Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Has it truly come to this? Is this the level of political discourse we desire in this nation? Bearing the same message domestic terrorist McVeigh wore on his t-shirt, with the addition of a pistol strapped to his leg, is this idiot what the Republican Party desires to recruit with their campaign of fear and blatant racism? The Brownshirt tactic of screaming, chanting, never allowing the other side to be heard in order to give the false impression of unity? Because this is surely what they will get, without a doubt. And I believe it to be the deliberate goal of the GOP and its media pundits to bring this sort of vigilante mentality to fruition.
They can't get over the fact that they've lost this election. Correction: were thoroughly trounced in this election. They oppose every measure that comes through the legislature and every program of the Obama Administration. But obstructionism is their right. It's sour grapes, and one of the few courses they have left after losing so much of the public trust, but it's their right. I support their right to do so. I don't like it, but I support it.
And we're used to the lies, after eight years of nothing but fabrications. Lies to get us into war, lies that allow corporations to screw the American economy, lies about who is in charge in the Cheney Administration. There were lies about who leaked what, about weapons of mass destruction, about 9-11, and just about anything else you could name. And the investigations continue to this day to try to reveal the truth about it all. Then, of course, there are the garden variety lies, such as the ones that give "hiking the Appalachian Trail" a whole new meaning, and the C Street secrets and lies of omission. Like I said, we've come to expect that of the "Party of Family Values."
The new lies about healthcare are so outlandish that it is amazing to me that people can take them seriously. Euthanasia, free sex change operations, death panels and the topper, "the government taking over Medicare." One would most certainly fear for the IQ of this nation if sane, rational people believed these out and out lies. But normally good people are actually taking this trash to heart, and primarily for one reason and one reason alone: out of fear.
The GOP learned well during the Cheney Administration that to get what they want, they just have to lie and create fear. Make people very afraid and they will surrender normal logical thought. Why do you think the nifty color-coded "Threat Level" was always at orange or above? Why do you think they cooked up supposed terrorist cells every time the Dems got ahead on the War issue? Lies and fear. Lies and fear, pure propagandistic techniques, have been employed by all the real "baddies" over the years: Communist China, Nazi Germany, the list goes on...and now the GOP proudly joins their ranks. Employing FreedomWorks, 60Plus and other corporate astroturf organizations, they continue what amounts to domestic terror campaigns bent on destroying not only the only chance we've got for true healthcare reform, but to breed an undercurrent of racism and hatred that is hell-bent on inciting violence.
There have been latent rumblings regarding our President's race since the beginning. but what better way to incite violence than to channel people's frustration about the economy, jobs and the hard times they're having by injecting race into the mix. It's an age-old equation. Make it subtle, use the code words, hassle the "wise Latina" and question the President's birthplace. Scary numbers show it's working. On The Rachel Maddow Show, a survey was presented that stated that 46% of Republicans in North Carolina either don't think President Obama was born in the U. S., or they don't know. The follow-up question? "Is Hawaii a state?" Brace yourself. 7% didn't think so, or weren't sure. They weren't SURE if Hawaii was a state! Little Man said last week, "The Republicans are just mad that they lost the election. They need to realize that there are more than 49 states." Out of the mouths of babes...
The tactics, and yes, these are deliberate tactics, of starting the rumors, perpetuating them by lack of denial or by saying something horrid and then coming out against it, these tactics are the stock and trade of The New GOP. Pandering to racists. Fearmongering. Race-baiting. Blatantly lying. And, hey, if you're a chosen Christian leader, go see 'em on C Street and you can live to an entirely different code of ethics and not have to answer for your sins. It's all good, Brother. Just stir up the extremists in the base, and they'll take it from there.
Disruption of the democratic (small d) process of our tradition of the Town Hall meeting. Only letting one side be heard. Stirring up dissent through racism and hatred. Comparisons to Hitler (weird, comparing an African-American to someone who would've hated him for his race? Who's in charge of Hatespeak? Majorly mixing metaphors or something there...). Swastikas on Senators' offices. Bringing guns and weapons to see The President speak, while waving signs proclaiming that blood should be spilled. It is only matter of time before all the GOP is asking to happen comes to fruition. They are honestly that terrified of being out of power, of having their corporate welfare rescinded. They are that desperate to sabotage what's right and moral for what's corporate and profitable. And the Republican Party will do so at any cost. Guaranteed.
It is solely my faith in the goodness and common sense of The American People that makes me believe that the bluff will, ultimately, be called. I think we're beginning to see the tide turn. I truly believe that Americans speaking to each other over the kitchen table, the water cooler, in the grocery store line, in the doctor's offices and emergency rooms across this country will bring the truth to light. Talking to my mom, and reassuring her that I've read the House Bill, and that she is entitled to be compensated for the cost of a living will and will not be sent to be euthanized: dispelling myths one by one, each of us, to each other, is far more powerful than their propaganda machine can ever dream of being. So speak out, in whatever forum you feel most comfortable. Twitter, blog, coffee shop lines, email, text or phone. Tell your legislators to speak out against these unspeakable fear tactics, and let them know you support their doing so. Talk to your parents, your kids, and anyone else who will listen. And you know what? If you don't agree, it's A-O.K.! Even if your views are diametrically opposed, that's the beauty of political discourse in this country: we can and will agree to disagree, and as long as civil discussion and debate are possible, then all's right with the world. We remain loyal to our founding principles. It's when we waver, when we allow others to bully away our rights in favor of their own that we should be fearful. Let us hope and pray that someone in the Republican Party has the courage and the strength of character to denounce the un-American tactics and strategies to which a vocal group in their party still holds fast, even to this day.