On Building Up and Breaking Down Myths
Shrub--not so big and tough, after all.
Another follow-up here from observations by Brent Blundell, Scout-Prime--and Schroeder, with a little bit of Arabian Nights for good measure:
Karl Rove has a simple rule, they say: When you are falling behind, attack your opponents at their strongest point. In the upcoming election, the Democrats' strongest point should obviously be Iraq. With the spotlight eternally focused on the disastrous war there, Rove has to figure out how to turn its dazzling beam to his party's advantage.
So he's borrowing a page from an ancient Iranian storybook and imitating Scheherazade, the maiden whose husband's policy was "wed 'em, bed 'em, and kill 'em at dawn." Rove is telling Republican candidates to follow Scheherazade's rule: When policy dooms you, start telling stories -- stories so fabulous, so gripping, so spellbinding that the king (or, in this case, the American citizen who theoretically rules our country) forgets all about a lethal policy...
The Scheherazade strategy is a great scam, built on the illusion that simple moralistic tales can make us feel secure, no matter what's actually going on out there in the world. Though it never fulfills its promise, too many Americans keep on falling for it.
It's an especially great scam when you've got the media clarion call going 24/7 in helping perpetuate Team Bush interpretations of reality. This tends to make it all the more difficult in pointing out the inadequacies, the failures, the sheer blissfest of stupidity in pretty much every decision this administration makes...and, of course, the gravy train of federal dollars flowing to the various Shrub-supporting special interests doesn't help either.
But there's got to be a way to point out the Potemkin-village nature of this administration...an administration who's claim to office rests, at the very least, on an accident, if not outright fraud (funny how that stench seems to always waft around Team Bush...and their fellow travelers)...but I digress.
My point, however roundabout and unedited it might be, is that myth, for so many people, must seem easier--and more comforting--than the reality we actually live in.
Harry Shearer brings this up in his latest post about the New Orleans flood of 2005:
you are continually exposed to the myth and protected from the reality. The myth has won, the reality has lost, and so has the city.
There's the ongoing myth of Iraq being better off post-invasion...to the extent that anyone NOT prefacing criticism of the war with a denunciation of Saddam Hussein is forced into immediate and irreversible defensive action...by the way, here's my own, lest I be forever branded a Saddam lover: he was as scummy a dictator as Ann Coulter is a skanky demi-pundit.
You could go on and on: this administration--with help (sometimes from their nominal political opponents)--has manufactured myths to such an extent that it might be their ONLY unqualified success. But...such success could well contain within it the seeds of their failure, much in the same way that Icarus's wax wings couldn't handle the sunshine. And that might well be the key: a little sunshine.
Let's face it: we're dealing with a gang of thugs and crooks, who will stop at absolutely NOTHING. I think we need to hammer this home over and over--as often, or even more often, than Blundell's excellent suggestion of a rallying cry of "Government That Works." Because, whether we like it or not, the sheer structure of our national government's design makes "going negative" quite a bit easier than projecting "a positive message" (if you don't believe me, ask yourself: how many elections has it been since you were able to vote FOR a candidate, instead of "the lesser of two evils"? My own answer to that question is: never).
Thugs and crooks can no more "win the war on terror" than a quack can cure cancer (and I think the analogy of "terrorism=cancer" might work...sadly, a lot of us are all too familiar with the ravages of this disease, the necessity for a pretty complicated treatment regimen, and the foolishness of quacks promising "miracle cures" every bit as harebrained as the Team Bush terror policy).
Myths have some basis in reality--and I think it's time those of us who prefer an adult-based government, as opposed to the arrested-growth juveniles presently running things, have LOTS of reality to work with in hammering home the argument that, between Rove, Cheney, David S. Addington, Abu Gonzales, the Chimp they've got for their public face, Rumsfeld, Abramoff, Tom DeLay, etc., you're looking at a gang of folks with the moral character of an Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold (and if you think that's a bit harsh, remember, THEY'RE the ones arguing for Bill Keller's gassing). Ridicule is also an effective weapon--don't let anyone forget about the ridiculous press conference the AG called to announce the arrest of "terrorists" who wanted to blow up the Sears Tower...except that they lacked bombs, guns...ahem, "uniforms"...and probably bus fare to get around Liberty City. Hell, that's worse than my parents' old kitty-cat, who's hunting "skills" were limited to catching baby field mice at their house in the country...baby field mice so young they weren't actually, you know, able to walk.
Point out that they're no more "conservative" than armed bank robbers are Robin Hood: they've squandered the national treasury, they've NOT stopped terrorism, they've NOT caught Osama bin Laden...it took them three years to find and kill Zarqawi (and their method was, well, so crude that they managed to off a five year old child, although these folks are such scum they're probably proud of that). They're NOT making the country any more safe...they're lording over it like Don Fanucci (who, in a deleted scene from the movie, is attacked by a bunch of KIDS--Vito Corleone witnesses this, prior to making his own move).
Countering THEIR myths won't be easy, given that we lack their relentless barrage of media...but I think people are beginning to feel a little uneasy with this gang of assclowns...watching them flail about after New Orleans flooded was a real eye-opener. Their so-painfully obvious failure explains why they went so ape-shit in attacking everyone they could think of...even one of their own in Brownie.
I think it can be done. Shine a little light in...and they'll scurry around like roaches in a no-longer-dark-kitchen...