The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a hand-wringing column today, “The GOP Fact Vacuum,” trying to point out in just a thousand words that vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, like Burger King, is the Home of the Whopper.
(Not that way, you nasty boy.)
I like Blow’s work, though I miss Bob Herbert and Frank Rich, former Times columnists. But today’s article bothered me a little, because of what it didn’t say, not what it did.
So I left a reply, which has received 129 “likes” so far, one of my more successful efforts of late. (Perspective: other commenters got hundreds more.)
I respect this column, but my frustration rose when Mr. Blow began his series of questions, e.g., “What does this portend for the republic? I worry deeply about this…”
The columnist’s job here is to answer the questions, not just ask them. But since he didn’t, I will. What this “portends” is that the truth no longer matters; a politician’s lies go through the same entertainment filter as a starlet’s latest arrest. It’s all showbiz; why not have Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for Hurricane Isaac or Clint Eastwood talking to a chair? “Can you believe what that Akin guy said?” is the same as “Can you believe what the Kardashians are up to now?” There’s a reason HuffPo puts politicians right next to celebs and cute cat pictures. It’s all about clicks.
Truth doesn’t matter anymore. Some people will vote GOP just to see pix of Romney’s handsome sons for the next four years. Jon Stewart can’t get over how “cute” Paul Ryan is; so was Sarah Palin, and when that went south Levi Johnston took off his clothes.
Apathy combines with powerlessness to hand the billionaires a golden opportunity. Democracy is dying and plutocracy will replace it. Sure, we’ll still have elections and wave flags, but the masses gave up their power the day they traded commercials for free entertainment. Someone’s already Photoshopped Chip, Bip, Grip, Whip & Dip Romney onto some naked guys; Arianna’s already got a slideshow in the hard drive.
I am guessing that the precipitants to today’s era of “truthiness” are first, the mic’ed-up, little-challenged “birthers,” and second, George W. Bush’s claims that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was an article of faith to the corporate media (including The Times) after 9/11.
But there are so many other lies one could cite that I’m not betting a nickel. You could just as easily refer to ex-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho): “I’m not gay, and I don’t cruise, and I don’t hit on men. […] I don’t go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn’t do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!”
I wouldn’t do it in Boise, either, so that part might have been the truth, except when he was cruising guys in sporting goods stores.
He was arrested on June 11, 2007. Despite his guilty plea he was allowed by his Senate colleagues and the people of Idaho to serve out the remainder of his term and didn’t leave office until January 3, 2009.
I would rather not sound like a prophet of doom; people vilified Cassandra even after they found out she was right.
But I do think this election is America’s last chance to save its democracy – that if Chip, Bip and Dip’s dad wins, we tip over into Rule by the Rich, if not psuedo-Christian fascism – and that the best way to prevent that and preserve the rule of law is to do to the greedy, selfish, sinful ideology of Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan what Lyndon Johnson did to Barry Goldwater: bury him in a landslide.
But here I sit this Labor Day weekend, and supposedly the polls are tied. No wonder Charles Blow is wringing his hands, asking questions and afraid of the answers.++