#396 – Dick Bernard: Day Six of the Minnesota Shutdown; 27 days to August 2 in Washington. Messing with our minds?
Related commentaries begin with #387 and #389, thence continuing through this post. This series will likely continue, almost daily, through August 2, 2011.
Down deep, most of us really want to believe that “they” (the politicians or parties we habitually vote for, or the religious or other powerful leaders we truly respect or resonate with) are really honest good people. It’s those other ones who aren’t…or so we convince ourselves.
What if our generalization isn’t true?
A quote I have always remembered – well enough to easily google it successfully last evening – was from the New York Times Magazine October 17, 2004.
The article was Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush by Ron Suskind.
Well down in the article, in the paragraph which begins “The aide said…“, is this quote: “…”We’re an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality…we’ll act again, creating other new realities….” What the aide was really saying was “we’re creating our own truth”.
Six years later, in the late summer of 2008, this new reality came home to roost, and America itself virtually collapsed. We’re still paying the price.
While the “aide” is nowhere revealed by name (it is common to have such anonymous ‘background’ interviews), what is said bears the paw prints of none other than Karl Rove, a high-level White House aide to Bush who for many years has been expert in the trade of diversion, disrupt and confuse tactics in contemporary politics. As this “aide” says, Rove specializes, still, in “creating new realities”. It has worked spectacularly well. But it is a false reality.
Rove no longer has a White House office, but he is in a far more central and dangerous (in my opinion) position in the contemporary game of playing politics with peoples lives, and indeed the life of our very society. While likely supposedly independent of the Republican political operation he is backed by very big money and will be extraordinarily central to the entire Republican campaign in 2012, which has begun already with the pending chaos in Washington DC, the government shutdown in my own state, and the problems in neighboring Wisconsin and other states.
While such can never be proven, if there’s a dirty trick out there, odds are it will come from within Rove’s playbook for manipulating opinion.
I don’t underestimate Rove’s capacity for deviousness. Since I first started having an active interest in how Rove operates – it was July, 1999, when he co-starred with George W. Bush, Joe Albaugh and Karen Hughes in long profiles in the Washington Post long preceding the official 2000 political season – I’ve watched for evidence of his almost trade-marked dirty tricks, performed by he and his abundant disciples.
His has always been an amoral world. Politics is considered psychological warfare. I would suppose Rove goes to church somewhere, sometime – certainly a Christian one – and I am quite sure he can disconnect his “professional” life from his personal. After all, if a carnie huckster can flim flam a rube out of a few dollars, why not a larger scale flim flam with a much larger number of rubes who can be made to believe almost anything.
There is a big problem with mythical realities as opposed to more genuine ones: mythical realities don’t exist other than in the minds of those who believe in them, and when the dream turns out to be bogus, its too late to do anything about it.
We are so awash in political lies that it is prudent to take at face value nothing which emanates in the political sphere that purports to be true. The false reality is slowly built, insinuation by insinuation; dirty trick by dirty trick. If your official source of political information is television ads, or talk radio, there is little chance of getting some kind of objective truth.
I don’t possess a magic wand for dealing with this problem, except to recommend being very skeptical. The coming year and a half we will be awash in huge amounts of money expended by shadowy PACs on convincingly put together lies about those they favor, and those they wish to destroy.
In the end, we’ll be the beneficiary, or the victim, of decisions we make.
It’s in our court.
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