Calhoun's Can(n)on for Oct 1. 2010
. . . The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. . . .
What Yeats forgot to mention is that the passionate intensity is now filled with an astonishing amount of pure dumb. I mean, really. Has a good chunk of America started wearing tin-foil hats? Consider:
--The corporate media, as bad as it is, debunked the “death panels” rumor over 40 times. You remember that one? The lie that had folks terrified that the health care bill would result in the government killing Granny. Nonetheless, an Associated Press poll shows that 25% of those polled still think Granny’s gonna get offed.
--It gets worse. In a Pew poll, 18% of the public thought Obama was a Muslim, while 43% didn’t know what his religion was. In addition, a CNN poll found that 27% thought Obama was “probably” or “definitely” born in another country.
--All this gets worse for Republicans. A new poll reported in Politico.com. of 2,0003 self-identified Republicans, showed that 63 percent believe President Obama is a socialist, 24 percent think he wants terrorists to win, 36 percent do not believe the President was born in this country, 31 percent agreed with the statement that Obama is “a racist who hates white people,” while 23 percent want their state to secede from the union.
So, a good chunk of Americans apparently think Hawaii is now a foreign country, have forgotten the hysterical dust-up over President Obama’s pastor and spiritual mentor, the very Christian Reverend Jeremiah Wright, while a huge number are dreaming about the windfall inheritance soon to be coming their way every time Grandmaw starts looking peaked.
Plus, a scary percentage of deluded Republicans, while waving the flag and tub-thumping about the sacredness of the Constitution, nonetheless want to secede from the very union they claim as sacred?
And now, into this bizarre blend of Dumb and Forgetful comes a Republican Rerun – the un-new, un-improved retread of Newt Gringich’s old 1994 “Contract with America.” The “Pledge to America” is a cynical ploy that may well work because, beside Dumb, Americans also suffer from a serious case of short term memory loss. For that reason alone, they won’t bother to ask the critical question required of this new “Pledge:” If the issues listed in this “Pledge” were so important to Republicans and to the nation, then why weren’t they passed into law during the eight years that Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency?
The answer, of course, is that this rhetorical retread is just another cynical plan that will allow politicians and voters to pretend they’re doing something without having to actually do it. Because doing something about the problems we face means we’d all have to make some real changes. And that’s the one thing Americans don’t want to do.
Instead, we get the cynical in league with the willfully uninformed in order to avoid doing the necessary while both sides self-righteously play the victim card.
So we continue to dumbly vote for meaningless platforms that will never deliver any effective results. (Case in point, the Pledge’s promise to “End the practice of packaging unpopular bills and advance legislative issues one at a time.” Complete hokum as neither party will ever, EVER, “advance legislative issues one at a time.” Hiding unpopular bills inside popular bills gives politicians plausible deniability when they have to make hard choices. It’s the soft conspiracy of the unspoken lie that voters love since they regularly punish congressfolk who are honest enough to make those tough votes public.)
The result is we end up with spineless political weasels, dishonest “Pledges,” more political theatre, wealthy players, unions and corporations hiding behind affinity PACS in a system awash with huge secret, non-reported political “donations,” hours of Fox Noise’s misinformation inadvertently churning out fodder for John Stewart’s satirical “Daily Show,” great swaths of Corporate Media’s lazy misinformation further confusing an already dumbed-down and actively misinformed and forgetful electorate, while a comedian shows up in character to satirize our hypocritical farm labor policies during another useless window-dressing Congressional hearing while pundits pretend to be outraged by the stunt.
In short, we are entertaining ourselves to death, all of which will surely result – as it always does – with the sound of gunfire followed by bullet holes appearing in a huge number of feet: Bang! OW! Bang! OW!
And as for the “tea party” darling-du jour, Senatorial candidate from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell? In 2007 she excitedly claimed as fact that “American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains!”
Close, Ms. O’Donnell. But you reversed the brain/body order.