It's been three months since President Obama started his second term and Western civilization has not collapsed. Full disclosure, I voted for President Obama -- again. I guess I'm one of the 50 percent of Americans who are "utterly and completely lost in darkness", according to Glenn Beck. And I'm part of the reason according to Buster Wilson of the American Family Association that "God will punish and curse America for re-electing Obama."
Shortly after the election we got to hear about why I and others voted the way we did. I know it's a rehash but I think it's worth reviewing so we don't forget how irresponsible we are. From the right wing punditry:
1. Rush Limbaugh: Obama Won Because "People Are Not Going To Vote Against Santa Claus, Especially If The Alternative Is Being Your Own Santa Claus."
2. Bill O'Reilly: "The Voters, Many Of Them Feel Like The Economic System Is Stacked Against Them, And They Want Stuff."
3. Monica Crowley: Election Results Show More Americans "Now Are Dependent On Government Than Not."
4. Sean Hannity: Obama Voters Are Like The Children Who Favor The Lenient Parent Who Lets Them Watch TV And Eat Anything They Want.
And of course, we had the post-election hysteria like the Cincinnati Tea Party who proclaimed the nation "dead by suicide". Or the Lebanon chapter who mourned the loss of our country and predicted we would be "socialists within months." That was November and we're now in March so it must be just around the corner. I hope you took this lapse in time as an opportunity to buy an automatic weapon and stock up on ammunition.
So how should we react to this frenzy? Take heed of Baruch Spinoza's advice: "Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand."
To understand, we need to peer into their reality bubble -- that's the one created and sustained by the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News. In fact, it's an alternative reality that feeds on fear and conflict with lots of help from the fundamentalist evangelical crazies. You know what I mean, fear of President Obama's "otherness", the conflict for "real" America and God's punishments for voting Democrat.
We've had four years of scary prognostications from these folks. And if you live and work in their bubble exclusively you have no reason not to believe them. So it's no mystery that it was a complete shock to the political right that Mr. Obama was re-elected? The right wing Drudge Report showed several polls with Romney ahead until the very last day and Karl Rove is still somewhat dazed from his core meltdown that started election night on Fox news.
So what happened? From Rory O'Connor on Alternet.org, "For one thing, the vast right wing media conspiracy started to believe its own hype -- and as a result got hoisted on its own petard. Living in a carefully circumscribed disinformation cocoon eventually led to the entire party being sucked into a swirling "ideological black hole," as the right wing media ginned up so much outrage that first cable crazies and later their mutant offspring, the Tea Party, took over the primary process." (Actually, I not sure which was the mutant or the offspring.)
This all reminds me of Leo Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance which states that a powerful motive to maintain consistency can give rise to irrational and maladaptive behavior. Ya think?
Well the right has options. From CNN.com on November 11, 2012, "Writer David Simon, a former journalist and well-known TV producer, didn't mince words. "The country is changing," he wrote on his blog. "America will soon belong to the men and women ... who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that ... there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions.
"Those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance."
So we all have options. Live in America as it is and try to make it work for everyone. Or weep and wax indignant from behind the gated walls of a shrinking privileged class. A class that you don't really belong to but are convinced that it's just a matter of time before the 1 percent welcomes you with open arms. Because, remember, in America we're all millionaires in waiting.
For more on my final point, Google the term, "Stockholm syndrome".
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