( – promoted by buhdydharma )
And I have to say I’m death on outright lies being told to me, personally, and then being expected to help and support that person despite the lies. Yeah, yeah, there’s the political process that has been inculcated into each one of the American would-be serf cognoscenti, again and again and again.
Things about coalition building. Tactics such as “vote for me on this bill and I’ll let you vote no on that bill, so as to look better to your constituents.” Things about so-called political pragmatism which is as opposite to the actual pragmatism of running a country for the benefit of its people.
People on liberal blogs will tell you that the Republicans are 100 times worse, and so the natural thing to do is to work for and vote for Democrats to keep the Republicans from getting office.
And, if you subscribe to that theory, yeah, there’s some truth in it. There are many names for this reasoning — it’s called “extortionist reasoning” with much truth by some, but from people who employ it sincerely I’m going to call it the “keep the boogeyman at bay” argument.
You see, there’s a dangerous boogeyman outside your door. What he wants to do is take all your belongings, rape your spouse, sell your children into indentured servitude and burn your livestock — what you are a serf and you don’t have livestock? Ok, your pets then.
I’ll circle back to that.
In America of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, we’ve been steeped in a culture of lies. Much of it comes with a wink and a nod, and through an initial culture of consumption. And despite the fact that people bemoan that Americans are clueless, unschooled and unsophisticated in some ways, for example not being able to find Afghanistan on a map, we have become very sophisticated (I might prefer the term “jaded”) in some ways.
When we see advertisements on TV, or on the radio or in print media, we’re totally used to being lied to with wild abandon. We know that the products and services we’re being sold come with a passel of lies. We know that vacuum cleaner just will not work flawlessly for years and as a side effect clean the air we breathe. If we are sophisticated, we know that the paid programming with the latest get rich quick scheme is a total con job.
So, we’re expected to be sophisticated about it, and if we’re not sophisticated, we’re gullible dupes. Because of this expectation of sophistication, no one else has to take any responsibility for their lies, on the expectation that those who were sold a bill of goods should have known better. That TV station that aired the total con job with the criminal liar isn’t responsible for any lies the criminal liar tells — heck they even SAID they weren’t responsible!
What I have begun to realize is that the political culture has taken its cues from the corporate marketing culture.
What we now know about Obama’s campaign is that it was all what they like to call marketing. “Change you can believe in” is and was always meant as an empty slogan. It was never meant to mean what it said. And we’re supposed to know it never meant what it said in the first place.
The trouble is, in our politics, there are too many people who actually want the product supposedly offered.
When Obama was running for election, I never believed the hype and the marketing. But if you said so at the time on many a blog that shall not be named, you were called a defeatist and a troll — prior to the election. If you said you think he didn’t mean one word he said about gay rights, transparency of government, the rule of law, meaningful change to our country’s health care predicament, or that he really would do anything unless forced by economic or military exigency to get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, you were calling Barack Obama a liar, thus to be banished to the outer reaches of the political universe.
Of course, now, one year and a handful of months after the election, it’s a different story. You who might have been a troll before the election for not believing, are now an unsophisticated rube if you believe or demand anything else than what you expected before the election. Of course Obama is a centrist — he always was, you silly bumpkin! Of course Obama isn’t going to do any of the things he promised in the promised way before, say, 2018 (when he’s out of office) — because this is the way politics works, you drooling moron!
The problem for me lies not in the idea that I expected anything different. What I worry about is the cognitive dissonance of the ones who wield this type of self-contradictory argument, election after election. What must it do to one’s sanity and integrity to be a true believer?
And I can understand the idea of keeping the boogeyman at the door outside for a year longer, a day longer, or an hour longer. There is a sort of short term reasoning in play that is all too important especially if you are in a certain position in life. If you have children, for example, you might know deep down in your heart of hearts that whatever you do, the boogeyman is going to crash through the door sooner or later, but there’s a very important imperative to keep things as not-bad-as-possible for as long as possible.
So, I understand the reasoning. The problem is, our expectation of sophistication is going to, sooner or later, lead us all to our doom. Year after year, what happens when you lose any expectation of integrity, truth telling or promise keeping, that the next crop of Democrats are going to be as bad as the Republicans were the cycle before. No Democrat I know, for example, before the election, would have voted for something insidious and unconstitutional as the Patriot Act, in any guise, say around the time Al Gore was running for office. They had their flaws, but most weren’t that bad. But even then, they were getting steadily worse, year after year, cycle after cycle. The obvious reasoning that you can look right in front of you and say is an obvious truth belies a larger, ongoing truth which is that the political culture is less and less connected to anything the average American on the street sees as a net good .. that the arch of history is not leading to justice, but rather to chaos and despair.
We have been told, as a truism, that the Democrats just aren’t as bad as the Republicans, and so it would be brain dead not to work for and support the Democrats, because the alternative is oh so much worse.
The problem is that things are getting worse and there is nothing and no one to stop it. Year after year, election after election, more and more Democrats lie and market to their constituents in ways that were just as bad as the Republicans of yesteryear, while, year after year, cycle after cycle, the Republicans get ever crazier and more aggressively insanely courageous about their chutzpah.
Yeah, we know you’ll lie to us, Democrats. You always have. But the lies have gotten worse and worse, the open disrespect of telling us things you never expected us to believe gets more and more brazen.
There is human nature to consider as well. George W. Bush could not have been elected in any kind of country where the political culture wasn’t wholly corrupt and subverted. Certainly not elected TWICE. But if I wouldn’t have given George W. Bush the time of day today, am I expected to give someone wearing a “D” after his name, but who is just as bad as George W. Bush, my work, my vote, and my donations, tomorrow on the certain knowledge that there is a Republican waiting in the wings who makes George W. Bush look like a wise and thoughtful statesman?
Hear me and mark me well — no I am not saying Barack Obama is every bit as bad as George W. Bush, or that there are many Democrats in Congress who are precisely as bad as he is.
But they’re getting there. And to tell the truth there’s a whole other kind of corruption at work among the Democrats. Yes, they adopt a flimsy veil of respect for the middle class and the poor and the downtrodden — all those things that are in the Democratic Platform.
But for too many, it’s an open lie, and our elected Democrats are practically laughing in your face when they talk about these things anymore. The same Representative who railed so passionately about people dying because the Republicans wanted them to yesterday, is one who won’t bat an eye before voting to continue the constitutional burning that is the Patriot Act, tomorrow.
And so it goes. We do not have a country anymore where it is considered politically pragmatic to have any kind of overall integrity. We are lied to brazenly and told to get used to it, that to not even expect it is a mark of political unsophistication. Except, well, during and before elections, when we’re expected to put that very same political sophistication in a wastebasket and become Stepford Wives for our chosen political parties.
Yeah, there’s a boogeyman at the door. But whoever you vote for in a system such as this, he’ll be there. Today or tomorrow or next year he’s gonna bust in. If he doesn’t bust in on you, then he will on your neighbor. Perhaps he already has, while you and I cower in our corners praying the boogeyman stays outside OUR door. And to be a Stepford Wife may delay him from beating down YOUR door, for a day, a year, or an election cycle.
But he’ll be there waiting for you. And there is no way to change the final calculus solely by working for, donating to or voting for the latest “better” politician.
If we want that to change, it won’t be done by choosing, voting or electing, because this slide has been engineered in the certain knowledge of who benefits and for how long. Even if it’s ultimately self defeating, the benefitting players benefit until the system collapses. And by the time it does, the beneficiaries of the system the way it is will have their booty.
The only possible way to change the irreversible slide of this calculus of a country finally in ruin by its own political sophistication is systemic.