Is the American electorate the least informed in the world? It is possible. I mean, after all, we’re looking at a possible century-long reign of Republican crazy as a result of the past two midterms. If you’re like me, you begin to wonder after a while if everybody but you took a stupid pill.
Or just watched too much TV. We have Fox News, after all, and even with declining ratings, a lot of people watch Fox News. Their old folk base stubbornly refuses to die off, or maybe there just are not enough young people NOT watching it. But even if you avoid it at home, you can’t escape it in stores and restaurants, so even if you don’t want to hear it, you’re bombarded nonstop with lies and distortions.
And let’s face it: there are a lot of vulnerable minds out there that should be protected from this stuff, and I’m not just talking children.
Certainly the midterm election results give one pause as well, with voters going with ballot initiatives in complete contradiction of the party they actually sent to Congress. Makes you wonder if they really understood any of the issues they were voting for, or if they really knew what their Republican candidates were for an against.
Extremism is hidden, after all, by the mainstream media. Fox News certainly doesn’t disclose the really crazy stuff; the crazy stuff you do see on Fox News is just the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream media is even worse than this, completely ignoring, for example, the extremism of supposedly mainstream Republican candidates while promoting the fantasy that the Republican Party has reigned the Tea Party in. In fact, the Tea Party is so reigned in that Ted Cruz has been anointed by those ultra-extremists as de-facto leader of both chambers of Congress, right over Mitch McConnell’s balding pate.
The problem is, the Republican Party is just as – if not more – extreme, than it was pre-reigning in. What seems to have happened is that the Tea Party craziness has been further mainstreamed, subsumed by the Republican establishment until the need for Tea Party radicalism has gone away.
And despite the fact that the ballot initiatives show widespread support for liberal and progressive positions on culture-war issues, the mainstream media is now claiming that the election proves the country has become a center-right country.
Right. That’s why most Americans support liberal positions like marriage equality and raising the minimum wage.
If the election results – leaving out the carefully ignored ballot initiatives – are supposed to prove their thesis of a center right country, how about the voter suppression, voter intimidation, and outright fraud the mainstream media completely ignored? And how about the district gerrymandering, which was also carefully ignored?
If America is stupid, it is not only underfunding education and overfunding charter “schools” but the mainstream media that is the blame. Look, there are reasons Republicans hate actual schools, because even under-funded, they actually educate kids. And there are reasons they love charter schools, because like all privatization, charter schools are money making schemes that make Republicans rich while educating no one. In fact, we’ve already seen that to celebrate their midterm theft of American democracy, Republicans are anxious to promote and support charter schools.
And why not? If you can’t steal elections any other way, just keep folks dumb enough to do what you tell them to do and think what you tell them to think. It’s working. Look at all the folks who think raising the minimum wage will destroy the country. Do you know people like that? I do. Blame Fox News for that, yes, but also the mainstream media.
You don’t see many moments of mainstream media candor where, as CNN Money did in January, it is revealed that 75 leading economists back raising the minimum wage. The mainstream media much prefers the conservative narrative, but of course, the mainstream media is a corporate media and it’s no more anxious to pay its employees a living wage than any other corporation.
We are facing a national crisis. An electorate too stupid to understand the issues and too unmotivated to vote even if they did. This midterm election was a national disgrace, and not only because of Republican propaganda, dark money, and electoral corruption, but because of widespread apathy.
You can be sure that Republicans will do all in their power between now and 2016 to ensure that Democrats never get elected again. We can laugh at Oregon Rep. Greg Walden’s claim Wednesday that, “We’re back to a majority as big as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority,” and certainly with his outrageous lies as to why that might be true, but we really shouldn’t laugh, because it might be true.
The Republican Party has completely de-legitimized liberal and progressive politics. We are now people who can have our heads held under water until we stop breathing, who can be “made to squeal,” not like pigs, but like rape victims in Deliverance, from where the line comes.
You know you stand in dark times when the mainstream media stubbornly refuses to report these outrages, or when the president’s offer to work with Congress is met, not with the relief it deserves, but with outrage.
What’s more frightening yet is that you won’t hear about that outrage from the mainstream media. Americans should not have to work so hard to get informed, and they won’t bother until they realize they are being kept uninformed. You can’t expect to have questions answered if you don’t know which questions to ask.
But until something is done to bring about change, American democracy will stand in front of a corporate executioner. If the trigger hasn’t been pulled already, it won’t be long until we collectively topple, like an ISIL victim, into a grave we have been forced to dig for ourselves.
Update [11.7.14: 1:58 pm] This post has been updated to reflect the anointing of Ted Cruz as de-facto leader of Congress.
Update [11.9.14] The original image used for this post has been removed as it has been brought to my attention by a reader that the artist, David Dees, is a holocaust denier
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.