fathers:

"Thomas Jefferson spends $11,000 ($198,000 today) on liquor while in office on the tax payer's dime"

"George Washington caught betting cockfighting ring" (Imagine what PETA would have thought!)

"Atheist Ben Franklin caught paying prostitute for sex"

I haven't watched this movie and I do not intend to. I watched Zeitgeist once and it literally scared me out of my wits. I have no idea how much of it was true or how much of it was the documentary-maker's warped perception. If I watch this, I just know it's going to make me feel scared to death to live in this country and given the large amounts of stress I am already under due to every day life, I certainly don't need to be found balled up in the fetal position in a corner of my house, worrying about him. It's not worth it.

If you must watch these, just keep in mind these are ALL from someone's opinion. Just because it says "documentary" does not make it factual. In fact, it can actually be completely unfactual. Documentaries, while trying to be educational, are still just for entertainment. Don't base your opinions on them. Take what you will and do more research. Use your brain and think for yourself instead of allowing these types of movies to do your thinking for you.
I just really challenge you to think about what you put into your brain when it comes to politics. If you really are going to spend hours watching Fox News or MSNBC, I would encourage you to give equal time to both sides because it helps you balance out your mind. I don't care which one you lean more towards or how upset it makes you to watch the other side; at least watching both sides will help you keep things in perspective. And please, stop watching it when you feel your blood boiling, your fists shaking, and you are so far past depression that you don't know what to do. This goes for any emotional show that sucks you in like Intervention, Hoarders, Cops, Honey Boo Boo, or any other show that showcases the downfall of society. The only reason it gets you all fired up is because you let it. Go on a hiatus of all things political for one week and tell me how good you will feel.

I will be the first to say I've watched very little regarding this election. I know who I am voting for and it's based on one very important thing that I agree with him on. Other than that, I don't need to get involved. I don't watch the conventions, I don't listen to the debates. I know that I will never agree on each and every topic that a candidate believes in, so instead of putting all of my thoughts on it, I just stop. If you are posting articles on your FB feed constantly about how awful Obama is, or Romney, or if you find yourself consumed by information overload, watch Netflix, where the political talk shows can't get to you and watch an episode of Dick Van Dyke, Frasier, or Cheers. Realize that you can seperate yourself from all of this anxiety because ultimately, there are many many other things in life to pay attention to. Do your part and vote. After that, there isn't much control you have over it, is there?

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