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Make Us A God

Posted by Rick · June 30th, 2004 · No Comments

This pretty much says everything I’ve been thinking since I unofficially shut down the blog. Until Moore’s movie, I argued that the outright dishonesty in politics today was pretty one-sided.

For the most part, I still think it is, but after seeing Moore’s film it’s impossible to contend that a shift isn’t occurring.

Bob and I disagreed what seems like a lifetime ago, but has actually only probably been about 1 or, at most, 2 weeks. (I could look it up, but most of you have convinced me that fact-checking is a waste of my time.) He thought both sides played “the same game.” Before I became a born-again cynic, I argued that the Republicans were primarily — I think (and I may be the only one who so thinks) that it was significant that I never said “exclusively” — responsible for one-sided reporting, sometimes called “spin,” among other things. I alleged — and still believe — that news from the Right was one-sided enough so as to actually go beyond spin; often, it pushed the envelope far enough to be considered misleading; occasionally, it was outright lying.

Other examples of the imbalance are seen in the recent troubles of Tom DeLay — I’ve always thought that was an excellent surname for a politician who works in opposition to the People — with respect to “simple” things like money-launder — er, I mean “re-distributing” corporate contributions to candidates for state offices in Texas — and gerrymand — er, excuse me, “re-districting.” (Re-districting, of course, is done by both parties; DeLay recently introduced the new wrinkle of not tying it to a census.) Both these moves are aimed at illegitimately increasing the number of Republicans in Congress by boosting the election of Republicans in Texas. And that’s fine.

Yet seldom (never?) do you hear of Democrats offering $100,000 bribes to a fellow Democrat to change a vote and then offering, instead, to work against the campaign of the son of the Democrat that refused. (I’d provide you a reference to Sorel, “Tom DeLay’s Hard Drive” (July 2004) Vanity Fair at p. 112, but, as I said, I won’t be doing those things anymore.) Another difference is that while when Democrats had the upper hand, they were not averse to pursuing the largesse of corporate interests; now that the Republicans have the upper hand, they pursue those interests and simultaneously offer to punish them for any contributions to Democrats. (In years past, many large corporations have usually given to both the Republicans and the Democrats. And, again, I’d point you to p. 154 of the aforementioned article, if I were still doing such things.) That’s just not “the same game.”

Sometime previously on this blog — you can look these instances up yourself — I noted that Republicans, following the lead of David Horowitz’s book, The Art of Political Warfare, have followed the missive that one should not aim “to refute your opponent’s argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth.” Or, as one senior Democrat said in reference to DeLay,

He’s not just interested in winning, but in eliminating the opposition. It’s the Vince Lombardi theory of politics. Winning’s not the best thing, it’s the only thing. — Sorel, “Tom DeLay’s Hard Drive” (July 2004) Vanity Fair at p. 114. (Don’t tell anyone I gave you that reference. Sorel notes, by the way, that the senior Dem who said that likes DeLay.)

As I said, I still believe it’s pretty much true that it’s been a one-sided war of dishonesty and dirty tricks. Democrats, however, have chafed under this regime. As noted in either The Republican Noise Machine or Banana Repubicans — again, my feelings right now are pretty much that hell can freeze over before I bother with fact-checking anymore; look it up yourself — Democrats (I think it actually says “liberals,” so I get to be included in that group, too, but see my immediately preceding disclaimer) consistently lose in the marketplace of ideas because, well, because as one recent visitor to this blog noted, her attention span is much too short to attend to complex ideas. Anything longer than a soundbite has people recommending a visit to the dictionary for the definition of “brevity.” (I actually wonder if such folks know the meaning of that word themselves — and why it is not applicable in all situations. But, in the interest of brevity, I’ll save that for another opinionated, non-fact-checked post.) Yet, for some reason, the social and political issues facing multi-cultural populations of greater than 290 million people aren’t always easily shrunk to the size of soundbites, at least not without becoming dessicated.

Again, one or the other of the books I cited above — the titles have already escaped me, but you can check those yourself, nu? — notes that liberals are taking a beating from those who recognize that the American public has the attention span of a Dalmatian on acid and have conveniently shrunk the message about as small as it can get: “Sit! Good dog.” Liberals, bemoaning this fact and starting to come to grips with this “reality” long for their very own Rush Limbaugh.

Rush, of course, doesn’t play fast and loose with the facts; among the many drugs Limbaugh accidentally became addicted to was an experimental Republican drug similar to Antabuse, but which exhibits its deleterious impact on those who ingest facts.

At any rate, recognizing that the American way of life, based on the Constitution, as it is, and liberalism in particular, based on a combination of the same and the more generalized thinking of the Founding Fathers, are endangered by this trend, the hue and cry has gone out among the liberals: “Make us a god to lead us!” (Cf. Exodus 32:23, from Plaut, The Torah: A Modern Commentary (1981) at p. 648 — rats! I did it again!)

And just as Aaron responded to this call, so, too, the “leaders” among us liberals said, “Whatever you have of any value, take it off!” And we gave it to them and they hurled it into the fire and out came…Michael Moore. (Cf. Exodus 32:24.)

I hope I will be forgiven if I don’t join in this Bonfire of the Vanities, but somewhere, there in the fire, still smolders those items of value we tossed in: fairplay and truth. It would do us well to retrieve them before the winds which wend us this way and that blow it out.

Categories: Culture Wars


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