Monday, September 22, 2008

America the Duped?

If you aren’t frightened for your country right now, you should be. In a couple of months Americans could be led again, like compliant sheep, into electing another George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but with even worse consequences. How are Americans so easily lulled and duped? Seems it doesn’t take much. American Indians knew all about it. A proverb attributed to the Cherokee says it well,

"Tell me facts and I may remember them. Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever."

In 2000, and 2004, it was storytelling time. George W. Bush was marketed not unlike a prime time dog food commercial. He already had a familiar presidential name. Great stories were repeated over and over about his supposed accomplishments, and qualifications. His spoiled rich playboy past, problems with alcoholism, basically unspectacular work history, and lackluster accomplishments were carefully downplayed or blanked out. But you never actually see the dog food being made in their commercials either.

But it was enough for Bush, with the help of The Supreme Court to barely prevail over Vice President Al Gore. In 2004, the storytelling with a boost from 9/11 again prevailed, fending off Senator John Kerry in spite of Bush’s already dismal track record. Now in 2008 the Republicans offer aging, confused Senator McCain as president and a last minute unknown female rookie Governor from Alaska, with a closet crowded with skeletons as Vice President. That is frightening on its face.

Big time Republican storytelling has frantically been going on. Outright lies about Senator Obama, repeated shamelessly over and over. The story trumping fact and reason. Is it working? NY Times columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, reports that, “A Pew Research Center survey released a few days ago found that only half of Americans correctly know that Mr. Obama is a Christian. More ominously, a rising share — now 16 percent — say they aren’t sure about his religion because they’ve heard “different things” about it.”

Different things . . .” Like the tongue clucking of a gossipy old aunt. Doubt, rumor, toss in a dash of racism and Americans themselves could once again fall for the tactics and misdirection of entrenched self-serving cynics. Are you frightened yet? Frightened enough to physically get out there and fight the stories?

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