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Editor’s Page

Liz Betit

Volume 3 Issue 10 October 2009

“ Exploitation and the Blessings of Freedom”

There is an episode of “Family Guy” where Lois Griffin, infamous mother of Stewie, gets fed up with the pollution in Quahog’s lake and decides that she is going to run for Mayor and do something about the problem. She’s just a regular Joe with no real political experience but she’s hopping mad about the pollution. At her first political debate, against Quahog’s incumbent mayor, Mayor West (played by former TV batman, Adam West), she finds herself in a hall full of people, with a commentator that won’t give her the time of the day. Everytime she opens her mouth to comment on an issue, the commentator tells her, “ time’s up.” The hall of people are not listening and barely notices that she is there. In her frustration, she decides to try another tactic and when the commentator poses the next question, she replies, “9/11” and then “terrorism”. The crowd goes wild and jumps from their seats. They begin to ask her questions about her stance on the issues, and she replies to each and every one of the questions with the response, “ 9/11” or “terrorism” Her entire campaign is run on those two comments, “9/11”/”terrorism” and believe it or not, Lois is elected as the new Mayor of Quahog. The episode continues on from there but what I’m really interested in, is the tactic that she used in order to grab the people’s attention. Seth McFarland, creator and voices of Peter, Brian, and Stewie Griffin, ete., uses humor in his animated show to comment on political and social life in America. Much the same way that Norman Lear used the character, Archie Bunker, in “All in the Family” to get us to take a look at ourselves and society. This particular episode of “Family Guy” aired during one of the seasons after 9/11, to demonstrate how the Bush Administration was exploiting that event to promote the political ends of the administration at that time. McFarland realized that 9/11 and the thought of terrorism evoked a certain kind of emotional response within Americans and he took it to extremes to prove his point. It was a bold move in a time when the president said basically, that if we didn’t think like he did then we weren’t American or “with him”. We are standing on the threshhold of the current political season and one can see already that this tactic is in full deployment not just in regards to Healthcare Reform but also in Maine, particularly around the issue of Marriage Equality. I was really disheartened to see the furor around Pres. Obama speaking with American’s children about their responsibility to themselves in getting an education. This is not a new thing, American presidents have been addressing America’s youth for a long time. But it smacks of what I was referring to in the August issue about the lack of civics education in our schools. Here was a perfect opportunity for schools to teach students

about the democratic process and some schools caved in to the conservative viewpoint. The most important thing that we can teach to the future upholders of our democracy is to seek information from many sources, to look at ALL perspectives and then make an “informed” choice when it comes time to vote. The latest political commercial to air on Maine TVs against equality in marriage tells us that gay marriage will be a part of the curriculm in our schools if we vote “NO” on 1. This cannot be further from the truth. Maine schools follow the “State of Maine Learning Guidelines”. If you want to know what is required of Maine schools to teach then go to the State Dept. of Education and pick up a copy of Maine’s learning results. Between the Maine Educational Assessment and the assessment requirements of “No Child Left Behind”, teachers do not have the time to add anything new to the curriculm. What these opponents of Equality in Marriage are doing is no different then what Seth Green did with Lois evoking “9/11” in order to get elected. And no different then Sarah Palin telling us that the democratic plan for Health Care Reform includes “Death Squads” to determine who gets treatment or not and still again not different then the oppornents against Marriage Equality telling us that gay marriage will be promoted in our schools. It’s all the same, we are being “emotionally exploited”. defines the word, exploitation as 1) use or utilization for profit, 2) selvish utilization or 3) the combined often varied use of public-relations and advertising techniques to promote a person, product, idea, etc.. Think about it. Marriage in many religions is

a sacrament. But marriage, as defined within the Marriage Equality law is a legal definition. It is about rights. No where is there contained in the law that any church has to marry a same sexed couple. I do not know how America can go off and point fingers at other countries for their human rights failures when right here in our own country, the rights of other human beings living right here and U.S. citizens,are not being upheld! Being married is not a priveledge;it’s a fundamental right! The Declaration of Independence signed in 1776 begins with, “ ...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal , that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty,

and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution written in 1786 begins with, “We the People of the United States , in order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquilthe common defence, general Welfare and ings of Liberty to Posterity....” I have typed actly as they were capitalized words, as originally. Notice are capitalized in the dependence: Rights, Happiness. And in the U.S. ConstituJustice, TranquilBlessings of Lib-

ity, provide for promote the secure the Blessourselves and our these quotes exwritten and the they were written the words that Declaration of InLife, Liberty, and the Preamble to tion, the words: ity, Welfare,the erty and Poster-

ity. When words are capitalized within a sentence like these, it is to show the importance of that word/idea. These ideas of Rights, Life, Liberty, Happiness, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare (safety) and the Blessings of Liberty were extremely important to not only the writers of these documents but to the founding fathers of our country. This is the basis of the United States of America. THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE. Also worth noting, in the Declaration of Independence, is Jefferson’s use of “ THEIR Creator” and not “THE” Creator when he talks of who endowed inalienable rights upon mankind. Jefferson recognized back then, more than 200 years ago, the variety of points of view and perspectives. England’s religion was the religion of the King and it did not take into account, the religious beliefs of Englands’ citizens and British subjects were persecuted for having religious beliefs that didn’t reflect the views of the King. That is why we have the freedom to worship as we see fit and also why the founding fathers insisted on a separation of church and state. So that one religious perspective would not be shoved down the throats of all the citizens of America. A vote of “no” on question 1 is not an approval of the gay lifestyle or same sexed marriages but rather a vote for the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. A “no” vote on 1, is a vote for Rights, Life, Liberty, Happiness, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare, the Blessings of Liberty and Posterity. A “no” vote on 1 is a belief in America and all that she stands for. The Blessings of Liberty, these are not just pretty words but a beautiful ideal for all of mankind....think about it.


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Volume 3 Issue 10 October 2009 Page 8