Hey, everybody, how have you been?
Don't know about you, but i've spent the majority of this summer's vacation, as i commonly do, traveling and trying to ignore the nasty national news, which i have now skewered for over twenty years. That's right, my first column was published in February of 1990.
My, oh my, oh gosh, how things have not changed.
In that very first column (published by Anthony Smith in his long defunct 'zine, The Alternative) i found this paragraph where a fictional government spokesman attempts to calm a worried public over an environmental issue:
"While we were standing at the trash pile, a big wind blew by and stirred it all around. I went to pick it up. He said, "No money in that, son. Leave it till it gets so big, no one will ever be able to pick it up, then we'll hire someone to fail at it and invent them all sorts of inadequate but expensive tools to fail at it with and everyone will stay happy."
And i thought: BP. I thought Immigration. Health care, drug wars, foreign wars, culture wars, economy where the rich are forever raping the poor then calling them lazy. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was. Twenty years ago, our country was being run by a Republican media, promoting a Republican agenda at the expense of the general public. And here in 2010, once again, Republican leadership and Republican press have our country in a continuing disaster.
Now right away i know some readers are already up in arms, whipping out their thesauri and honing barbs to sling about "the liberal press," the Tea Party as the Voice of the People," and what an idiot i am for not knowing that "Obama, the commie/socialist, secret Muslim, Black Power-White Hating Gun grabbing Revolutionary" and his henchmen, er, henchpersons, Nancy "the Shrew" Pelosi and Harry "the Idiot" Reid are responsible for the trainwreck our country's in and it's the Republicans who are trying to save America for the true Americans.
My friends, thanks for the corrections. Save your letters, you must obliviously be Republicans. My condolences. Perhaps there is a cure. If you truly cannot see that the party of "No" is using the same lame techniques to manipulate the ignorant public, then you truly are either a manipulator or ignorant. After twenty years of observation, i would have to say that Republicans fall into three groups: deceitfully greed-driven, vindictively self-righteous, and/or stupid.
Dear angered reader, pray tell which group do you fall in?
Despite my best efforts to ignore their crap, while touring this summer, promoting my new book, Leaving the Empire, I have repeatedly heard tales of Republicans refusing to pay for 9/11 victims and "First Responders," and delaying unemployment for millions, while they champion a law written to satisfy Russell Pearce's Neo-Nazi supporters. What kind of person would do that or support somebody else for it?
Must be a Republican.
Every day it seemed, even while traveling, i received emails from folks like Dudley Brown telling me how the evil Obama admin intends to use his evil Homeland Security to steal their guns. I get people like Rand Paul being called American heroes for wanting to repeal the Civil Rights Act. I get supposed sage national politicians decrying proposed restrictions on Wall Street at the same time we discover Wachovia has been laundering hundreds of billions in drug money, but the real problem in America is peasants sneaking across the border to take the slave labor jobs Americans don't want. What kind of person could spew such vomit? Worse yet, what kind of person would swallow it?
Must be a Republican.
What kind of person would scream bloody murder to try to scandalize a nebbish like Elena Kagan or Shirley Sherrod blindly marching in lock-step behind hate-mongers like Limbaugh, Beck and Gingrich as if they were freedom fighters? What kind of person could listen to Andrew Breitbart and possibly construe him as anything even remotely resembling fair-minded or honest? What kind of person could watch the McCain/Heyward debates and think that either choice was in any way a good one, or for that matter would see Jan Brewer as an attractive candidate?
Must be a Republican (and check that eyesight while you're at it).
What kind of person could claim they were good Christian lovers of Jesus because they would approve of madmen murdering doctors to stop abortions from killing American babies; yet demand unlimited funding for our country to kill foreign babies in wars? See what i mean?
As awful a malady as it must be, "Republicanism" that is, one has to wonder: why would anyone choose to be a Republican in the first place? Well, for the rich and powerful, the obvious answer is since the Republican Party is owned by the rich and powerful, it is simply a matter of investing in the home brand. Who champions wars, exploitive energy companies, the health insurance industry and Wall Street? Republicans. Who works to protect them at the expense of the general public? Republicans. Who makes a butt-load off of the profits buying and selling those miseries? That's right again, Republicans.
Why would some people, actual human Americans, ever support such tripe, when it is clearly out to work against their best interests again and again, year in year out, and has been for as long as i've been beating these same dead horses with these same lame jokes? Well, the greedy, deceitful, and the self-righteously vindictive need all the propaganda they can get. If you can get some schmucks to think marching around with the Tea Party is their personal individual and unique expression of their love of their country when it is merely a fad marketed by GOP leader Dick Armey's Freedom Works for their clients in the health insurance industry, well, it may be greedy and deceitful, but there is no disputing it is damn fine marketing.
Who benefits from getting the people who work to think of themselves as the backbone of our country to envision their Democratic and democratically elected government as an evil enemy that must be thwarted at all costs even when they are doing something good like attempting to pay some 9/11 fireman's hospital bill. Who could possibly benefit from that?
You got it, must be Republicans.
And the ignorant? Why are they supporting this? Well, it is easy to be ignorant these days. With the millions of issues each with their own billions of complexities, it is legitimately hard to know much about anything, much less keep track of everything. Anybody who wanted to distort the news for their own deceitful ends, could fool a lot of fools a lot of the time as long as they made themselves seem fair and balanced loyal Americans. They could be on the wrong side all the time as long as they seemed like the embattled, justly outraged, good guys. What kind of "news" channel would distort the facts to create a false impression of the reality of the world so as to promote the hidden aims and profits of their ownership?
Even the ignorant know i'm talking about Fox News here, right? As was recently reported on Media Matters by Ari Rabin-Havt, "News Corp., Fox News' parent company's shareholders [include] Morgan Stanley owns nearly $300,000,000 in News Corp. stock, Bank of New York more than $175,000,000, Goldman Sachs $115,000,000, and JPMorgan Chase nearly $70,000,000." Who told us Bush was dutifully elected? Enron was unimportant? 9/11 meant Arabs were evil? or that immigrants were ruining our country by making our beds and picking our lettuce?
Who had the unmitigated gall to sell us that Sean Hannity had any interest in anything anyone else had to say, or that Glenn Beck was an intellectual because he uses chalkboards, that Bill O'Reilly was deliberative or that Rush Limbaugh makes sense to anyone this side of a Vicodin induced haze? Who could support crap like that? Why the only people who ever benefit from Fox News' "fair and balanced" reportage:
Must be Republican. Deceitfully greedy, righteously vindictive or stupid. Pray tell dear angered reader, which justification will you wear for your role in helping to feed that elephant that tramples the needs of the many for the frills of the few?
Don't know about you, but i choose "none-of-the-above" and so i probably won't become a Republican. What will you do?
-mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.