One of the things that amazes me in my comparative studies of Democrats and Republicans (in other words, my daily perusals of my Twitter timeline) is the almost complete naiveté with which both sides seem to approach our political processes. There is this willingness among the electorate to simply suspend common sense and analytical thinking in favor of symbolism of one type or another. We have become a nation of people so inured by empty phraseology and meaningless posturing, we’ve lost all sight of the simple distinctions between right and wrong and even the ability to determine what is or isn’t in our own best interests.
We’re so totally worn down by the incessant cacophony of noise emanating form the instruments of what some (mistakenly) call the information age that we’ll jump on any bandwagon for any reason we think is out of the ordinary and instill ourselves in positions of abject adoration of anyone who is adept at telling us what we want to hear and promising us the 21st century’s equivalent of the old chicken in every pot.
And then, when the chicken fails to materialize, we’re so entrenched in what has become for us a new form of “ism”, that we’ll go to any lengths to ignore or rationalize the ever growing evidence that our Messiah for this decade or century or millennium apparently never had any intention of providing us with any chickens and the best we can hope for is a cold biscuit or two. All seem to be able to do then is extoll the numerous virtues of cold biscuits
This first round, I’d like to say a few words about conservatives. Not conservative politicians who do what they do because they’re whores and that’s what whores do. Not lobbyists who do what they do because they’re pimps and that’s what pimps do. Nope, want to talk about rank and file RWs, the ones that Ann Romney includes in her assessment of “those people”, because of all the ideological animals out there, they’re the most readily herdable and intellectually incurious of the bunch and as such have probably done more actual harm than any or all of the other ideological entities through their total ignorance of even the most elementary precepts of governance.
In general, conservatives are the least informed and least intellectually curious of the electorate. They don’t do well at all with the abstract or the allegorical and will generally tend to base their choices on purely material considerations, mainly things that can be counted and quantified easily such as dollars or material wealth expressed in terms of dollars. Anything that they can be convinced puts more dollars in their own pockets is the quantum yardstick by which they measure any political issue or candidate. The simple, one word description for it is greed, but it goes much deeper than that for many.
Many of today’s rank and file conservatives were raised in circumstances that can only be described as poverty and indeed most are from some of the poorest parts of the country where coal is king and the mine owners are the nobility. In most cases, they were poor working class people, their parents had been poor working class people, and their grandparents were poor working class people. Generations trapped in a situation over which they had little or no control, with little or no understanding of the actual workings of the system, lacking the capacity to discern the difference between the trillions lavished on banks and corporations in the form of corporate welfare and the food stamps received by a single mom with a part time minimum wage job (or two) getting some help feeding her kids, they are easy prey for people like the Kochs or the jackals on Wall Street.
All the propaganda machine has to do is sufficiently demonize that single mom as the root of all the financial evils, not only distracting Joe’s attention from their own predations but as a happy little added circumstance, making sure her food stamp money winds up in their pockets too. Bubba thinks this makes him better off somehow although he’s incapable of providing a viable explanation of how this might be so.
The fact that they themselves might have been raised in FmHA or HUD homes, ate food bought with food stamps, suffered through hard times with their parents unemployed or weathered out (this was very common in the small agricultural community I grew up in)… none of it means anything now. I’d bet a dollar to a doughnut that many of them are on various forms of assistance even as they rail against the programs providing it under the false premise that if they could get rid of food stamps for millions they wouldn’t need to be on food stamps themselves when the mine closes down or receive any kind of relief when their house burns or blows/washes away.
These are the people who will tell you that they or their parents never abused social programs but that they see “everybody else” abusing food stamps and social programs “every day” and that the only solution is just to end the program, yadayada. Of course when pressed, all they’re doing is repeating anecdotes they’ve read or heard from some right wing media or internet outlet, a fact that becomes obvious when their anecdotal “evidence” invariably” looks as if it was cut and pasted from the same source. The truth is if your seeing all those people abusing their food stamps all that often, you’re spending too damned much time at Walmart nd need to get yourself another hobby besides stalking food stamp recipients.
Joe Sixpack often has no idea that the CEO of the company he works for is knocking down 200-500 times more bucks than he is or that it would take him 7 million years to match the money the Walton family alone has derived from their Chinese operation the entire reason the organization exists is to provide billions to people who make their living doing nothing manipulating other people’s money and often betting on the failure of our economy, because he isn’t privy to the machinations taking place in the wood paneled boardrooms where the fates of himself and his family are ultimately determined. And to put it bluntly, he’s simply too damned lazy to either find out or to make the connection between that and his own situation. Far easier to let Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell him how it is in America than to take the time from his football and NASCAR to find out for himself.
As an example of one of the things that the average conservative can’t be bothered to think about we can use the tired old refrain that the richest 10% pay more than 73% of the total income taxes in this country, even as misleading as that statement might be given the recent revelations of off shore bank accounts and barely legal maneuverings they go through to ensure they DON’T pay taxes on what they earn. Rank and file conservatives have been taught by that same richest 10% to believe that there is something “unjust” in that situation even though… and this is the kicker you will NEVER see mentioned by the 10%… the 10% receive and own 73% of the WEALTH on which those taxes are being paid!
Joe has no slightest conception that when you take 73% of a taxable commodity… in this case, wealth… you NEED to pay 73% of the taxes on that commodity, any more than they understand that many of the social services and programs that, in many cases, their parents had to fall back on during hard in order to get them raised came from the same taxes that they so bitterly resent today on behalf of the rich.
Another factor is that to them a shitty job is better than no job and while that may be true to a certain extent, they fail to understand that those aren’t the only two alternatives. My generation and the one before it sacrificed blood (often literally), sweat and tears trying to get the working class an even break in this country and in the past thirty years damned near everything we gained from the 40s through the 70s has been pissed away by an electorate too damned lazy and self involved to even try to maintain any of it and whose only interests lie in trying to find scapegoats to blame because they no longer have what they couldn’t be bothered trying to preserve.
People this ignorant are begging to be herded and the herding of sheep in the “proper” directions has become one of the major industries… if not actually THE major industry… in this country today as witness the hundreds of lobbyists that make their daily living hanging out in DC and the state capitals with blank checks, buying our representative republic… or at least our representatives… right out from under us. Look at the subornation of the media, the attempts to suppress free speech, the internal spying… and worst of all, look how many “ordinary” people are OK with all of this. If we lose this country to the corporofascists it’s because we, as a people, were simply too damned lazy and self absorbed to do what needed to be done to prevent it.