I am very disappointed that the American people are so susceptible to political propaganda. The Republicans have played us like violins. They have supported the most strident pundits on the FOX network for most of the past 4 years. They also have bombarded radio audiences and the internet with every kind of technique ever invented to sway public opinion and they have done it endlessly and unrelentingly.
Name calling has been one of their favorite devices. They have called Obama a “Socialist”, Hitler, a Nazi, a Muslim, a terrorist, an alien (not the space kind, the non-citizen kind). They have used repetition as a sledge hammer. Say the same thing, say it over and over again, repeat it at every interview, in every newspaper and magazine article, and it will start to ring true. It will create a self-fulfilling prophecy and sweep their party into office on rhetoric alone. They have used the “I’m rubber, you’re glue; everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you” technique over and over with issues like women’s rights and the issue of divisiveness. They turn what we thought we knew inside out and upside down and people are buying this.
It makes me sad to see people being “brainwashed” by those who know what strings to pull. They prey on people’s fears of terrorism which are relatively new to us and they prey on our fear that white people are losing control of America and that America will become a nation in which white people, as the new minority will have little or no say about what will happen in America. Of course they do not state it so baldly but they want to make us believe that America will become a Spanish nation or a nation of color and the Constitution will no longer call the shots in America even though all of these groups are proud American citizens. They remind people that their hard-earned dollars are paying for people who have been institutionalized by government handouts and people start bellyaching about that until it makes them almost physically ill or so angry they start oiling their guns.
The pundits are whipping up these frightened white guys and even some white women who have perhaps already been displaced at their jobs by a new policy that favored diversity in the work place and which replaced expensive workers with seniority and no college with college educated and perhaps minority “youngsters” who could be offered starting salaries. The pundits are using the residual anger of middle-aged white men who were forced out of their jobs during their peak earning years to elect the Republicans, who are laying claim to the Conservative grounds of a fundamentalist Constitutional interpretation. They insist over and over that America is on the wrong path without specifying exactly what the wrong path is beyond saying that government is too big and too invasive because if they spelled it all out they would be properly identified as bigots. They try to distract us from noticing that they have actually come to espouse some even nuttier ideas on science and social issues.
We have let these fear-mongers pull our chains and blow air up our skirts and any other invasive clichés we can think up. They have treated us like puppets by finding our fears and playing on them. They have identified the buried anger in displaced workers and have been happy to subtly kick it up a notch or two. They have blamed other Americans for simply going after the American Dream and they have diverted anger from the real culprits who shipped the jobs overseas. Those new workers often did not get to enjoy their promotions for very long. None of us realized that we were going to be caught up in a global economic tsunami. We should feel embarrassed that we are so easily led by stirring speeches that are oh so wrong in content and intent. Drama may be fun; it may wake us up and make us feel alive, but it is not necessarily true or real.
What people think they long for is no longer possible. The world is changing and the changes cannot be stopped and they cannot be reversed without genocide, environmental disaster, or divine intervention. We can try to build a wall all around America to keep out the future but I hate to think about what we will become if we take this path. We will be living in a global world unless all engines cease working and people can no longer travel long distances quickly. Diversity is unavoidable. Dealing with the baggage of other nations is unavoidable. The fears that these tricky talkers are riling up are dinosaurs from a past to which we no longer have access. The future will find us no matter how hard we try to regress. Will we like the future? I think the chances are greater if we stay in the game and try to help design a future we can accept than if we wail and moan and go to the trenches to escape the changes that are already in process. One way we can keep ourselves present in inventing the future is to refuse to elect the party of propaganda, the party of sleight of speech, those carnival shills, the Republicans. Elect Democrats to disperse the cloud of obfuscation. They have a more understanding approach to the future.