Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blasted Bits Of Blowed-Up Minds

Barack Obama has been in office for over three years, and yet it seems there's hardly any inclination on the part of Rs to engage him on the issues. Not, at least, on the issues as they actually are. Instead, we're in some sort of time-warp, regressing like Bridey Murphy to where Red-baiting is back in vogue, and lunatics are peddling conspiracy theories on every street corner. Bits of grey matter (very small bits, given whence they originated) are strewn about the landscape as reactionary heads explode, here, there, now, then, popping off randomly, like an abandoned mine field, triggered by disoriented rats.

I think there are two reasons for this.

First, and, I'm pretty sure, foremost, is the inability of so many to countenance the idea of that black family in that white house. He gets another term? Unimaginable. The fact that our president is black, smart, witty, a family guy with great kids -- all of that and much more simply isn't tolerable to these people. My god, it was he -- and not George Bush!! -- that got bin Laden!!! (Thus the claims, often by the same people and in the same sentence, that Osama isn't really dead and that he died years ago; and, lately, that it's no big deal.) It speaks too deeply to their own self-doubts and fears. Witness the increasing dredging up of old lies and conspiracies, as if the president's record never happened: he's a Muslim, a terrorist-collaborator, he hates America, he's gay and had people killed to cover it up (yep, that's a claim, too. What must it be like, living inside a head like that?), he's damaging America so the Communists can re-take Russia. Insane stuff. Stuff away from which all evidence points, trickle-down beliefs of the tin-foil hatted. What's behind it? Hatred. Racism. Which, as it always has, translates into deep-seated self-doubt and -loathing. Having Barack Obama as president threatens everything they try to believe about themselves and about the world they wished they lived in; to keep themselves out of their own crosshairs, they're obliged to come up with this stuff.

I think I feel pity for these people, so insecure and frightened of themselves as they are. It's gotta be hard living in their world, in which demons and ghosts and scary things are everywhere. To have a president named Barack Hussein Obama, who looks so different from their barely-maintained self-image, who got bin Laden, who saved the auto industry for capitalists, under whom the economy is doing better than any other country in the West, who's trying meaningfully to reform health care -- all that must threaten to take down every wall they've so carefully built between themselves and the intrusion of reality. Given their slippery grip on their own minds, loosening with each day Obama remains in office, it's not hard to feel a little sympathy. Were they not so destructively damaging the rest of us, that is.

Second, but what would be foremost were we merely a nation of people who need lies to maintain their falsehoods, rather than one of so many frightened bigots, is the fact that there's nothing positive about their own agenda on which Rs can base a campaign. You can only spin greed so far; you can only demand return to policies which dragged us down to within a hare's breath of irreversible destruction by lying about the alternatives and pretending they haven't been helping. You can't sell tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of everything that makes us a nation without deceiving the electorate about your purposes. Choosing boats over butter, tax cuts over health care, education, infrastructure; claiming this time around, after it's failed every time it's been tried, Reaganomics will work just peachy.

So, even as we approach an existentially critical election, we see one side descending into paranoid fantasy and distraction from the implications of their true agenda; and the other side, despite the advantage of owning the truth, unable in their very bones to get out a coherent and effective message. What ought to be the most lopsided election in history, with so much at stake for so many people who stand to lose so much if Rs get more control, looks to be a potential squeaker. Why? Well, because of those two things I mentioned; and because of the other thing I've said until I'm sick of saying it: the unbelievably effective propagandizing and dumbification of a stunningly gullible and magic-thinking electorate, by the most cynical campaign of disinformation and deliberate attacks on education and expertise since... what? The poisoning of Socrates? The heresy trial of Galileo? The selection of Sarah Palin as vice-presidential candidate?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Anonymous: please honor my request to include something by which to distinguish your anonymity from others. All it takes is an initial, or cute name at the end of the comment; no special sign-in is necessary.

  3. Ellen! I'd just been thinking about you and wondering where you've been.

    There are various May Day activities in Seattle, and the police have announced concerns about violence, which hasn't, far as I know, materialized.

    Not sure how to handle your request, however; or what exactly it is you're requesting...


Comments back, moderated. Preference given for those who stay on topic.

Popular posts