Thursday, January 27, 2011
If Ignorance is Bliss Why are There so Many Unhappy People?
I watched a lecture that the brilliant Chris Hedges gave at the University of Toronto, where he was discussing his latest book The Death of the Liberal Class. It was broadcast on the show Big Ideas on public television (TVOntario), though I believe it may also be available on YouTube.
His appearance took place days after the U.S. mid-term elections, the results of which Hedges referred to as "the beginning of the empowerment of the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party."
And he's absolutely right. Moderate Republicans are losing their home, while many Democrats are becoming more like Republicans.
The Tea Party was the brain child of former Republican Majority House Leader, Dick Armey, and several corporate sponsors, including the infamous Koch Brothers, who felt that the Republicans were not right-wing enough. Armey created the AstroTurf group Americans for Prosperity, which has ties to the Harper government.
But where will it end? Hedges believes it may be too late to save the United States, and he could be right, because few progressives know how to break through the wall of ignorance.
In the video below Chris Matthews is trying to get an answer from Tea Party co-founder Sal Russo, on why a prominent Tea Party leader, Michelle Bachmann, is rewriting history on slavery. Matthews begins to lose his composure, as he is constantly presented with talking points.
This is an old neoconservative strategy. We saw it in the House of Commons, when they were debating the Afghan Detainee issue. The only thing we got from the government side of the House, was "there's no evidence" "we support the troops", "the opposition is attacking our troops" ... It was like happy hour at the funny farm.
And Bachmann is not the first in this movement, to attempt to rewrite history. In Texas, they are removing Thomas Jefferson from their school textbooks, because he advocated the separation of Church and State. He is being replaced with Billy Graham, which is ironic, because Graham denounced Richard Nixon when he attempted to exploit Christianity for political gain.
And Sarah Palin is constantly referring to Harvard grad, Obama as an "elitist", invoking the founding fathers. But what she fails to realize, is that all of the founding fathers were well educated, forward thinking men. They were lawyers, judges, scientists. And they would have hated this Tea Party movement, that attempts to dummy down a nation.
Yet they are taking over.
In fact one of their spokesmen, Matt Kibbe, when asked if the TP had infiltrated the Republican party, said that he preferred to think of it as "a hostile takeover".
And they are doing just that. A Tea Party Activist Takes Over New Hampshire Republicans and Arizona and Washington may be following suit. The Republicans embraced this movement as a means to achieve power, but in the end, they could be losing their brand.
If there's an upside to this, it's that the right may split the vote, but if the Democrats don't move away from right-wing politics, they will not be able to cash in. The only choice for Americans will be which right-wing party they choose, which will probably mean even fewer people voting at all.
A similar thing is happening in Canada, as the Christan Right and Tea Party thinking now fuels our government. But the problem is, that no one is talking about it. And when they do, as Rick Salutin found out when he called Stephen Harper a Straussian (neoconservative), they are fired.
And yet when Stephen Harper's Reform movement first hit the political scene, everyone called them neoconservatives. We already had a Tory Party, a Liberal Party and a New Democrat Party. The Reform was neocon, and their connections with the American Republicans was spoke of everyday.
Read books from the '90s. Neoconservative was becoming a common term. Now it's taboo. And if we can't use 'neoconservative', then we sure can't use Religious Right, but we have to start using those terms as part of normal political discourse. Because if we don't we will soon be where the U.S is. At the point of no return.