I admit it, I’m a political junkie. I follow politics in all its forms, and I read election returns and analyses like some women read bodice-rippers. I know, I’m a freak. I’m at peace with it.
I eat, breathe, and sleep politics most days, and while it makes me a fairly good news source (if my in-box is any indication) it also makes me rather limited in what I can do in the long run. I can help in a particular race, I can make calls, advise candidates, knock on doors; I can tweet, and share online, and teach others how to do those things. But those skills turn out to be only seasonally effective as the political cycle turns, and then elections happen, and people drop politics from their daily lives until the next time they get worked up. At that point, I seem to become superfluous. (But boy, how ‘relevant’ I become when election season rolls around the next time, and my phone rings off the hook from politicians and candidates who all want something!)
Andrew Breitbart famously said “politics is downstream from culture,” and I think about that a lot. I was resistant to the idea when I first heard it from Steven Crowder; but long after my conversation with Steven, those words stuck with me. If I was all politics, all the time, what was I missing about the culture that I needed to know? I do know that a lot of people develop and refine their attitudes (and thus, the way they vote) based on what happens in the entertainment world. Maybe they shouldn’t be so susceptible to cultural influence, but apparently they are. That’s the situation on the ground among the vast number of voters. It’s why Hollywood involves itself in elections and messaging. There’s no use whining that it is so, or lamenting that we aren’t better informed as a people. This is the field we’re given to fight on. If Tina Fey can make voters believe Sarah Palin said “I can see Russia from my house!” then that tells me where we are.
(And I don’t think it’s just the problem that when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The culturally-influential say culture is important because, well, it is; just as the politically-influential are correct when they say politics is hugely important.)
Still, just because I’m a drama teacher doesn’t mean that I have skills in the cultural or creative arena, at least not that I have been able to turn to political purposes. And even if I did, was that what the “culture crowd” really meant? The word on the conservative street these days seems to be just “make good art, not conservative art as much as GOOD art.” I’m not making ANY art, I realized. I’m teaching artistic skills. Important ones, to be sure, with plenty of practical application, to kids who may or may not use them; but still, I am making nothing myself.
What do they mean by “culture” anyway? It seems to mean movies, television, music, even You Tube videos and maybe blogging. At least that’s what you get when you ask around. Granted, it’s cheaper and easier than ever to get your voice out there since You Tube came along, and people have done quite well using videos to make their views known. But I’m sure not going to be able to penetrate Hollywood.
I also see a lot of things being shared via a left-leaning site called Upworthy. Conservatives don’t have anything even close to replicating the “left-washing” that sites like Upworthy engage in. I know from Upworthy that the left has no trouble making liberal art, and making it proudly. But conservative art DOES seem to merely be affirmational, something we share to make us feel better. I’m not sure how much of it gets outside of our conservative galaxy.
So in light of that, I’ve been wondering what those of us “not artistically inclined” are supposed to be doing in the face of a chorus of “It’s the Culture, Stupid!”
Absent an answer, I spent the day sharing things like this:
From our friends at The Conservative Union, a Google Plus community “dedicated to the growth and expansion of the conservative movement.” If there’s anything that’s more relevant right now than Obamacare implementation, I can’t think of it. And these images comparing disaster movies to the real-life disaster that Obamacare is can at least get people talking, associating the word “Obamacare” with “disaster.” That’s got to be helpful in the long run; Obamacare is already losing popularity at a pretty good clip. It couldn’t hurt to keep driving nails in the coffin. And since the left uses this tactic to marginalize conservatives all the time, it’s worth it to turn that back on them – not to destroy a particular politician or leader, but to make the POLICY completely toxic.
So I support the Conservative Union team and spread the word about them by sharing their Facebook andTwitter accounts, along with these images. I do it in hopes that more people know about them and like them, and thus that more people hear their ideas and share them with their own circles of influence. I also share things like this from @GoRemy, whose response to the Obamacare Video Contest that HHS launched is a must-see.
I think these things, while conservative, also have enough cultural relevance to reach the casual onlooker, the people not paying much attention, the low-information voter.
It seems to be all I can do in the greater “culture war”, but maybe it’s enough.
(lead image by Delbert Warner https://plus.google.com/u/0/101880704837093445929/posts/Y71bmhUd8Tu)