The Era Of Approved Dissent ⋆ Politicrossing
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The Era Of Approved Dissent

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Guns N Roses Frontman Axl Rose was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of property damage for the role he played in instigating a riot in St. Louis in 1991. He dove headfirst off of the stage and into the crowd to attack a man with a camera and then left the stage mid-concert. This angered the crowd and sparked a rebellion. Months later, when Rose returned to the states from a European tour, he was arrested at the airport. Axl Rose came under fire again in 1992 and was accused of homophobia for having used the word “faggot” in one of his lyrics. In the late 80s and early 90s, Rose was notorious for the use of controversial lyrics, getting arrested, and being a rebel.

By the early 2000s, as Axl Rose’s star faded, rap star Eminem ascended to take his place as the new controversial lyrical artist and troublemaker. What both men had in common is that they were probably the last true mega stars to have been true rebels. Neither artist was readily associated with any cause or social movement. In fact, like Madonna most of the time, it appeared they were being controversial, just to be controversial. Some of it may have been immaturity, drug induced behavior, or the result of a toxic combination of the trappings of fame and misguided youth. Certainly marketing was part of the mix. The result was that the controversy sold records. The polarization of their songs and actions is what stood out.

In 2021, one can’t help but realize that far too many artists have replaced polarization with conformity. Take the latest “controversy” over the news that Nicki Minaj is hesitant to be vaccinated. She revealed she is waiting and doing more research and she shared a story of people who she knows who have had adverse reactions. She has every right to feel however she wants and to express herself regarding this matter in whatever way she chooses. That her very reasonable response to not getting a vaccine is controversial is laughable when compared to say… starting a riot or sending a Native American woman to accept your Oscar award as a protest the way Marlon Brando once did.

Minaj’s tweet about the subject left those longing for the days of rock n roll and artistic rebellion a little disappointed. She wrote: “If I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.” A missed opportunity for sure. Our increasingly conformist and authoritarian society longs for a time when artists were controversial and didn’t try to softly land their positions as Minaj does here with a nod to mask wearing. What happened to the Rage Against The Machine Mentality of “F&#Ck You I Won’ t Do What You Tell Me!” What happened to the music of liberation, the sound and lyrics of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, James Brown? Where is the spirit of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and NWA?

While most rational people understand that the actions and words of such artists are frequently grounded in hyperbole, and just plain offensive, most also understand that there are usually one or more kernels of truth in such works. This makes it entertaining. Some of the best art illuminates an injustice, uncomfortable truth, or articulates someone else’s hypocrisy uniquely. Until recently, it seemed rather common for an artist to lambast a national politician, a corporate figure, or law enforcement. One is hard pressed to find a recent song questioning our 20 year misadventure in Afghanistan, the militarization of the police departments, election fraud, lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates, or forced vaccinations. We know that people, and certainly artists, have strong opinions on these matters, regardless of their position. Eric Clapton and Van Morrison recently collaborated on an anti-lockdown tune, but to little attention from the corporations. Perhaps many artists have found it easier to send a tweet than to write a clever lyric.

Today’s radio waves don’t have a Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” or a Joan Baez protesting for social or political change. Everything just feels corporate, quadrate, as if everything we see and hear has been approved in some boardroom. The truth is, it probably has been. Dissent is quickly purged from social media and the major television networks. We are living in an age of “Approved Dissent.” If you are protesting perceived racism, sexism, or police brutality, the protest is parroted by the mainstream corporate and social media. Protest an election result, a mask mandate, or a forced vaccination and you will get very little to no air time unless it is to paint you as a deranged conspiracy theorist.

Perhaps artists have figured this out. In the year 2021, the age-old question of “does life imitate art or does art imitate life?” has been answered. As approved dissent devolves into approved art, we see art imitating life.

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Can the Party of “No” Beat the Party of “Free?”

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Have you noticed the rhetoric, “At least we have the House to stop some of Biden’s crazy plans!” The GOP’s keyword is “STOP.” Have you noticed that the Democrats have positioned themselves as the party of more “FREE” gifts from the government?

The GOP wants to cut budgets, cut government jobs, stop abortions, stop illegal aliens crossing the border, stop election cheating, stop student loan giveaways….and the list goes on. The Democrats have effectively positioned the GOP as the party of “NO!”

With a small margin in the House, Biden’s veto, and a likely Democrat Senate virtual majority, the Republicans face a difficult challenge. How do you shape a narrative that can win in 2024 and minimize the damage that the Democrats can do until then?

It starts by capitalizing on an issue that Republicans have been reticent to exploit-school choice. Have you noticed that the youngest voters went Democrat in every state? We have let the Democrats control public schools. Teacher unions have used their money and influence to ensure adequate funding. The result is clear-the youth under their influence have rejected the responsible values of their parents. The young lack confidence in their ability to make free-enterprise work, and they like government entitlements, rent relief, and promises of student loan forgiveness. In short, they have settled for the party of “FREE”-the Democrats!

School choice wasn’t even part of the Republican’s Commitment to America. Our leaders missed its role in Youngkin’s win in Virginia. It’s time to start becoming the party of “YES” to school choice. Many minority parents feel trapped in underperforming schools, and they want better schools for their children. Conservatives want an end to the indoctrination of liberal values that public schools provide. In short, it’s time to embrace school choice as a central focus in the GOP’s 2024 campaign.

There is no question that the issue of abortion also played a key role in impacting the Republican gains in the November election. The Democrats were able to turn fears over the Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs Wade into voter turnout in key races. It’s time to be the party of “YES” to reasonable limits on abortion and responsible support for adoption for unwanted children. Most Americans are supportive of reasonable limits on abortion. House Republicans could introduce federal legislation to make abortion after the first trimester illegal. Let the states take the role of considering even more restrictive measures. Make Democrats the party of “NO” to sane abortion limits.

Be the party of “YES” to government support for organizations that provide vulnerable women with support and material resources to help them consider both parenting and adoption. Democrats would have women believe that abortion is their only option. There are parents ready to adopt, and it can be a beautiful experience for all involved. It’s time to convince women to support life for their unborn child by providing loving options instead of trying to force the total elimination of abortion. Abortion disproportionately impacts minorities. To meet the needs of the future, America needs all the births our citizens can bring into this world.

Say “YES” to responsible citizenship-every citizen working to find a satisfying career in pursuit of their true American Dreams instead of settling for government dependence. The Republican message must be strong and clear-we belief in all Americans’ ability to gain their mojo and take back their future. There is no future in dependence-Getting “Free” entitlements are not “Freedom!” Let people know that America is still where the “pursuit of happiness” is not just something to justify a revolution. It is what has made America great and the envy of the world. It is by improving your skills and earning advancements or starting one’s own business that true dreams are achieved. No citizen should settle when she can soar.

Say “YES” to a secure border and legal immigration. America remains the land of opportunity, and we need immigrants. We don’t need millions of illegal immigrants unvetted and unprepared to add value to our country. Stand for completing the building of our Southern border wall and increasing our focus on expanding legal immigration. Republicans must not be against immigrants; we are only against welcoming illegal immigrants who do not honor our immigration process. Americans want a secure border, and they want to be known as a country that welcomes immigrants. Have the strength and wisdom to stand for both.

Say “YES” to law and order. Stand in support of law enforcement and accountability for criminals. Yes, we want fair treatment of all Americans, but citizens are tired of criminals having the upper hand. They want to feel safe in their homes and their businesses. We need DAs who will prosecute criminals instead of letting them go. There is a simple formula for the GOP to reflect most Americans-“Do the crime and do the time!”

Say “YES” to energy independence and an all of the above approach to energy policy. Instead of saying “No” to climate change paranoia, affirm the importance of developing all of our energy resources to be independent of foreign dependence. Capitalizing on all available energy options will also strike a blow at inflation, since the cost of energy impacts all facets of our economy.

If you want to beat the “Party of FREE,” we need to become the “Party of YES” to the things that Americans truly value. It’s time to begin preparing a narrative that can win in 2024. May it be so.

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Elections

Three Things Republicans MUST Do Now

The Republicans have a very important job to do!

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Now that the Republicans have taken the House, they have a few VERY important jobs to do. In this short five minute video, Chris Widener, Founder of PolitiCrossing, makes the case that there are three things the Republicans must do to be successful through 2024 and take back the Senate and the White House as well.

1. Investigate
2. Defund
3. Cast a Positive Vision for America

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