Marketing vs. Reality

Ore : 1:37 PM

Just felt like a ramble, so I thought I'd go on in a curmudgeonly, maundering way about a problem I've perceived with our culture.

Many people will talk to you it's pervasive smut, a lack of religion in our schools, or illegal immigrants. But that's the Right for you. A big concern for me lately (though not the biggest) is one born of our capitalistic society. It's a natural byproduct, one we must put up with if we want to keep the free enterprise system in which freedom is best valued, yet also is where most things in life are commodities. It's an unfortunate side-effect which we as a society should make an effort to check. I'm talking about our seemingly congenital inability, as Americans, to discern between marketing and reality.

Take Hillary Clinton, for example (no, really, take her -- bwa-ha-ha-harrr). Ugh. Actually, that parenthetical comes close to illustrating the attitude I've seen by many of my fellow blue-collar, union-yes, socially tolerant, good-health coverage-and-public education-loving Democrats when I mention Hitlery in their presence. To see the reaction a mere mention of her name evokes, one would think she was party to genocide or had secretly and traitorously brokered an arms deal with an avowed enemy. But when you ask those in the throes of their revulsion to really think about it, to be specific, to point out exactly what it is about Senator Clinton that warrants such a display, they do one of two things: point out one or two relatively minor and easily dispelled lies created by the Right, or simply blank out. And it's as though a fog had lifted. And it is a fog: there are no specifics, just an ambient haze, a sort of cloud of innuendo and vague nastiness that right-wing radio, certain cable news outlets, and think-tank gestated pundits have been carefully and stealthily generating for over a decade. When you strip that cloud away, you're left with a decent, well-intentioned, genuinely friendly woman who is a savvy politician -- sometimes a little too obvious and foot-in-mouth for her own good, and, as far as I as an avowed liberal am concerned, a little too third-way politic and DLC-friendly for my tastes. But she's certainly not the monster she's been made out to be. [Fairness in disclosure: Clark will get my vote in the '08 primaries before she will].

You may also want to examine the Right's claim to grappling gravely with a Vast Left Wing Conspiratorial anti-war movement. Folks, there has never been in the past 5-and-a-half years a real, substantial and weighty anti-war contingent. Yes, there will always be certain Quakers and Buddhists and pacifists and such who are opposed to military action across-the-board. And they have their own defensible, internally consistent reasons for being so. But the very powerful, grassroots movement we've seen growing since Spring of 2003 has not been an anti-war movement so much as an anti-Iraq War movement -- specifically, an anti-W's War on Iraq movement. That movement has never in any significant way been knee-jerk anti-interventionist, isolationist, or pacifist, but has mainly been predicated on two things: a healthy skepticism of the Bush administration's intentions and truthfulness based on a very real track record, and a deep-seated belief in the incompetence of the "gang that couldn't shoot straight." We simply never trusted his claims that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and her allies, and we never trusted him to prosecute this war in a legal, competent, and aboveboard manner. (I would in fact go so far as to say that the vast majority of people who opposed the Iraq War did so precisely because they supported military action in Afghanistan, and wanted the latter to be as effective as possible.) So whenever a wingnut comes at you with piffle about "anti-war" this and that, feel free to correct them.

Especially since every prediction that we as the anti-Iraq War movement have made has been proven true by the deeds of BushCo. By contrast, Perle, Wolfowitz, Condi, Rumsfeld and Cheney have all been batting zero in the Miss Cleo department: greeted as liberators as we cakewalk indeed! Time and again, we were right: that the WMDs were a lie, that Saddam was not months from "Da Bomb," Iraq would not welcome an American occupation, using think-tank interns to run the country as a huge patronage system for Bush's private sector cronies would prove not to be in the best interests of our national security, etc. The result of our track record? More and more Americans are finally seeing through the madisonavenuevoicofamericafoxnews marketing campaign, fewer people are seeing George as trustworthy and right on Iraq. And as each new dead and injured service member returns home, the fog lifts just that much more. It is an ugly and bitter and empty win, but it is a kind of win.

So today's tidbit is just a general call to reason: When you find yourself making any sort of assertion based on commonly accepted "conventional wisdom," please take a moment to ask yourself, "how do I know what I know? Why do I think this?" Believe me, it will save you a lot of loss and heartache.

ADDENDUM: Currently, John Roberts is being marketed by the cult of W (to be distinguished from the far right in this regard by the fact that many wingnuts are upset at his defense of equal rights for teh gayz in Colorado) as a clean-cut, family-oriented, moderate-though-slightly corporatist conservative who would be a fine and worthy replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor. This is despite the fact that he has a troubling history with the Federalist Society and the Florida 2000 fiasco, has ass-all in the way of experience, and, most recently, documents regarding his stance on affirmative action which should prove pertinent to his confirmation have been conveniently lost by administration lawyers (thanks to BarbinMD for the document heads-up). And while many of my fellow Dems justifiably call attention to his history, especially vis-a-vis the right to privacy and affirmative action, what I currently find more pressing is Roberts' place within the Bush camarilla, that incestuous little faction of the Republican party that is currently in ascendance. If he is indeed a typically loyal acolyte of the Cult, his stances are by necessity mercurial; they will change whenever the machine requires them to, without thought to consistency or honesty. Only expediency matters...

Very shortly, former FBI contractor and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds will be filing her brief with the Supreme Court. There is a possibility that, if Senate Democrats roll over as usual, that he will be on the bench when the SCOTUS reconvenes, and her case comes up on their docket. Which means he will be hearing her case.

To what extent is he loyal to the cult of W? Will he and the other conservatives simply refuse to hear her case? Or is his fealty such that he will venture where O'Connor, in her Reaganite, old-school, doilie-collared conservatism never would have dared?

Will we soon see a Supreme Court that submits at the Executive's behest to hearing cases in secret? Or will the fog lift in time?

posted by teh l4m3 at 1:37 PM | Permalink |

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