Representin’

By Jay Hansen

So, The Young Turks decided to have a sigil contest for their participating TYT meet up cities. As bannerman to Oklahoma City, it was my obligation to make sure we got one, even if I had to make it myself. Now, I’m no graphic artist, and honestly don’t have diddly squat in the way of graphic programs, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. So, using exclusively high-quality images I found online, and my own pixel-by-pixel handy work, I managed to create this. I may do a little more touch-up work on the sigil before the deadline this Saturday, but I wanted to get something uploaded just in case I don’t get around to it.

Be kind.

Boss.

… For a novice.

The sigil had to be something simple; something you could possibly doodle on a napkin at a restaurant. That’s how I started out thinking about it. What I meant by that was it couldn’t be some massive work of art with army hordes or spaceships or sharks with freaking laser beams on their heads (though for a short time I did consider the use of Epicus Maximus). It had to be symbolic, so that’s what I went for.

The first thing most of my page viewers will probably notice is the use of the Oklahoma state flag. I wanted something that was uniquely Oklahoman, and honestly that was the only thing I could think of aside from global warming deniers and wind (which, if you didn’t know, is really hard to draw). I took out a lot of the widgets and woggles on our flag – I never really realized how many it had – to make it a little more simple and unique. I took off the word “Oklahoma,” the feathers, and the crosses. I even considered removing the Native American war shield, but ultimately felt it was a nice backdrop, especially when considering how long it would have taken to remove. I also thought about changing the background to black, but that would have made the lettering very difficult. Plus, the blue background was noticeably Oklahoman, and went on to provide further symbolic meaning.

I also kept the olive branch and peace pipe, also referred to as a calumet, as they are symbols of peace from the western, European world and Native American world, respectively. For those of you unfamiliar with Oklahoma history, that was what Oklahoma becoming a state symbolized for many people; the merging of European and Native cultures. That’s why both symbols ultimately ended up on the flag. Though I must admit, it’s an extremely ironic sentiment, given that not long after the cultures “merged” the European majority outlawed marijuana and with it, effectively, the Native American symbol of peace… and really, isn’t that representational of all European American and Native American history?

Bet you didn’t know Oklahoma’s flag basically had an ancient bong on it. Yes, we were so proud of that heritage that we put it on our flag and will imprison the hell out of you for using it.

Oklahoma!

Anyway, that’s where I started getting creative. Placed over the branch and pipe is a strong, blue shield emblazoned with the TYT logo. The blue shield represents progressivism, human reason, and the other ideals of the TYT army. The shield specifically is protecting the peace symbolized by the branch and pipe by way of reason and progressivism; it’s along these same lines I didn’t include a weapon. We’re not looking to start fights, merely protect what’s right and good in our homes and communities – as a wise warrior should – from the endless assault of ignorance, corruption, and extreme right-wing ideology, from which we’re always under attack (symbolically speaking, of course) here in Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in America.

Which brings me to the next symbols; the arrows and fire. The red arrows are being fired into the blue shield, representing the constant attacks progressives must endure daily from Republicans in this part of the country. Also notice the side of the shield in which the arrows are lodged; from the shield’s perspective, it is being attacked from the right. The fire, which is dominantly reddish in nature, represents how much of the state right-wing extremism has consumed, and even destroyed. It’s completely surrounding the shield of progressivism and the peace it’s so desperately trying to protect, all while being directly assaulted by the same place that started the fires; the political right and the Republican Party. That only left the final part of the sigil; the text.

TYT in OKC, the name of our group, and the old Young Turk axiom, hold until relieved.

Now do you see what I mean? Boss. If “hold until relieved” applies to anyone, it’s to us TYT fans in heavily Republican cities and states. Oklahoma City fits that bill perfectly, and yet we’re still hanging in the top 10 on the leader board with cities like Detroit, Seattle, and Portland.

Don’t forget that Oklahoma is the home of both Elizabeth Warren and Chelsea Manning. We don’t produce a lot of progressives, but those that we do only go on to become the greatest progressive heroes in the country, just like our TYT group. We aren’t many, but we’re mighty.

Oklahoma may not be number one in education, intelligence, health, well being, happiness, progressives policies, human reasoning skills, or TYT fans, but until the day we are, hold until relieved.

(Now I just hope I didn’t mess up the technical specifications!)

Help Bring TYT to OKC!

By Jay Hansen

We interrupt your regularly scheduled political article with some awesome news! Many of you know that I’m The Young Turk’s bannerman for the Oklahoma City area, and have been since last November. Well, early this year, The Young Turks launched the point system to foster a friendly competition among the different TYT meet up groups across the world. The group with the most points by their next anniversary – February 14th, 2015 – will get a special visit from Cenk and Ana at one of their meet ups! When I first heard that, I loved the idea, but honestly didn’t think Oklahoma City stood a chance. I mean, we, Oklahoma City, are competing against Detroit, Chicago, Orlando, Seattle, and many, many more, to see who’s city has the most number and most enthusiastic fans of a very progressive, very secular online talk show. I thought on attendance alone we were going to get clobbered for sure, because you get points per attendee to your meet ups, and my wife and I are so busy with our own group Oklahoma BBW, BHM, and Admirers that we can’t afford the time to host meet ups very often. So surely, we’re near the bottom of the list, right?

Waaaait a minute!

WHAT
IS
THIIIIIIIIS?!?!?!

 

As of last night Oklahoma City is leading with the most points, 1,190! Sure, it’s super early on, and I’m positive we’re going to slide out of the lead at some point in the future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rise back to it! At the onset of this project the most I was hoping for was just to show people (“people” mostly meaning Ana Kasparian) that Oklahoma City isn’t some barren wasteland of a ignorant Republican masses layered with a thick frosting of FOX “News” and a few sprinkles of mega wealthy businessmen. In a small way, we’ve already achieved that just by making it to the top of the leader board even if just for a short time. Just by hanging in there with the “big guys” like Chicago and Seattle we can prove our worth, but now I can’t help but wonder if we actually have a tiny hope of possibly winning this thing.

Is that blue I see?

Obviously our group’s biggest weaknesses at the moment are that we only have meet ups once every other month, and our attendance is still quite low. Meet ups are worth 100 points, and are the primary backbone of the point system. Also like I said, you get points per attendee (10 points per person). For a full list of point values, go to TYTworld.com by clicking the link. Hopefully, we can soon rectify our low attendance, because I’ve begun reaching out to other group owners such as those of Oklahoma Atheists and the UCO Skeptics Society (I genuinely had to pause there and think is there an apostrophe in ‘skeptics?’). We also have some awesome group members that are trying to bring in their politically like-minded friends, which is always welcome! Attendance will only be as good as our recruitment is guys, so please feel free to invite anyone and everyone you can! Reach out to any organizations you think would be interested in The Young Turks!

I could go on and on about how happy I am about our… appearance on the leader board, let alone being at the top, and my general plans of how to fix our current weaknesses, but if wishes and buts were candy and nuts… something something we’re wasting time. SO, if you’d like to help out our meet up group and help bring TYT to OKC, here’s some super simple things you can do – some of it you can do right now at your computer in the time it takes to read this article or less!

How you can help bring TYT to OKC!

  1. Do you have a website or blog? If so, do you have a Young Turk banner on it yet? A member of our group putting a banner on their website for the TYT Network is worth 100 points! That’s as much as a whole meet up and you can do it right now in just a few seconds! To my understanding, anywhere on your website will do. I’ve done so for my own website in my links section. Please feel free to use my links page as a model for your own banner! Just don’t forget to tell me that you have – otherwise, it can’t be recorded for points! If you experience any technical problems posting the banner on your site, feel free to ask me for help. I’m no tech genius but if we put our heads together along with my good friend Google it should be doable!
  2. Do you have any friends that would be interested in The Young Turks? They could be progressive or not, religious or secular – The Young Turks has a little bit of something for everyone! Cast your net wide, friends, and invite them to come with you to the next meet up, which is scheduled for Tuesday May 13th at 6:00 PM at Hideaway Pizza on Memorial Road in Oklahoma City. Attending new comers that are being introduced to the show and community are worth extra points on top of the 10 they’re worth for just attending! Ask anyone that would be interested, and be sure to check in with local organizations that may be interested as well. I’ve already listed a couple I’ve started getting in contact with, but surely there’s lots more out there! Attending a college with a Young Democrats club? Working for a Democratic candidate’s campaign? Frequently attend protests over environmental issues? ASK AROUND to see if anyone can come support us! Shamelessly name drop if necessary!
  3. Do you own any TYT swag? Okay, okay, a bit of product placement here, but whatever gets us points. Do you own a TYT shirt or hat? Be sure to wear it to the meet ups! People photographed wearing swag are also worth bonus points on top of the regular worth of uploading event photos. If you haven’t ordered one, you can at ShopTYT.com. Tell them Jay sent you and… well, nothing special happens. Sorry guys, I’m not that powerful yet.
  4. Do you write for, appear in, or could you contribute to any media outlets like newspapers, magazines, TV shows, web shows, or other outlets? If yes, I DEFINITELY need to get in contact with you immediately. There are two huge cash cows for points, and they’re getting The Young Turks mentioned in a newspaper (a huge 500 points) or getting them mentioned on live TV (a whopping 1,000 points! [and no, guest appearances on COPS don't count]). Recently, I got The Young Turks mentioned in the web magazine I write for, Large in Charge Magazine, and even that was worth an additional 100 points, so if you have this kind of opportunity please help support us! University publications and local or state-wide papers that allow for reader commentary could be a great source of such opportunity, especially if you already hold some sort of position on a candidate’s campaign or in a local political organization.
  5. Should we do meet ups more often? This is one I’m genuinely starting to contemplate a little. My wife and I are super busy with our own group as well as a bazillion other projects we’re working on at any given time, so it would be a huge demand on us. However, I have had a thought that could lead somewhere. If our group gets big enough, I wonder if we would be allowed to “deputize” an active, dependable member as sort of a “Deputy Bannerman,” that could host events on the off-months. Our last one was this month, in March, and our next one is May, so a “Deputy Bannerman” would host an April and June event, just as an example. I don’t even know if we’re allowed to do that right now, but it’s worth mulling over. Is there anyone out there that might be interested in doing this? You would need to have some means of airing the live show (airs from 5-7PM our time) during the meet up and take lots and lots of pictures throughout the meet up to document all the attendees, the new comers, the TYT swag, us watching the live stream, and other responsibilities. Still very much in the contemplation stage at the moment, but please think it over!
  6. Miscellaneous – do you have a special talent or gift that you could use for the powers of good? The Young Turks have the option of a sort of “miscellaneous” category for possible points. Currently, I do a TYT Clip of the Day segment in the TYT Meet Ups Oklahoma City Facebook Group (which if you haven’t joined yet, do now!), and I’ve been reassured that if I can keep it up long enough, and the powers that be can choose how much it’s worth, that I’ll get points for that. When I first went into this contest I thought to myself that, given our lower turnouts, our best hope may be doing all sorts of silly stuff – can you write and perform a song for TYT? Can you make a badass shirt design? Can you make some epic work of art dedicated to the glory of The Young Turks? It may be a long shot, but you never know! The worst case scenario, we’re told no and don’t get any points for it – we’ll still surely get plenty of attention for our group with any truly great feats our group can create! The more attention, the more members, and the more members, the more points! And you never know, if the feat or work of art is great enough, it could get us mentioned in a paper or TV news anyway!
  7. Sign the Wolf-PAC petition to get money out of politics! … Alright, fine, so this one is totally not worth points, but YOU SHOULD DO IT ANYWAY! It takes even less time than posting a banner on your blog or updating Facebook! Click this link to go to the Wolf-PAC website and sign the petition!

That’s it for today, folks! You’ve got your assignments; now go forth and earn points in any way you can! Together, we may actually stand a chance at winning this competition, and even if we don’t we can at least show the rest of the world that Oklahoma City has plenty of progressives, secularists, and people that care about an honest and independent media, and that, in the words of Cenk himself, Oklahoma City is not to be denied!

For the glory of TYT in OKC!

NEXT MEET UP: Tuesday, May 13th at 6:00 PM

MEET UP LOCATION: Hideaway Pizza, 5950 Memorial Road in Oklahoma City, 73142.

Socializing Terms

By Jay Hansen

In my hallucinogenic-like attempts at slumber in the past week of drugs, illness, and Star Trek, I had a couple of curious thoughts come across my mind about politics that I scrabbled down on a notepad by the bed. Most I’m still trying to decipher. One I had a little help from The Young Turks in remembering, though, because this was a news story that aired Monday evening.

That video pretty much said it all so let me see if I can squeeze a whole article out of this one-liner idea I had. It’s no secret that there’s been significant demonization of the word “liberal” in the media because of relentless, unending attacks from the political right. To this day major members of the media that claim to be unbiased reporters or real journalists will openly cite conservative-slanted polls and say without note or hesitation that the entire American voting populace is only one-fifth liberal. Rarely do they admit that these polls are done based on self-reporting. Many Americans are very ignorant of political terminology and genuinely don’t know under which ideology their beliefs and values fall. Because of the unending war against the word “liberal,” people choose not to identify by it when asked “do you identify as liberal, centrist, or conservative?” When asked on an issue-by-issue basis however, be it protecting Social Security, legalizing pot, legalizing gay marriage, withdrawing from Afghanistan, taxing the wealthy, the budget, or a myriad of other issues, Americans are overwhelmingly liberal or at least left-leaning. This discrepancy, like I said, is because people genuinely don’t realize that wanting to maintain Social Security or withdrawing from Afghanistan or wishing their two best friends that happen to be gay should be allowed to get married makes them a liberal. You wouldn’t know this by listening to the mainstream media though, which is exactly what conservatives depend upon. Republicans need voters confused on which candidate actually represents their personal ideology, otherwise they can’t win. It’s much easier to trick a voter into thinking they’re a conservative that should therefore vote for the “conservative” candidate than to make arguments or analyze politics on an issue-by-issue basis.

As Cenk’s story about Frank Luntz pointed out though, Republicans are quickly starting to lose the name game. Seriously, who in this country doesn’t know that the phrase “job creator” is a code word for the rich? Or what about that time Republicans pretended that our society is not one of “haves and have nots” by saying instead we have “haves and soon to haves,” whitewashing economic inequality in this nation and making it seem like a good thing. Then we have the word “entitlement,” which was used by Republicans as a derisive way to describe Social Security and Medicare (a sense of entitlement being bad in the eyes of Americans), but as time went on people realized that these programs are entitlements because it’s their money – they’re entitled to it! Plus, as the income gap in this nation grows, people are beginning to see the word in a different light, and are beginning to apply it to those whom truly deserve; the upper-upper class Republicans continue to defend as “job creators.” Now even words like Capitalism and phrases like middle class are polling extremely badly when Republicans talk about them (click here for an excellent example of Republicans trying to seriously wage the language war on the term “middle class,” further testifying to the strength of party strategists like Luntz), likely because they continue to defend the status quo in America and stick these words to it; something along the lines of “America is a capitalistic country, and look at the bountiful, prosperous city on a hill our capitalistic system hath brought us… now go back to working your three jobs for slave wages. I need a second yacht.”

Okay, my guess is they wouldn’t include that last sentence, but that’s my point; it’s the reality Americans are living in every day now. Republicans go on and on, fawning over and praising our capitalistic values, completely ignorant of the fact that for a vast, vast majority of Americans our current (crony) capitalist system is ruining their lives, and in some cases even killing them.

Now of course Republicans are still fighting and winning on the word “liberal,” even if not the ideology, but we’re starting to see a point where their focused efforts on the word may be doing more harm than good to themselves in both ideology and terminology. First of all, the word progressive is the most popular political title in America right now. On that alone, Republicans are fighting a losing war here in terminology, but there’s another shocking occurrence in this same line of thought. A poll from a few years ago found that nearly one-third of the country views the term Socialism positively. Among young voters, that number goes up even higher with half of all 18-29 year olds viewing the term positively, and only 43% viewing it negatively. So for whatever reason, it would appear Americans are actually in a period where they’re turning more towards Socialism, an ideology even further left-wing than contemporary American liberalism.

This always struck me as odd given the demonization of liberalism in America and the fact that no one is defending Socialism. Seriously; when was the last time you got to hear someone defend Socialism in the mainstream media? When was the last time we had a politician, even feebly, try to meekly suggest that Socialists aren’t hell-bound infidels? The fact that the term has come so far with so few people in positions of power even considering defending it has always struck me as odd. I’ve always found a little bit of hope in it, because maybe the American people are turning out to be a little smarter than I thought if, whether you agree with Socialism or not, they’re disregarding the suggestions of the mainstream establishment and going out to find their own ideology rather than thinking and voting however they are told. Now though, especially after this news about Frank Luntz, I’m wondering if there’s another small, extremely ironic, hand at play here.

The word liberal has been demonized to no end. It’s been attacked so much that even left-wingers that clearly and obviously fall under a liberal ideology won’t call themselves a liberal. Republicans did this in a war of words to try to get the establishment to view the country as center-right, since doing so would drive more people to self-identify as centrists or conservatives. What if, though, in driving people away from the word “liberal,” they drove them in the wrong direction? A person likely wouldn’t change their political beliefs based on a word (a rose by any other name), and liberals that wish to identify as something else know it’s just not true to say they’re conservatives or centrists, so where were they to go? Apparently, there are one of two answers; progressive and Socialist.

Could the Republican smear campaign against the word liberal have actually driven more people to Socialism?

As we learned from Luntz, right-wing and conservative terminology and word games are getting harder and harder to play. Conservative terminology and key terms used in right-wing framing are becoming less and less palatable to the American people. We may not be experiencing an equal shift from conservative ideology, but Republicans have never really cared to genuinely persuade people with rational arguments or ideas, just terminology (though their ideology is also starting to take a serious tumble after the past two years). They don’t need to persuade you to believe their nonsensical trickle-down economics or that increases in extreme weather patterns are because of gay marriage and not global climate change; they just have to fool you just enough to swing your vote in an election, which they can much more easily do in a war of words than ideas (given how poor their ideas are). The problem is, this war could be completely back firing on them now in the long-term. Yes, they’ve successfully scared a large portion of this country away from the word liberal, including actual liberals. They’re also driving them away from conservativism by just being themselves over the past couple of years. So instead of identifying in camp right-wing, people are instead running towards either an alienated, angry center that just wants to change our corrupt establishment, regardless of how or into what (America’s independent, untapped anger), or back towards the left, and they go to the left seeking out new terms other than “liberal.” Right now it’s primarily the term “progressive,” as the polls show, but with such a large portion of our nation, particularly its youth, actually responding favorably to Socialism, things could get very interested politically in the next few decades.

Socialists, meet our “alienated, angry center,” and “independent, untapped anger,” and see what happens, because say what you want about Socialism; it would be one hell of a new day in America if actual Socialists were running for our nation’s highest offices.