Friday, October 15, 2010

The Year Of Political Insanity

America has a long history of anti-intellectualism, but this election year is something much more than that. It is almost as if some infectious form of insanity (ergot poisoning?) has seized a large portion of the population and set them into a fool’s dance of self destruction. Of course the drumbeat for this dance is courtesy of FOX News. If Hitler had had FOX he wouldn’t have needed to burn the Reichstag or employ the services of Joseph Goebbels. FOX would say it and people would believe it. I have encountered more lunatic statements this year than ever before. A few examples: “Obama is a Muslim”, “Obama was born in Kenya”, “Obama wants to sell out our country to (you fill it in)”, “If you are a progressive you are a Communist”. This is not just normal political hyperbole. This is racism, and the members of the TEA party, and other right wing fringe groups now brought into the spotlight are preaching “Americanism”. If we don’t agree with them we are Godless Communists, and need to be exposed by Glen Beck. The last time I recall the term “Americanism” being used was in the 1920’s, and then by the Ku Klux Klan. So much about the TEA party reminds me of the Klan of the 1920’s: misplaced anger, rampant xenophobia, viewing anyone who disagrees as a “Progressive=Socialist= Communist” according to Glen Beck, the tear shedding, sometimes hysteric orator and hero of these folks. An ideological test is needed in their opinion to decide if you are a patriot: if you love your country. If you don’t agree with them, you’re a Communist trying to subvert the educational system and ruin the nation. Quack history is used to label Franklin Roosevelt as a Communist. I have even heard Glen Beck say that FDR caused the war. Honest to goodness. Do they have to try to fight the New Deal all these prosperous years later? That seems to be the agenda. According to them teachers are part of a plot to brainwash all children to accept a Socialist takeover. At one time people would have nervously laughed at such over the top paranoids. But now- now there is a willingness to believe any sort of conspiracy theory as an explanation for the failures of our society. After all, we couldn’t as a people be responsible for our own woes, so it must be some group of evil manipulators infiltrating us to bring us down. Education is failing our children we hear. It’s the bad teachers. But maybe, just maybe it is the bad parenting, the lack of time spent, the dearth of expectations that children study and learn. It’s just too easy and simple to say it is the bad teachers and their bad unions. And so they go running after bogeymen, after scapegoats, and there is no end of Glen Beck’s and Rush Limbaugh’s willing to get rich convincing you that it is all a conspiracy of the left. And apparently people believe it. They seem willing to flock to the polls to vote for people who will privatize their Social Security, end their Unemployment benefits, deny them health care, and pander to the rich sharks who run this country and the co-opted religionists who carry their water. I think that Lincoln may have been wrong with regard to Americans when he said “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”. It is starting to look to me like you sure can – with enough money behind you.