Sunday, September 14, 2008

WTF is with the US??

Like my friend atomicat, I initially thought McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate was good news for those of us who want McCain to lose. After all, she seems totally out of her depth, a major liability on the campaign trail. But is she? This Huffington Post article by Adam McKay seems to suggest otherwise:

"Stop saying that!" my wife says to me. But this is not a high school football game and I'm not a cheerleader with a bad attitude. This is an election and as things stand now, we're gonna frickin' lose this thing. Obama and McCain at best are even in the polls nationally and in a recent Gallup poll McCain is ahead by four points.

Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

How can this be? McKay thinks he knows:

So what is this house advantage the Republicans have? It's the press. There is no more fourth estate. Wait, hold on...I'm not going down some esoteric path with theories on the deregulation of the media and corporate bias and CNN versus Fox...I mean it: there is no more functioning press in this country. And without a real press the corporate and religious Republicans can lie all they want and get away with it. And that's the 51% advantage.

Think this is some opinion being wryly posited to titillate other bloggers and inspire dialogue with Tucker Carlson or Gore Vidal? Fuck that. Four corporations own all the TV channels. All of them. If they don't get ratings they get canceled or fired. All news is about sex, blame and anger, and fear. Exposing lies about amounts of money taken from lobbyists and votes cast for the agenda of the last eight years does not rate. The end.

So one side can lie and get away with it. Now let's throw in one more advantage. Voter caging and other corruption on the local level with voting. Check out the article here on HuffPost about Ohio messing with 600K voters. If only five thousand of those voters don't or can't vote that's a huge advantage in a contest that could be decided by literally dozens of votes. That takes us to about a 52 to 48% advantage.

I'm not even getting into the fact that the religious right teaches closed mindedness so it's almost impossible to gain new voters from their pool because people who disagree with them are agents of the devil. I just want to look at two inarguable realities: A) we have no more press and B) the Repubs are screwing with the voters on the local level.

The last paragraph is rather interesting, because McKay here alludes to an even deeper problem that America suffers from -- and then proceeds to ignore it (perhaps it's too scary for him to want to think about). It's scarier than the simple fact that the press isn't doing its job, because it means that a lot of people simply will not be educated into a better understanding of the issues. After all, we're talking about a country where being dumb, or at least ignorant, is seen as a virtue by a sizeable chunk of the population.There's a story I've heard (though I haven't found confirmation anywhere) that says that Bill Clinton, who is fluent in German, made use of that skill in casual conversations with Helmut Kohl at some international conferences. What's shocking, though, is that Clinton's handlers felt the need to keep this fact from the public. Yes, it was feared that being seen to be fluent in a foreign tongue was bad for the president's image. Just think about that for a moment. Then think about the Palin gaffes that have been covered by the media, and the fact that McCain went up in the polls after selecting her, in spite of this.

Yes, in America, ignorance is strength.

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