March 15, 2008
A tremendous wave of sadness overcame me today. I have always tried to be an optimist about this country and our prospects for the future. Sure, I know that things are worse now then they have ever been in our history. Sure I know that a handful of powerful people control everything. I wasn’t a blind optimist, just a hopeful realist. I am starting to think that I have been wrong and maybe we are just beyond political and cultural redemption.
It saddens me because we are six months out of the most important election of our times and we should be discussing the merits of each candidate. Does Hillary really have the experience she brags about or is it all smoke and mirrors? Does Obama’s lack of experience really disqualify him? If elected will John McCain really blow up Iran? What are the candidates’ plans for this country? What would they do about the economy? The environment? The war? Are these the salient questions we find ourselves discussing today? Unfortunately not. Instead we are led around by the nose by the machine that does not want us focusing on what is truly important and instead wants us debating whether barrack Obama is really a closet Muslim. Instead of having meaningful dialogue we are reduced to character assassination by association.
The first distraction is the Muslim question. Designed to prey upon our worst fears and basest emotions of hate, the idea doesn’t have to actually stick. The big lies never have to. They just have to plant a seed of doubt. That’s it. An article here or there, even one that is agreeing he is not a Muslim serves the purpose. It starts the dialogue. The hate starts flowing, the fear starts spreading. Then you walk into the voting booth in November and when no one is looking and the curtain is pulled, those needling little doubts come back to the hairs on your neck and the next thing you know you are voting for the other guy. The guy they want you to vote for. Not because he represents anything. Not because he has a good plan for the country. Just because you’re afraid; or you succumbed to the hate. You must understand America; you are being manipulated. You are being played. They do not care if you actually believe the lie; as long as you are talking about it. The notion that he is Muslim is patently ridiculous. I could go into the moronic logic that says because someone who is five years old is growing up in a nation that is predominately Muslim that somehow that magically makes him a Muslim by default. Never mind that his mother is a Christian and his father was not religious at all. Never mind that a five year old has no concept of religion. Never mind any of that because it doesn’t matter. Once he has to defend the charge he has lost the battle. Why? Because the truth lies dying in the aftermath of the politics of distraction.
The second distraction is the old politics of personal destruction. Only this time it is guilt by association. The Muslim argument attacks the man directly for things that are simply untrue and this attacks him by trying to link him to someone who said anything reprehensible. Enter Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Somewhere there are people working around the clock to comb through the rantings of anyone Obama is associated with so they can hang those comments around his neck like a millstone. Seems Pastor Wright has made some inflammatory remarks over the years. Some remarks that can be construed as anti-American even. Of course Obama did not say these remarks. He did not even hear them. So we play this little game where he is forced to repudiate comments he never made but in doing so, the objective is achieved. The debate has switched. Instead of talking about change and what he can bring to this country, he is forced to defend something he had nothing to do with. Never mind that the guilt by association thing can work both ways. McCain is endorsed by John Hagee, who is certainly reprehensible in his own right and do we really want to dig up whitewater again? What about Geraldine Ferraro? It is beyond shameful that this is what is left of politics in America today. A country devoid of substance waiting for a train wreck. The truly sad part is not in the waiting for the train wreck but the hoping for it. The living for it. We have been indoctrinated with so much reality TV that we are mistaking what is and what is not reality. What should be the most important discussions are replaced by the freak show. When we stand around the water cooler we don’t want to talk about healthcare but would rather discuss the fact that Obama once had to walk past a mosque in order to go school. We don’t want to talk debate the virtues of the war in Iraq but would rather pontificate about the rumor that Obama’s gardener is really a closet homosexual so Obama must be a communist somehow. This is what is left of the political discourse in this country. This is what makes me sad.
What makes me sadder is that people fall for it over and over again. In 2000 the machine wanted George Bush because a puppeteer needs a willing subject. The media went into overdrive to paint Al Gore as a serial liar. We heard story after story about how he claimed to have invented the Internet, was the basis for Love Story and allegedly discovered the fist toxic waste dump. None of the stories were true of course but why let a little thing like the truth matter in a national election? Bush was given a free pass of course. The man couldn’t put together a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight but he was portrayed as “folksy” by the compliant media. Suddenly the issue for who would be the next president became who you would want a beer with instead of who could run the country. One rigged election later and we got the Bush administration. Fast forward to 2004 and the machine went into overdrive on John Kerry. They created entire organizations designed to distract and lie about who he was. He was swift-boated to within an inch of his life and another rigged election later; we got Bush II, the sequel. Both times mainstream America stood by and didn’t even realize the role they played. The puppeteers pulled the strings and America danced for them.
So now we fast forward another four years and see that the machine again wants to distract. They want John McCain in the White House. The reason why is so we can have “Bush III: Bush on steroids.” Then we can have perpetual wars. War with Iran, Iraq and any other country with enough oil to pique our interests. Hundreds of thousands of people will die unnecessarily. Flags will be waved and grandiose speeches will be heard from sea to shining sea about such poignant topics as democracy and freedom. No –bid contracts and corruption will continue as national policy. The Bush tax cuts will be made permanent. The dollar will continue to crumble. The neo-con vision for America will continue. McCain has already reversed his position on torture, which is amazing considering his POW past. If he is willing to sell that out, what is left?
This is real America. If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past then we are doomed to repeat them. In both 2000 and 2004 the machine went into action to distract you. They knew what they were offering, Bush, was simply not palatable. So they sold you that Gore was a liar and that Kerry was a traitor and you bought it. Now they are using the race card, the religion card, the fear card and the hate card. That is a full house of sleaze. Their product again is completely unpalatable so they are left to feeding America on why they should hate or fear Barack Obama. Start the dialogue and have the people talking about Muslims and pastors and hate; oh my. No need to talk about healthcare, war and poverty. No reason to question the McCain record or rhetoric. Don’t fall for it folks. I have learned over the years that if they are spending so much time telling me not to vote for someone, that is probably the right person for the job. Hopefully the sadness will pass tomorrow and people will start to see through the politics of distraction. I hold out some hope but it is fading. I see the fake polls are already in full gear. The country is 70-30 against the war but we are supposed to believe that the pro war candidate in McCain is only trailing the anti-war candidate in Obama by three points? Setting up the sales pitch for how McCain pulls it off in November? Guess I am growing more jaded as well. Don’t fall for the distraction. Talk about what matters, not the tripe they try and sell you on. See you in November.