Message from President Eric Rudin
STOPPING THE DEMONIZATION
Dear Fellow Culver City Democrats United Members and Supporters,
I have often wondered, “If I had only one source of information and that source was feeding me only lies, would I eat the lies up or would I figure out a way to find the truth?” Of course, there are a myriad of layers to trying to answer that question. For instance, if you live in a country that violently stamps out dissent and controls all sources of information (i.e., what is accessible online as well as what comes on your television screen), then it is going to be a lot harder to come across what is true and what is a lie. But in the U.S., we do not have these obstacles. Even so, some of us choose to live in a reality that we, ourselves, have chosen. Allow me to explain.
The media companies in United States, led by Fox News, figured out long ago that making their audiences angry and telling them whom to blame for their woes (yes, I am paraphrasing the American President), gets high ratings and a lot of engagement. It is the reason why one set of channels has investigated Hunter Biden as though he controlled the world, and the other set of channels is all Trump all the time. Now, at least MSNBC anchors base their reporting and opinions on facts while Fox News has avoided liability in court by declaring its viewers should expect that the anchors may not be leaning on facts. But still, we’re being spoon fed the same stories and opinions ad nauseam.
To that end, so many of us get our “news” from the social media feeds that serve as an echo chamber and from the same sources that reinforce our own political beliefs. What ends up happening to those of us who fall into that trap? People who don’t adhere the agendas in our bubbles are ostracized and demonized. That is how social media companies, and the media at large, make their money. We keep clicking. We keep watching. And it is hardly ever positive.
The answer to the problem of getting out of our bubbles is a tough one. Weeding through the material getting reported as “news” could take forever; however, reading opinions and pieces we might disagree with is a good start. Look, I’m not saying to ditch Rachel Maddow (she’s speaking here in Culver City at the Robert Frost Auditorium on October 22, 2023 for her book tour FYI) and watch Sean Hannity, but after Rachel’s hour on Monday is over, maybe consume some news from a different media outlet that is covering different issues. Or, for local issues, if all you read are pieces on the same local Culver City website (I’m not listing it here because I don’t want to give it the attention), instead, attend a City Council or CCUSD School Board meeting and hear the positions of our elected officials from the officials, themselves. Maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to demonize our local leaders if we humanized them first?
As described above, “alternative facts” and demonization are obviously national problems, but, as alluded to above, they are local problems as well. Over the past few years, I have read personal attacks levied against our Mayor, Albert Vera, with each one more nauseating than the next. There have been attacks against his father, who is deceased, and some have tried to use his daughter, who is not in politics, as part of their arguments against the Mayor. Have we no shame? Look, it’s fine to disagree with our Mayor, or any political figure for that matter. But demonizing people by attacking their families? Why?
It doesn’t stop there either. We’ve seen fellow Culver City citizens, including former elected officials (I’d cite to some of Former Mayor Alex Fisch’s tweets but he is the one person I am aware of who has ever blocked me – If you want to follow him, you’d better agree with him), levy heinous attacks at our City Council, in particular, at Mayor Vera and Councilmembers Eriksson and O’Brien. Some have attacked the three leaders by misstating their positions and some have resorted to outright lies to further their agendas. It got so bad before one City Council meeting that I wondered if our police department was aware of the attacks and threats online. It turned out I wasn’t the only one who was worried. A few other concerned citizens had already reached out. Thankfully there was no violence, just more vitriol, but in today’s day and age, we can’t be too careful. Also, a note to those who engage in incitement: If you have to make up your own facts or skew data to push through your agenda, it’s probably not a very good agenda to begin with.
On a more pleasant note, a couple of weekends ago, we had a great Fiesta La Ballona. While I was there, I saw a few elected officials with whom I could not disagree more on many local issues. Rather than ignore each other, we had polite conversations and even found some common ground on a couple of issues. I don’t know what will come of it, but I can tell you this: It’s much more productive to work on things we agree upon than levy disgusting attacks on one another.
To conclude, I find that most of us want the same thing. We want our families and neighbors to live happy lives in welcoming neighborhoods with good schools. We may disagree on the ways to get there, but that’s fine. All I am asking is that we think about others before we act, and certainly before we go into the bubbles some of us have created for ourselves. Stop with the Twitter fingers and self-righteousness. Instead, be an actual force for good in our community and society at large. While those likes and reaffirming comments on social media may feel good in the moment, in the end, is that what life is really about? I sure hope not.
Culver City Democrats United President