The GOP and Our Damaged American Psyche

obama apologizesAew nights ago, I was reading something about the late British thinker, novelist and screenwriter best known as Dresden James. A line of his that I came across brought into sharp focus for me why the Republican Party generally and Mitt Romney specifically – although he’s simply the latest wizard being operated by mystery men behind the Oz screen – keep getting support from voters who aren’t rich, powerful or connected even though the rich, powerful and connected are the only people the GOP actually cares about.

Of course, they had to cripple the American psyche to pull it off but they seem to be successful at it.

Dresden wrote, “It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”

The Dancing Bear

Beginning with Ronald Reagan, the most successful lie seller to parade into town since Harold Hill and the best dancing bear ever, the Republican Party’s true power grid – the Kochs and Norquists and Limbaughs and Murdoch’ and Roves and the like – have gone about systematically making the truth seem utterly preposterous.

Not even the candidate himself recognizes what words mean anymore. On Friday, Romney – the man who presided over a three-day lie fest in Tampa – actually said “the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true.”  This is rich, coming from the man whose supporters kept fact checkers so busy during his convention that they ran out of space to correct all of the untruths.

Item: A senior Romney staffer tells a journalist during the convention that the campaign won’t be distracted by fact checkers. Yet the candidate is still treated seriously by journalists who were told Planet Romney is a fact-free zone. Instead of being laughed out of the election, Romney remains in the headlines of newspapers and appearing on network newscasts.

Item: “Baghdad Bob” Senor, the loyal Bushie made chief PR flack for the Coalition Provisional Authority, whose ineptitude and lying was so notorious he became a focal point of Rajiv Chandrasekharan’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City, has emerged as a foreign policy honcho for the Romney campaign, a talking head defending the candidate on his totally uninformed comments about rioting in Libya and Egypt.

Item: In 2005, I published an investigative piece entitled Washington’s Darkest Secret in which my sources revealed that, for nearly a decade, the CIA had a mole buried deep inside al Qaeda who’d tipped off the agency in the summer of 2001 that 9/11 was coming. Although the mole didn’t have a specific date or the exact targets other than sometime in September when airplanes would be hijacked and flown into buildings, when George Tenant warned President Bush at an emergency meeting in August at Bush’s ranch, the intelligence chief was sent packing. Right-wing media howlers called me everything from a “truther” to a fabricator and the mainstream medica ignored the story entirely even when I offered up some of my anonymous sources. Yet within the past two weeks, new reporting by the Associated Press not only confirmed what I’d written, it revealed that neo-con’s inside the Bush administration talked the president out of taking any action.

Opposite Day

George Carlin’s nightmare has come true and words have taken on opposite meanings: Lying is truth, stupid is smart, fools are wise. We’ve gone through the looking glass and don’t know how to get back.

This must be why, if I tell people there was no Adam or Eve, they call me dangerous. If I state god is something man invented because he was ignorant of science, I am called a Communist. When I point out that the entire notion of heaven and hell was made up by ancient priests who needed to keep the starving and diseased peasant rabble in line, I am labeled anti-Christian. Tell zealots that the way Israel was created is a crime against all humanity and I am accused of anti-Semitism – a real stretch since my dad’s entire family, and parts of my mother’s, is Jewish.

If I mention to right wingers that very few homeless people are toothless rummies or zoned out addicts but rather formerly middle class folks, they accuse me of exaggerating. When I write that more than 80% of the national debt that’s getting Republicans all sweaty was created by George W. Bush’s trifecta of two massive tax cuts and one disastrous Iraq war, they insist I am a “liberal liar.” Barely do I mention that the numbers in Paul Ryan’s economic plan don’t pass a simple addition test before I am labeled a scoundrel.

To have truth viewed as preposterous by so many, Republicans and the movement conservatives funding them not only had to change the meaning of words, they had to damage the American psyche so deeply it may be beyond repair for a generation or longer.

Charley James

Author and journalist Charley James’ next book is about his experience becoming homeless. When published, Charley will donate a percentage of his advance and royalties to homeless organizations.

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Posted: Saturday, 15 September 2012

Charley’s next book is about his experience being homeless. When published, he will donate a percentage of his royalties to homeless organizations.

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