No posts for a few days, partially due to more grandchildren visiting, but mostly due to seething anger over what’s happening in the health care debate, coupled with just a tad of despair. One bright spot was today’s tape of Barney Frank at a town hall dismissing a right-wing jerk by telling her he wouldn’t bother talking with her after she showed up with one of the Obama-as-Hitler pictures.
There are many things going on that I just don’t understand, not the least of which is the attitude of the White House, as they apparently continue to search for some sort of a “bi-partisan” bill when the Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they will vote no on any reform measure, no matter what it says. What can Obama be thinking? If local feelings are any indication, the millions who worked for his election are right now in a wait-and-see mode before committing themselves to further efforts on behalf of a bill which has no clear-cut provisions.
A significant number of progressive Democrats in the House have indicated they will not support any bill without a strong public option, without which health care reform is not worth doing. Conservative Democrats in the Senate, on the other hand, see the public option as too much government control, and say they can’t support it.
Then we have the crazies on the right-wing, the birthers, deathers et al. They want the whole thing to die a quick death, and they can’t seem to figure out there’re working for the health insurance lobby. They seem to think they are “patriots” trying to stop “their America” from sliding into socialism, fascism, Hitler-ism or whatever happens to be the “ism” of the day. Never mind that the terms they use interchangeably are mutually exclusive.
One of the biggest mysteries of this whole thing has just become a lot clearer to me thanks to a post on Huffington titled Why Obama Had to Have Been Born in Kenya by Bryant Welch, a Psychologist/Attorney. In his excellent post he addresses exactly how the right-wing leadership has created the alternate reality their obedient ground troops are currently living in.
“Current right-wing politics is an art form that is designed to re-define reality for a class of people who are increasingly unable to establish their own sense of reality. Instead, they succumb and become increasingly dependent on someone else to tell them what is real and what is not real. In their regressed psychological state, under certain conditions, many people will accept as real whatever they are told by an authoritative sounding figure be it Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O’Reilly. And the more people lean on these people to provide that function, the more dependent they become on them, and the less able they are to think for themselves. As this process continues people will accept ever more outrageous ideas. Death squads in health care? Obama secretly born in Kenya? Okay.
The value people like Limbaugh and O’Reilly have for these people is that without them people simply cannot make sense of their world. They are in a state of confusion unless and until someone offers them a reality that “explains” things enough that they at least feel they understand what is going on in the world. Only then is their panic and anxiety abated.”
Once they are secure in their new reality, they are extremely reluctant to return to the state of anxiety that preceded the new sense of “rightness” and certitude they now inhabit. This process is not unlike religious indoctrination, which first convinces a person (usually a child) that they are in mortal danger of spending eternity in an unpleasant place, then offering a way out of the imaginary peril in the form of adherence to and belief in increasingly ridiculous rules and dogma.
Facts mean nothing, evidence means nothing, reason and critical thought processes are out the window once the alternative worldview is fully implanted. That’s why the birthers and the deathers can maintain their certitude in the face of incontrovertible evidence that their beliefs are purely imaginary.
“And make no mistake about it, the conservative element in America has a very good understanding of how this process works inside the mind, the critical sense of timing it requires, and how one must deliver the powerful messages in repetitive depth charges to the human mind….
There are two critical elements to this form of “reality” politics. One is timing. The other is certainty. To exploit this vulnerability in the mind, the time to strike is at the very first moment of uncertainty that people feel, before they have formed any reality of their own and before they become attached to anyone else’s view of reality.”
Still sounds like religion, doesn’t it? It is! Make no mistake about it. Same tactics, exact same result. Is there any way out of this? Does the writer suggest countermeasures that progressives and liberals can use against this virulent form of mind control? Fortunately, yes.
“So what should progressives do? Do we have to be like the far right and beat them at their own game? No, not at all. But we do have to hoist them on their own petard. We have to expose the manipulations and the manipulators with a torrential counterattack that is focused on the manipulations, not a message that emphasizes some irrelevant “positive” message such as how important health reform is.
Instead, we need to harness the rage that is ubiquitous in this country because of all the uncertainty and the confusion. That is the energy that is driving health care and most political life in America at the present time. We need to harness it for constructive purposes, exposing the puppeteers and the corporate interests that are behind them. Health care is ultimately a populist issue, but we are not igniting the populist rage that drives all populism. Until progressives learn this lesson they will lose.”
He suggests we continue to beat away at the connections between the insurance lobbiests, organizations like Dick Armey’s Freedomworks, and the so-called grass roots organizations that are fueling the rage on the ground. These are fellow Americans, after all, and although they are acting like goons now, they are being well coached to act in that manner, and we have to continue to live together after this is all over.
Remember, that in their worldview, Obama is in the process of enslaving the white race and leading the whole country into socialism.