Monday, June 27, 2005

Lord, I Was Born A Rambling Ma-aann...

In which I veer wildly across topic lanes without signalling.

Okay, I'm still completely mystified by this whole "moral values" thing. Just reading a couple of days' worth of NYT, I see a Frank Rich piece documenting multiple baldfaced lies and a significant whiff of corruption around the head of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, fallout from an article about extraordinary rendition (about half the letter-writers are outraged that the NYT would dare to expose the CIA's top-secret kidnapping aeroplane like that), and letters expressing horror at the complicity of American psychiatrists in the torture at Gitmo, in violation of every applicable tenet of medical ethics. And somewhat less recently, we apparently have the administration admitting to torture, or at least abuse, at Gitmo (thanks to smalfish for the link!).

I continue to be amazed at how this is all apparently okay. Head of the CPB is a nakedly partisan pathological liar? No problem. Kidnapping people and covertly flying them to countries that will torture them for us? Shrug. Psychiatrists wiping their asses with the Hippocratic Oath at the Gitmo Torture Factory? Hey, shit happens.

All of which indirectly goes back to filkertom's question and driftglass's recurring theme about how Republicans and so-called conservatives can be okay with all the evil done in their name. To expand on my comments on his post a little bit more, I think the Republicans can be very roughly broken down into two groups:

The first group, the genuinely evil group, are the people who really don't care about right or wrong, just so long as the government advances their agenda, be it accumulating and retaining wealth or indulging their hatred of The Other, be they brown, black, female, gay, or simply not-fundie. These are the rich/corporate and religious leadership of the Republican party, embodied by Grover Norquist and James Dobson, respectively. They also have an abundant army of selfish executives, wannabe entrepreneurs, racists, and fundamentalists at their disposal.

The second group, which I certainly hope is the larger, are the mostly decent people who get all their news from the TV, and simply don't realize what is being done in their name. They uncritically absorb all the talking points the first group feeds them, and genuinely believe that invading Iraq will ultimately lead to democracy and drain the terrorist swamp, that the poor just need to stop being coddled so they have to stop loafing and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and that AIDS could be eliminated if people would just stop sleeping around so much. And any mistreatment of prisoners is either the actions of a few bad apples, or is simply not so bad (two types of fruit!). If you tune out dissenting voices and don't examine it too critically, it's a fairly benevolent and compelling narrative that allows these Republicans to believe that they're still on the side of righteousness and America and apple pie.

Obviously, there's no way to persuade the first group - they know the score, and they like it. The question is, how do we persuade the second group, especially when they desperately want to go on believing that their team is the good guys? How do we convince them without making them stick their fingers in their ears, yelling "La la la la la, I'm not listening!" Yes, we can peel some of them off on a one-to-one basis, but is that enough to consign the Republicans to the wilderness where they belong? Is there any way to start reaching them wholesale?

The media has gotten a little bit better, but when it comes to subjects like the DSM, they're reluctant to cover and eager to drop, and even then only because of the liberal blogosphere going positively big brass ballistic about it. And as long as the Republicans control the media, they control reality. The blogosphere's nice, but it's not exactly widespread, and there are enough right-wing blogs that it's not necessarily a given that replacing the media with the blogosphere would be a clear-cut liberal victory. AAR and Pacifica are good too, but again, not nearly pervasive enough, especially when compared to their right-wing radio counterparts.

So yeah, filk's questions are good ones, but I just don't know how we're going to get them out there where the right people will read them, or how to get them to really think about them rather than dismissing them as liberal propaganda. I'm open to suggestions, but I'm not sure "pray for Soros to launch an insanely popular liberal news network" is sufficiently realistic.

2 comments:

smalfish said...

Eli,I have a link to the US admitting torture on my blog.

Torturers unite!

Eli said...

Thanks! Will update.