Friday, 10/30/2015 the RNC cancelled the next debate with the mainstream media – this time, NBC – relative of CNBC, moderators of the previous debate. The candidates were very unhappy with the way the debate was run contending that they were not taken seriously. The questions, they said, were ‘gotcha’ questions, meant to demean the candidates by suggesting that they were jokes.
While I do not like the policies these extreme Republicans espouse I do think that these debates are meant to help voters hear what each candidate intends to do if they win the way to the White House. Asking someone if they are a cartoon figure is a question that should have no place in a serious debate.
Ted Cruz, who the media claims won the debate by calling attention to the tone of the moderators, said in an interview following the debate that he thinks the next debate should be moderated by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin. I find this quite interesting. Whenever I hear guests on news shows mention that Talk Radio might play a role in the voices of the Tea Party and the partisan divide in Congress the media backs off from this topic and waves a hand to indicate ‘erase that’, move on. Of course, not all Talk Radio is right wing so perhaps the term is just inaccurate. At any rate it would be difficult to have these moderators because they have no TV network giving them access to such an expensive undertaking.
And so, although we don’t talk about it much, we all know that Conservative Talk Radio has been stoking white fear, anger, and hate for decades now. Although they moved from radio to TV they did not get to stay on TV for long. Telling white people that they are the true patriots, that America was intended to be a white, Christian nation, that liberal Democrats are actually socialists, or communists who are turning the Federal government into a 1984-style dictatorship controlling every aspect of human behavior has not helped the American dialogue one bit.
These Talk Radio guys had some right on their side. It seems true that Washington, in its supposed zeal to keep Americans safe, was starting to hem people in with some pretty invasive regulations. But these guys blew the dangers of mind control way out of proportion. It would be quite easy to back off on some of the more invasive of the constraints and intrusions like those of the NSA (which actually grew out of the Patriot Acts of the Republican Presidency of George W. Bush).
However, once white people were injected with the fear of obsolescence, the specter of a brown-skinned majority holding sway over the white folks who had perhaps mistreated folks who were not white, many Americas decided that they were not looking forward to changing places and moving to an ‘inferior’ position. These fears may be well-founded or not, but such a cultural flip may not be avoidable and may not entail the retribution people fear. It would take decades of extreme repression and some rabbit-like reproductive moves on the part of white people to keep this change in check, but people used to exploitation and then freedom would not easily allow themselves to suffer a new round of repression. Maybe making nice would be a better approach and since we all have the same DNA would represent a useful leap in cultural evolution.
Anyway, here we are with all these decades of propaganda catching up with the nation and on display every time the giant panel of GOP candidates takes the stage. Did Talk Radio create the Republican base that these Republicans must now answer to or did Tea Party politicians prime the harangues of Talk Radio to create this base which now holds their feet to the fire. Did they create their own Frankenstein monster which they now fear or are they quite happy with their monstrous creation? While income inequality and the lack of rights that help women and the middle class at work seem like much more germane issues for all but the richest Americans we are instead caught up in all these false cultural straw men that cannot be solved in any ways that fit the American Democratic ideals.
Still, it might be informative to watch a Republican debate moderated by the Talk Radio hosts who have gotten very wealthy by peddling their fear and hate. In many rather monstrous ways they personify the American Dream because Americans have never minded scamming their way to the top.
By Nancy Brisson