BY VERN TURNER
OK. All the headlines scream “GOP Landslide!” Great. Congratulations, GOP, your election machine vanquished your opponents just as you’ve been trying to do since Karl Rove, Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes rose from the fetid swamps of Republican propaganda mongers. They indeed gave propaganda a whole new meaning since George H.W. Bush made the infamous decision to hire them.
The thing is, though, landslides are also known as natural disasters. There was a horrible landslide in Sri Lanka last week where many people died in spite of the rescuers digging hard to find survivors.
My question, therefore, is, “Who will dig our survivors out of this election landslide in the U.S.?”
Bush’s three horsemen of the “democolypse” have succeeded in creating a political environment with no shoring up of hillsides against a torrent of lies, mistakes, bias, dysfunction, obstruction, corruption and suppression: the key elements in Republican politics.
Their “success” is most visible when one looks at the voter turnout. The Republican propaganda coupled with media saturation helped over 60% of our registered voters to decide not to vote. We still have around 30% of eligible voters not even registered to vote. That translates to a “win” of 10-15 points representing about 20% of the eligible voters actually selecting the “winner.”
I’ll bet all those men and women pushing up marble headstones in our military cemeteries are very proud of what they died for in preserving our right to vote. Imagine what they would say when realizing that political contributors spent more money on the 2014 election campaigns than we spent on six World War II aircraft carriers.
I can hear the moans coming from Arlington, Ft. Rosecrans and a host of other military graveyards as they realize that their sacrifices for freedom and liberty have been dashed on the altar of big money, PACs and SCOTUS rulings that allow corporations to be defined as people and money as speech.
Perhaps those veterans from all our wars, legal and otherwise, should visit those registered voters who didn’t vote and ask why they didn’t. Let them wear their medals and prostheses to these visits with those citizens who are unregistered and ask why they are not registered to vote.
That would be a start to our national democracy resurrection even though asking our veterans to sacrifice even more for the preservation of our Constitutional rights seems a little unfair.
Norway’s government funds 80% of their elections and over 80% of their voters show up to vote. What an interesting “coincidence.” Have we ever had 80% voter turnout since the 18th Century?
Our media is owned and operated, by and large, by corporations who are led by “conservative” business people. The ultimate media/propaganda device, Fox News, is owned by an Australian right-wing radical named Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also owns and operates the Wall Street Journal and a variety of TV and radio networks. Australia exported Murdoch for trying to monopolize the media with his right-wing extremist views.
Naturally, our corporate “thinkers” happily took him in to do what he does best. Yes, it IS a conspiracy. Murdoch hired Roger Ailes, Bush’s former hatchet writer, to head Fox News, thus creating a completely biased propaganda outlet that touts: “fair and balanced”. In a pig’s eye …
Yet Fox News is watched by more Americans than any other news network. The propaganda scheme works for Americans too lazy to find the truth themselves.
The litany of hate and lies about progressive policies and candidates sold – big time – in this country. The lead phrase for any Fox News lie is “Some people say … ” This lead-in is what has Ted Cruz on TV so often. Ever since the nation elected a brown president – twice by over 50% – Fox News and its spinoffs have been hammering the fears and prejudices of the white American psyche. It worked.
Just as Ailes says: “The truth is what people believe it to be.”
This is followed by another famous quote from an even less savory character, Hermann Goering [paraphrasing]: “If you tell people the same lie often enough, sooner or later they will come to believe it as truth.” It worked for the Nazis and it works for Fox News.
I’m not blaming the dismal voter turnout or the election’s results entirely on Fox News, because there are still enough rational people around to see through the nonsense. The problem is that too few of them voted. Too many succumbed to the media poll lust and just threw up their hands and said it doesn’t matter.
Well, it does matter. Those of us who retain some honor and respect for the founders and saviors of our country know that it matters. There are just too few of them left and they’re not convincing anybody to understand that freedom and democracy requires effort and commitment.
This is where I say I’m glad I’m old and that future writings of mine will be fiction; perhaps fantasy. I intend to write about a nation that is filled with concerned and caring citizens who vote like their lives depended on it. That country will have, as its main tenet, the operating philosophy that working as a community and utilizing all material and human resources for the benefit of as many humans and their support systems as possible generates optimum expression of the human condition.
This country will take science seriously and be able to understand the facts without the encumbrance of religious dogma. It will seek peace as a first choice to international relations instead of war. This country will enforce fair taxation so that everyone pays their fair share and is prevented from avoiding the wages of civilization.
This fictitious country will incentivize full employment with living wages and opportunities for personal growth at all levels. This country will employ special missions to eliminate pockets of abject poverty by utilizing the local citizens’ skills and motives to rebuild their neighborhoods from the inside out. If skills are missing, training will be provided.
Some will read this and sneer, saying something about my fictitious country being something from any number of books or just another venture into Sociology 101. I don’t care.
What I do care about are my fellow Americans who are about to experience the next two years of utter embarrassment from our leaders in government at all levels.
The corruption and graft will be made even more opaque, and the people will suffer. Gridlock is no longer just a noun. It will be our new normal in Washington.
My heartfelt sympathies go to the younger generations or to my former students who are now raising their new families: Don’t repeat the mistakes of civic sloth of your parents’ generations. Educate your children to what is truth and good for people. Don’t screw things up as we did. Make my fictitious country become a reality.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.