Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
At the final debate President Obama was on point, clearly knowledgeable versus being coached, and had the better one-liners of the evening. He’s also still the black guy to about 43% of the country. Advantage: ROMNEY.
The 47%. Race. Unions. Women’s rights. Food Stamps. Medicaid. Student Loans. LGBT issues. Know the code. Anyone who thinks that this election is about the economy is delusional or an outright liar. This election is about tribalism and its hold on American power. The white “Us” against the “Other” and the “Lesser.”
2012 will go down in the history books as the last hurrah for a dwindling white majority. It is all about keeping “them” in their place for another generation in an America that has diversified away from white power.
Prior to 2008, the punditocracy projected limited success for then potential candidate Barack Obama. They forecast that it would be a decade or more before America was “ready” for a black president.
Obama victory was due to complex cosmic tumblers: The horrific melt-down of the U.S. economy; the crippling of political giving by corporations and by the 1%; the enormous backlash against Republicans because of it; and the charismatic Mr. Obama with his leading-edge, Internet savvy grass roots organization; A mean-spirited McCain, pea-brained Palin and a diversifying America being wholly ignored by the GOP. All of that carried the President over the top.
In 2008 the GOP slammed the access hatch to their party shut to “others.” Pushed by the fundamentalist and racist Bircher Libertarian Right (The Koch Brothers et al.), McCain went Palin and Tea Party, hard Right and lilly White. Republicans in all quarters pandered to fear of the Other and of the Lesser, those poorer than the majority.
Food stamps, Unions, fear of socialism, religious suppression, guns being taken away, and the fear of the “other” burdening the health care system, even though those with no insurance are often white and retired, are the “they” moments that Republicans use as props. Selling fear of someone else is key to creating tribal cohesion.
Fear of the Lesser is crystallized in Mr. Romney’s 47% remark, and in comments that his followers make about Obamacare and not having to pay for someone else’s insurance, unemployment, or general welafre.
“… in a cycle as old as tribalism, ignorance of the Other engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence; violence engenders further violence until the only “rights”, the only law, are whatever is willed by the most powerful.”
The alternative Republican reality that I shared with you last week in “When Politics Becomes Religion” is a key element in the bid of the 1% to assert power when they have the fiscally, socially, and societally weaker argument to hold power, and a General Sherman-like path of destruction of the American economy over thirty selfish years in their wake.
There is a reason that Mitt Romney’s campaign sports the “Believe” element in his slogan.
Belief requires no reality. Belief is the acceptance that something is true or that something exists when evidence, facts, do not support that thought. Democrats largely are big on facts. They want the provable, the rational, the scientific. They embrace progress, change, and science.
Republicans used to have members of the Party that, even though they approached the world from a different, more fear driven perspective, still lived in the real world. Driven out by the Koch-Libs and the religious Right over the decades, we have evolved a politics in America whose political and media culture have been tainted by the same fear, fiction and fantasy that sells everything from religion to Rolaids.
Results? A woman in Oakland Park, Florida sporting an Adam Hasner for Congress T-Shirt clucks to her friends in a local breakfast shop about how “that” Obama is using the Muslim Brotherhood to turn out the majority minority that will “ruin everything.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is a frequent topic in GOP and Tea Party twitter chat. Let Freedom Ring, a religious Right conservative group has launched a $7M ad campaign in the last weeks of the campaign to sell more Muslim-Obama scare-mongering. It’s a new twist to stoke the pervasive birtherism that was fired up in the 2008 race.
ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes went to a Romney debate watch last week. He reports:
“If I learned anything from watching last night’s presidential debate in a room full of Mitt Romney supporters, it’s that President Obama cannot speak English, wanted Americans in Benghazi to die, hopes America will be taken over by the Islamic world, carries a literal Communist Party card, and should be sent back to Mexico.”
Ads like this one courtesy Boca Raton multi-millionaire Marc Goldman and his frightened friends supporting the shadow PAC called APSuperPac.org have lined I-95 from Miami to Palm Beach with billboards trying to sell “otherism,” economy fear and Israel with “Obama, Oy Vey” with an unhealthy dash of racist belief language:
Routes to the debate were littered with signs the night before that said “Save America! Fire Obama”
Mr. Obama is the embodiment of the “other” to a huge swath of American whites. His is seen as a gateway political career that will open the door to the “Other” takeover of America much as FDR was in a time when the “Other” was a very small percentage of the American public.
Mr. Romney’s team are masters at the Leni Riefenstahl school of propaganda.
Belief is why Romney goes after PELL grants by telling people that “we can’t afford them.” It puts out a signal that causes a certain level of media amnesia to the truth.
A recent New York Times article on the cost of college education notes that Mr. Obama has opened up PELL grants for college to millions of students who otherwise couldn’t have afforded them, yet it only discusses the Republican push-back in terms of the dollars, with nary a mention of the fact that the majority of those included in that opportunity expanded by PELL are minorities and women.
Belief is why the Romney campaign tells people that they need to repeal the Lilly Leadbetter Fair Pay Act.
Post-2010 GOP dominated legislative majorities have not rolled out much in the way of pro-jobs bills
The tribal imperative to keep women by the home fire and pregnant, however, has lead to hundreds of pieces of legislation introduced at all levels of government to restrict women’s rights in the workplace and to health care and free choice to do with their body what they will reproductively.
Belief is why Romney told his base that he would endorse state repeal of same-sex marriage.
He would restore Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) even though analysis by the military of removing the prohibitions against LGBT personnel have amounted to a non-issue for the Armed Forces.
None of the ballyhoo of John McCain and other key Republicans amounted to a grain of truth.
Gays are the “other amongst us” the gender tribe within the tribe that must be purged to keep homogenous, with all that ironically implies, purity.
Belief is how Romney sells his disastrous handling of foreign affairs. His outlandish $2T bulwark of the military the Maginot Line of his campaign. It would not survive opposition by the Democrats in the real world, and Mr. Romney knows it. In the debates, however, Obama sells reality, and Romney sells belief. $2T sounds like a nice big safety blanket, doesn’t it?
Belief is why Romney mentioned the Russians. There are a lot of seniors out there who respond well to the Cold War to this day.
Belief is why Romney talks tough about China, even though he has done and will continue to do business with them that disadvantages American workers. Look at what Bain is doing in Freeport. That is the reality, yet it barely makes a blip in a media equally saturated in the sticky ooze of ballyhooing belief. If Obama’s former company had put Chinese workers into an American business to learn their jobs AND the company took the American flag down when the Chinese arrived, there would be angry white Teahadis rioting in the streets.
Finally, belief is how Romney supporters turn a blind eye to his many shortcomings and find his myriad mendacities digestible. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank poked a stick at the Romney story line with a believer:
“In the Sarasota crowd, I spoke with Billy Murphy, a retiree holding a poster board with the hand-lettered message: “NO REDISTRIBUTION TO FREELOADERS.” Murphy, an avowed foe of President Obama, will support Romney — but he does not know why. ‘He hasn’t really told the people yet what he’s gonna do,’ Murphy said. ‘We need to know.’ Noting Murphy’s sign, I suggested that he must, at least, agree with Romney’s criticism of the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes and expect government handouts. “I don’t know,” Murphy said, suddenly sheepish. ‘I’m one of the 47 percent. I’m on Social Security.’
Will the American electorate in majority “believe” Mitt Romney. If this YouTube video is any indicator, you had best get everyone you know to the polls between now and election day:
My shiny two.