Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Cynical Moderate in a Right Wing World

These days sometimes I feel like an alien dropped onto a strange planet.  A surrealistic planet where very little is as it is purported to be and labels are opposite to realities.

I have always considered myself conservative, particularly on monetary matters.   In fact, I KNOW I am financially moderate.  Maybe even ‘penurious’ as my wife sometimes claims.  I am a child of a child of the Great Depression after all.  The lessons and fears of that time were drummed into me and my siblings during our childhoods.

I have mostly lived in what are now called ‘Red States’, meaning Republican or at least Republican leaning.  But, many were not always Republican, although they were always what is now considered ‘conservative’ and right-wing.  The current Republicans in the Old South where I now live were once solidly Democratic in the past.  Rabidly so, in fact.  I’ll always remember my Georgia grandmother telling me as a child, “Don’t you dare tell anyone, but we just found out your Uncle Sammy is a ‘REPUBLICAN’!”, suggesting that was equal to being a child molester or equally vile.

I lived in North Carolina during the early ‘eighties during the so-called ‘Reagan Revolution’ when a great transition took place in the south.  Local politicians who were once solid ’Democrats’ began switching parties, but usually only after they were securely in office.  Their politics did not change one iota, only their political label.  I remember a neighbor lady who ran for mayor of our town, who once elected, changed political affiliations the very next day.  At the time I wondered about her sincerity and apparent lack of honesty, but excused it since I considered myself a ‘Republican’ at the time, though I was never a party member.  I did not realize my brand of moderate republicanism would soon be vanishing.

At the time most Republicans were moderate in outlook particularly in the northeast .  But their new southern brothers decidedly were not.  They were the remnants of the old hard line Southern Democrats, who transitioned through being ‘Dixiecrats’ before finally hanging their shields on the ‘New Republicans’ tent as *'neo-Conservatives'.  Basically, the parties switched sides, and platforms.  Democrats became moderates, while retaining their liberal constituencies.  The old hard-line Southern Democrats became ‘Republicans’ and eventually captured the party, driving most moderates, away from the republican camp.  Along the way they captured the term ’conservative’ and redefined it to mean something not conservative at all, but rabidly reactionary in concept.  And yes, they claim financial conservatism, and on the surface it is.  But, underneath it is actually radically pro-corporate and ‘people-be-damned’.

* ("Our "neoconservatives" are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell."
     ~Edward Abbey)

And, to my amazement they have succeeded in persuading millions of Americans to support them against their own personal interests.  Their supporters in the main do not realize this, since they buy into the propaganda and disinformation purchased and disseminated wholesale by corporate special interests, who created a vast PR and propaganda apparatus for this express purpose.  The other amazing part to me is much of the wealth behind this ‘conservative’ push is foreign money - our very own fifth column in you will.

How can this happen?  Why are so many Americans so easily misled?  I am convinced it is part of a decades long campaign by cynical ‘money-masters’ to capture our electorate, and thereby our economy and wealth.  Voters have been ‘dumbed-down’ for years.  We are subjected to a constant barrage of misinformation, disinformation, deception, deceit and outright lies - all piously asserted to be ‘facts’.  I get emails almost every day from someone outraged over some ‘fact’ or the other sent to them by email, and then spread like a virus. And most of us are too busy, or lazy to check for ourselves, simply believing what we want to believe.  As voters, we don’t bother to turn over the rocks. 

But, thankfully today it is very easy to turn over rocks to check for yourself - but only if you are motivated to do so.  Most people do not bother.  I do.  I’m too conservative to simply take someone’s word for something on faith alone.  As a responsible voter, I feel the duty to check things out for myself.  I highly recommend the practice.

Whenever you are presented with a political assertion - you should check for yourself, even if the ‘fact’ fits your political view and you want to believe it.  Often you will be surprised, even by things from your own end of the political spectrum.  This practice will open your eyes and provide you with an entirely new perspective on the political process.

Here are some illustrations: 

Never forget:  "Freedom begins between the ears"  ~ Edward Abbey

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gnarly Erik’s List of Top Ten US Worsts:

1.  Worst decision by any US president in the past 100 years:

GW Bush’s decision to ignore Afghanistan and invade Iraq;

2.  Worst ever pick by any presidential candidate for a running mate:

John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President;

3.  Worst ever fleecing of investors by a trusted advisor:

Bernie Madoff’s gargantuan $50 billion ripoff of investors’ money;

4.  Worst ever president in US history:

George W. Bush;

5.  Worst political commentator:

(Tie) Rush Limbaugh;  Glenn Beck;

6.  Worst news network:

Fox News;

7.  Worst TV show genre:

Reality TV;

8.  Worst ever US political movement:

(Tie) No Nothing party of 1840’s & 1850’s; Tea Party movement of 2009 & 2010; 

9.  Worst ever government bailout:

2009/2010 bailout of Wall St. & insurance industry;

10. Worst & most cynical economic ripoff:

(Tie) The health care industry in the United States;  Mortgage Foreclosure crisis of 2008, 2009 & 2010.