For years now I’ve been making fun of the ignorance and apparently diminished intellectual curiosity of many of the folks in the rank and file at the right end of the spectrum. I don’t feel a bit bad about it either because those are traits that are not only readily observable but easily quantifiable in the fringe zealots that make up the Tea Party which appears to dominate the GOP today. One has only to look at the signs they carry in their rallies and spare a glance or two the misinformation they subscribe to and attempt to pass on to the world at large through the social media, no matter how much that world laughs its ass off at them.
As a recovering conservative Republican myself, discovering the depths of ignorance not only displayed by so many right wing working class people but proudly defended, worn as some kind of badge of honor was definitely an eye opening experience. for yours truly. It took George W. Bush’s first year in office to firm up most of the doubts I had begun to entertain in regard to my choice of parties although those doubts had been wiggling and squirming at the back of my mind since the Reagan days. I credit Bush Junior with my full awakening to the fact that the GOP was now the party of all that I had joined it to escape back in the 60s when all the racists and bigots and misogynists still trying to fight the Civil War 100 years after it supposedly ended were Democrats.
It was after 9/11 that I decided to just back off entirely for a while and take stock of the situation regarding the Republican party which had obviously undergone some major changes during the time I had been occupied with a career and raising a family and living my little middle class life. One of the first things that struck me was the proud ignorance referenced above. Another was the total and vehement refusal to accept any empirical data which might challenge the mindset resulting from that ignorance.
For example, I had one online discussion with a certain gentleman in Georgia back when the leading news paper in San Diego County, the Union Tribune, was reporting that one of the county’s congressmen, Randy Cunningham, had “tearfully” confessed to taking millions in graft and bribes from special interests. The paper wasn’t accusing the congressman of being a crook, it was reporting his own CONFESSION… in his own words… to being a crook, but that made no difference to my “friend” in Georgia. He steadfastly refused to believe the congressman was guilty until he heard it from a news source that HE trusted. In other words, Cunningham saying “I’m guilty” wasn’t enough*.
I have no idea what it would have taken to convince this gentleman that Mr. Cunningham had indeed committed the high crimes and misdemeanors of which he’d been accused and I’ve often suspected to this day that if he ever thinks of that particular case at all, it’s with the firm conviction that Duke… being a Republican and all… was innocent of all charges and those charges were merely an attempt by the “liberal media” to railroad him out of office.
Another example of course was the “my president, right or wrong” syndrome that afflicted the majority of the rank and file Republicans among the working class. Spurred on by various Astroturf organizations formed by Wall Street banks and corporations specifically for the purpose, “Thou shalt not criticize our president” became the GOP’s eleventh commandment. Daring to criticize or even question any actions orchestrated by Dick Cheney and acted out by our country’s first openly sock puppet president brought you instantaneous condemnation as a liberal commie pinko fag traitor who wanted our enemies… whoever the hell they were supposed to be at the time… to win… whatever the hell we had to win or lose at the time… and America to lose. The only thing that keeps it from being laughable is the damage such attitudes wound up inflicting on the country, damage from which we are unlikely to fully recover.
But that’s the mindset you deal with when you choose to engage these people in any kind of discussion or debate. Their minds were made up by the end of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program this morning and remain firmly closed to any and all information that might cause them to have to rethink some of their righteous opinions and convictions.
Now to paraphrase my man Arlo, in perhaps the greatest protest song ever written, I said all that so I could tell you this: It ain’t JUST the Republicans, folks. Many membrs of the modern Democratic party and whatever that ideology is that the so called “left” subscribes to these days is… I think they’re calling it “progressive” so as to differentiate themselves from the actual “liberals” whom they hate as much as any right winger ever did and for many of the same reasons… are just as mule headedly planted in their rigid little ideological furrows as any right winger ever was and if you think the “my way or the highway” mentality is an exclusive manifestation of Republican politispeak, you need to think some more because it simply ain’t so.
Today’s “progressive” Democrat is just as firmly locked into the patterns of groupthink and groupspeak as is any of his or her RW counterparts, perhaps even more so in many cases. One difference (among a relative few, actually) is that they haven’t been able to translate it into a fully national phenomenon the way that the Republicans have but that’s largely because the Republicans and their corporate leash holders control all of the traditional means of disseminating information and use them solely to beat the right wing drums and keep the bubba types stirred up.
The left on the other hand has had to rely on the Internet through self created independent blogs and the building of organizations through social media networks to get their message out and no matter how successful they may have been… or think they may have been… their reach and therefore their effectiveness… has been limited compared to that of the the Wall Street parasites who have never had to actually build anything but instead have always been able to simply BUY what someone else had built. It’s how they came to control the mainstream media and it’s how they’re slowly gaining control of the Internet, the last real avenue of free exchange of opinions and ideas, also.
And whether you want to believe it or not, that’s where people like Zach Green and his family come in. Companies like 140Elect have no purpose in existence other than do channel the groupthink/groupspeak in the directions mandated by the highest bidder. I’m sorry as hell if that pops any bubbles for anyone but you simply don’t charter a damned company and go into the political consulting business because you have some altruistic vision of making America a better place for children and cute little kittehs.
Sooner or later you have to realize that you don’t mean diddly squat to Adam or Zach Green except as a means to an end and that end involves putting money in their pockets. All you have to do is see who they’ve made their fortune from over the past few years, couple it with the fact that the GOP is rapidly becoming a losing proposition as far as PR and marketing flackery are concerned and you have your answer as to why YOU are suddenly their new BFFs. The money is no longer to be made supporting Republican losers so the big deal now is to claim to support support (and to have supported all along) Democratic winners even to the point of retroactively claiming credit for gains made by the Democrats when you were actively supporting GOP candidates.
Plenty of other people have gone into the specific means by which Mr. Green and his group of 140Whatever entities have sought to accomplish their chameleon like transition from open strategists for the bad guys to a posse of white hat heroes attempting only to route evil from the hinterlands. I don’t need to rehash any of it because you’ve all seen it with your own eyes and based your actions on your own interpretations of it.
Like my friend from Georgia, your mind is made up that having a #UniteBlue hashtag attached to your opinions somehow makes those opinions into something more than they were in the “old days” when you tweeted them without it (Psst! I don’t know if you’ve noticed but quite often your opinion, bolstered by the hashtag is immediately and totally canceled out by a diametrically opposed opinion also sporting the hashtag, which calls into question the advantage of even including it on your posts since you’re obviously not united at all, at least in your messaging). To summarize a few pregnant points in support of my own position(s).:
- You’re letting a purpose formed Astroturf Llc determine the direction in which you’re going to take the fight based on its own highest ROI… if indeed there is ever going to be a fight (So far, I haven’t seen a willingness on the part of progressives to do anything but compromise with the common enemy and spew right wing epithets at anyone actually calling for a fight).
- Many of you have convinced yourselves that multiple retweetings of Mr. Green’s robotweets and those of the groupies he’s gathered round himself in the guise of some kind of advisory board, are somehow more powerful than simply saying what you think in your own words.
- You’ve committed yourselves to the defense and support of people who in no way deserve the kind of homage you’re paying them including at least one to whom you (and a few thousand others) were worth exactly $250 (21st century equivalent of 30 pieces of silver?), the betrayal of a friend and the promise of being a mover and shaker among millions of “organized” progressives once 140Elect was firmly in control.
- You’ve allowed defense of 140Elect to become the primary reason for #UniteBlue’s existence and I simply fail to see how that’s supposed to be helping the cause… but then maybe I just don’t understand what the “cause” is. In doing so, you’ve turned a blind eye to the tactics certain of your members have chosen to use in defending the organization from it’s detractors even though you have loudly denounced what you considered to be the same kind of tactics when practiced by the right (#TGDN among others).
- Last but not least, I’m finding the “MY president right or wrong” syndrome not only still alive but actually flourishing among many of you, as a large segment of progressive democrats… or “pragmatic O-bots” as they’re called by their liberal opposition… seek to stifle any attempt to question, much less criticize anything our president chooses to do or not do, no matter it’s effect on the person raising the question.
There are numerous other examples, lots of them, but the above should be enough to convey the essence of what I’m trying to say. In doing all these things, you have in many ways become pretty much the mirror image of those you profess to be “organizing” against.
Many of you… egged on by people with agendas that might not be positioned as “leftward” as you like to think… have joined with the right wing in pure unadulterated hatred of Liberals… ostensibly because they didn’t vote the way you demanded that they vote in 2010 and therefore you hold each one of them personally responsible for the losses suffered by YOUR party which they simply may have felt was not their own. Whatever the case, your hatred is no more plausible than that of the right. The fact is that if they HAD come out in 2010 and voted straight Democratic, the people fomenting the hate and discontent would simply come up with another reason to hate them because hating liberals is necessary to their own agenda.
About that, I have this to say: I’m not a liberal and I’ll vote in every election I’m alive to vote in and it won’t EVER be for one of today’s modern style Republicans… but I can damned well understand why some folks, feeling that no candidate supported their best interests, elected not to bother and if you ever come at me with the hate and venom you spew at them, I’ll simply tell you go off in a dark room somewhere do rude and probably physically impossible things to yourselves, which I suspect is the message the “libs” were trying to deliver no matter how much I feel they picked the wrong way to do so.
And you can also rest assured that if a serious candidate ever arises whom I feel has my best interests at heart… no matter WHAT he/she calls him/her self… I’ll happily and without compunction break my (currently 5 year) string of voting a straight Dem ticket in every election and not even blink an eye over it.
I’m actually beginning to think the fact that I don’t seem to fit into either “side’s” little predetermined mold a prudent position to remain in given the fact that neither side seems to give a rat’s ass about the situation I find myself in due to the machinations and “multidimensional chess games” that have replaced a simple scrutiny of each situation in the light of whether it’s right or wrong. I still like to do that little “think for myself” thing and if that pisses anyone off, I’m OK with that. Yup, it’s GOOD to be an independent.