dilemmanade
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
 
On that red meat thing... (C)

I read at the LA Times web site the other day that Faux News a week ago Sunday ran a documentary where it was put forth that an Obama win in Novemeber will represent a "radical overthrow of our government."

That is read meat for the jackals. And McCain and Palin have been throwing them red meat, too.

We'll come back to that.

Remember the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000? Republican operatives flew in and staged a "spontaneous" protest of "the people" in Florida demanding a stop to the counting of votes.

To some people "democracy" is a means to power, not an end in itself. They don't revere it, or even respect it.

To people who do, in fact, revere democracy it is hard to believe that there are people who don't. And not just people in books, old movies, or faraway places, but people right here in the America.

Similarly, it seems impossible to people who habitually and deliberately tell the truth and play fair that there are people who do not; that there are people (and they occupy the executive branch of our government right now) who shamelessly cheat and lie to empower and enrich themselves and their pals.

It is so hard to believe that many people simply don't, despite ample evidence. And many more others who can see and admit to themselves that there are people who lie and cheat, but who never expect lieing and cheating ahead of time from them, and who don't conclude that they are lieing and cheating again even when they've been lied to and cheated before, unless there is substantial proof.

Expecting and assuming truth and fair play from others is a psychological trait of most people who don't lie and cheat. And this is generally a good thing-- how much less pleasant would the world be if everybody was suspicious of everybody else all the time?

But sometimes it's a bad thing. Sometimes it makes us stupid.

It's part of the explanation for the fact that anyone still thinks Bush has been doing a good job. His lawlessness and incompetence as President are unrivaled in our history. Some people are simply too uninformed to know. But many more start with the assumption that Bush doesn't lie and doesn't cheat, and they cannot be disabused of the notion. Since it couldn't be (psychologically) lieing and cheating, then: the war in Iraq must be a just one; the Katrina response must have been a well-intentioned attemp to do right; the spying must be necessary; the suspension of habeas corpus must be necessary; and so on.

Now, I'll grant that right wing nuts and Christian fundamentalists might have concrete reasons to be deliberately blind, but I don't think that's what's happening. It's an unconscious psychological mechanism at work. And it's working on most of the rest of us, too.

There is no other explanation for why the people accepted the Supreme Court decision of 2000 in Bush v Gore. Since it couldn't be (psychologically) people cheating, then it must be fair (to those who wanted Bush), or (for those who didn't) only something to be disappointed (not outraged) about.

There is no other explanation for why most of us don't believe that Bush won the 2004 election through fraud. There never was a good explanation for the difference between the exit polls and the vote in the ten "battleground" states. There were a couple of plausible notions tossed out, without evidence, and never proven. And that's all it took to get us to believe the election was legitimate, instead of simply concluding-- as we would have concluded had it been any other country or any other election-- that there had been fraud. Since it couldn't (psychologically) be cheating, then it's just an anomolie. Too bad for us.

Now, why the red meat? Perhaps the Republicans are looking to spark riots and right wing terrorism all over America when Obama is elected so that W can declare Marshal Law. (And just think how convenient will be all those new powers the President has amassed!)

Here's my point: If Bush does declare Marshal Law because riots and domestic terrorism from far right groups follows the election of Obama, if Bush declares the election null and void, well, we will do it again. The same psycholgical mechanism will kick in, and we will tell ourselves, "Nah, they wouldn't do that. Even they wouldn't do that. They wouldn't have set this up on purpose. They're not that evil, nobody is. We may have our differences, but they wouldn't resort to lieing and cheating in order to stay in power and continue to loot the economy. That's crazy talk! They're just trying to give us stability in these uncertain times, like they say they are."

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