On the day before this year's Mid-Term elections, I published a commentary to Andrew Leonard's Salon.com article, "The Unbearable Stupidity of American Voters." In the commentary, I made the following trepidacious forecast:
My Friend, how it pains me that you are so correct. It cuts to my American soul, that, within the week, we may, once again, read international headlines LIKE THIS, where our closest allies tell the world that, in their opinion, WE'RE IDIOTS! I must tell you that it gets old knowing that we are being globally regarded as "Howdy-Doody with NUKES!"
European anti-American sentiment reached a zenith during the presidency of George W. Bush and the "Cowboy" diplomacy that unleashed what many refer to as America's "illegal" war in Iraq. This was but one of a millennia of international talking-points that fueled what grew into global disdain for this nation. The summation of the rest of those points, would portray the U.S. as a nation of "obtuse" individuals, lost in misguided narcissism and who populate AN ELECTORAL-COLLECTIVE of IDIOTS.
The tarnished American image was the antithesis of the post-WW II European vision of The U.S. as a nation of courageous "Super-heroes." It was, therefore, unexplainable to the rational Progressive patriot, that American Conservatives, with their soaring pro-American rhetoric, were so vocally offended when our country's "lack-lustered" world-wide regard, suddenly reversed itself with the arrival of Barack Obama onto the domestic and geo-political stage. In an unprecedented event that spoke to the universal plurality of HOPE, a mass of over 200,000 people gathered in Berlin, on June 25, 2008, to see and to show their support for its American Prince. Ironically, Obama was only the Democratic Presidential nominee, at the time, and had not yet won the Presidency. Nevertheless, because all things "American" seem to have a ripple-effect that spreads throughout THE WORLD, the apparent shift in our nation's very "philosophy of existence," made evident in our having chosen THIS gentle, thoughtful intellectual as the new voice of The United States of America, was met with wild enthusiasm, not only from sea to shining sea, but from Pole to frigid Pole.
Two years later, on November 2nd, 2010, an avalanche of America's Republican and Independent voters wrenched control of The House of Representatives from Barack Obama's Democratic Party and reduced its control of The U.S. Senate. Today, a review of Rasmussen Poll findings from the last two weeks, makes those electoral results difficult to reconcile for the "average" mind, both here and abroad. To many, they raise questions such as, "Just what is it that is voting in America?"and, "Other than mindless anger, what could be the basis for their votes?"
On October 18, 2010, While 49% of Americans blame Republicans for a BAD ECONOMY, 49% Trust Republicans To Fix It. This translates into an EXACT number of Americans concluding that GOP "Fiscal Conservatives" caused our recession, and in the same breath, mandating to entrust that same incompetence with reversing it.
On October 19, 2010, 47% Say Obama Is a Good or Excellent Leader, 39% Say A Poor One. Can you possibly fathom a large group of passengers consciously choosing to board an aircraft with a pilot known to have crashed two planes, despite the group having been offered a flight with a veteran pilot and his CLEAN flight record?
On November 2, 2010, it was reported that 49% Blame Bush for Bad Economy, 44% Blame Obama. Being fully aware of these stats before-hand, tracking the electoral results on the night of November 2nd, was like watching millions of recently freed East Germans, running back into East Berlin...and re-building "The Wall" behind them!
On November 3, 2010, 59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections. That includes 38% who say it is Very Likely. Truly, the mid-term voter was a metaphor for the man who lights-up a "crack-pipe," knowing full well that at least 6 out of 10 of his friends who tried the same pipe, became ADDICTED. The irony lies in that man's misguided faith in "2 to 1" odds AGAINST his being THE EXCEPTION...and, so, we have crack-addicts in America... and a Republican majority in The U.S. House of Representatives.
In a world made smaller by social media, the tone of the inevitable questions raised by November 2nd, 2010 seems to reach a pitch as it travels back to us in the abstract conclusions arrived at by the leaders and people of the world. However, nowhere is this pitch more like "finger-nails drawn slowly across a black-board" than in what is heard from our closest allies. "European newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television programs, have been chock-full of sensational reporting, disparaging editorials, and derogatory commentaries about America, American voters, and the American political system." America's global image and America's RESPECTABILITY have now taken a two-year step back to a time when many of us found that travelling to Europe left us, not necessarily feeling endangered, but with an uneasy feeling of "duncehood." Today our allies look across the sea and many fear a "Monkey See - Monkey Do" emergence of some equally misguided European Tea-Partyish equivalent coming to life in their countries. It is now the new anti-American "Bogeyman."
The pre-election campaign process, the people that executed it, the "simpletons" that allowed themselves to be influenced by it, the "apathetics" that withheld their votes from it, the belligerent winners of it and the contrite, almost meek post-election reaction to it by President Obama, have ALL played a part in developing this new anti-American "soap-box" now seemingly "in vogue" all across Europe. Make no mistake, it is ONLY IN AMERICA where STUPID is chic. It is only in America that the collective "alter-intellect" of a people in socio-economic crisis could compel those same people to officially poll, by 51%, that in their opinion, their government is trying to do too much and, therefore, must be replaced.
With the average American appearing CLUELESS to the political and economic FACTS of the day, there would appear no better time to invoke early 20th Century writer, H.L. Mencken, who from across the great divide of time, provides us with painfully relevant wisdom;
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." H.L. Mencken - Baltimore Sun (26 July 1920)
"Solution-driven" attention and punitive action must, at this time, be turned to the verifiable campaigns of disinformation deployed against the American public by "The New Right" and by their Neo-Conservative mouthpieces. Their effect on this election heralds the impact that they will bring to bear upon the Presidential election of 2012. This heinous practice of premeditated and systematic misleading of voters, appears as an assault on the Democratic process itself. My own findings left me astonished to learn that some 60% of all voters are entirely unaware of the fact that, not only was TARP repaid, but that it is now yielding a significant profit for the tax-payer. My research also revealed that a similar percentage of voters remain oblivious to the financial returns yielded to-date by the Bank and Auto-Industry bail-outs. Millions of direct and indirect jobs and small businesses were saved by these measures. The much maligned "Stimulus" appears as an even greater mystery to most Americans who show little to no knowledge of the nation-wide tax-cut that was funded by 40% of those stimulus dollars. What the rest of the funds were invested in, as well as the benefits that they have yielded to-date, produce "blank" looks reminiscent of Sarah Palin in substantive conversation with Katie Couric. This is an electorate demographic made up of tens of millions who only know to "parrot" the words "We'll never see those TARP funds again. The Bailouts and the Stimulus were a waste of taxpayer money." and "Obama is a secret Muslim who wasn't born in The United States and who is organizing "death-panels" that will unplug Grandma." Yesterday, we learned that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh told America that President Obama's trip to India is being carried out at a cost of $2000,000,000.00 a day and that he is taking a 3,000 person and 34 war-ship contingent. Of course, the verborrhea was quickly debunked by Pentagon Spokesman, Geoff Morrell and other government officials, some of who had a difficult time keeping a straight-face. However, it presents evidence of the highly organized, self-confirming "public disinformation machine" that the Tea-Party / Republican-Neo-Conservative Right has deployed against this highly naive, poorly educated and woefully uninformed demographic. As is, and has always been, the case with all manipulators and tyrants, it becomes an imperative to the successful control of a populous that they keep those masses "scared and stupid." Ironically, a recent "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision ensures that the EXTEMISTS of the Right enjoy almost limitless funding from their special-interest principals, with which to keep the majority of American voters chained to systemic ignorance and prone to galactic levels of gullibility.
There has been a "YANKEE-REBEL YELL"first heard immediately following the President's post election address. It screams-out from across The Left, aimed at Barack Obama and DEMANDS that he pull himself UPRIGHT from his "bent-over, ankle-grabbing position," obviously sustained for the viewing pleasures of Mitch McConnell, "The Town Crier," John Boehner and that deformed political mutation that is the Tea-Party. Three years ago, like many, I reached the frightening conclusion that America had arrived at a terrible and terminal cross-road. Attaching my retirement savings so as to support my family for whatever period would be required of me, I joined the ranks of an American Resistance that dared to embrace The Audacity of HOPE and that went on to elect Barack H. Obama to The Presidency of The United States of America. The "quest" gutted my life as I knew it and, while I am yet unrecovered, it was and is my honor to have been a part of the making of history. Two years ago, it would have been inconceivable to me that, today, I would find myself compelled to add my voice to that YELL.
********************* My Pledge to President Barack H. Obama *********************
WE THE PEOPLE elected you, Mr. President, to represent a set of national and human values lost to America, for over ten years. Those values have not been lost to us, however, and we demand to be spoken for with "fidelity" by you, our democratically elected leader. We make no apologies for our belief in the SUPREMACY of the human-being or for insisting that the citizen, not the corporation, not the Party and not the church, MUST be the priority of government. We believe in the inalienability of a citizen's right to LIFE (not existence), LIBERTY (not exploitability) and THE PURSUIT of HAPPINESS by ALL; not just by a chosen few. We believe that our lives are NOT to be sold or traded to corporations and foreign interests, in exchange for electoral favors, secret or otherwise, intended to ensure the perpetuation of those political organizations that prostitute themselves to those enterprises. To us, Sir, this constitutes HIGH TREASON against The People of The United States of America; a multi-colored tapestry of humanity, so devoted to its FREEDOM, that we chose the majestic EAGLE, and not a fishy BEAR, as the glorious symbol of our place in the world. With these convictions in our hearts, we elected you to be THE FIST of LIBERTY that menaces the very face of tyranny. We elected you to do so and to make no apologies as you did so. Know that if, in donning the armor of The Paladin of American HONOR, you perish in the campaign of 2012 defending the Democracy under which your people have voted to live, then let yourself be judged by history, take your place in The Hall of Heroes and know that OUR second term perished as a mass of tens-of-millions who, with every fiber of their beings, believe that to live with HONOR fulfills a life, but to perish with HONOR fulfills a DESTINY. We the people of America who, at your side, emerged triumphant from the Presidential election of 2008, want no other leader but you; but make no mistake, Mr. President, we will have our Warrior-Champion even if you, our chosen one, have found it necessary to kowtow before The Imposters of Liberty, "The Axis of Ignorance" and The Conservative Clergy of GREED. We will know our Champion by a sudden and deafening SILENCE. RESPECT, Sir, is that sound of silence that befalls a battle-field were it escorts that warrior whose singular arrival heralds the moment when those who have defiled THE PEOPLE, question the very wisdom of having done so.