August 20, 2019

American Amnesia

 

PHOTO BY FLAVIA POTENZA

American Amnesia

An anomaly in Topanga was a visit from members of the extreme right-wing Lyndon LaRouche PAC and their “Obama As Hitler” signs (They refused to give their names). Most Topangans were surprised to see them, others were angry, but one young woman said she would support them. Now that’s free speech.

Are American voters stupid? Somebody needs to do some homework.

Why would American voters succumb to hyper-partisan vitriol, as demonstrated by followers (above) of people like perennial presidential candidate (8 times since 1976) Lyndon LaRouche with his extreme right, neo-Nazi ideas and ties to the Ku Klux Klan?

Homework: Search Lyndon LaRouche (wikipedia.org).

Why would American voters forget the downward spiral of eight years of Republican control that plunged us into a $1.2 trillion deficit under Bush from a $236 billion surplus under Clinton? The Bush administration deregulated banks and financial institutions; let corporations run roughshod over American workers; lied the country into two wars; outsourced American jobs; and drove us into the worst recession in American history?

Homework: www.factcheck.org

Why would American voters accept Senate Republicans’ lock-step filibusters of President Obama’s proposals to extend vital unemployment benefits, help small businesses, and establish sweeping health care reform to benefit all Americans?

On the other hand, why would American voters suddenly reject the president they overwhelmingly elected and who has just begun to fix the economic debacle?

In his first 18 months in office, President Obama set an array of ambitious goals and according to Politifact’s list, out of 503 campaign promises made, he has kept 122 (24%) of them.

Homework: Politifact has ongoing truth-o-meters on political news of the day – who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, who’s telling half-truths and whose pants are on fire. (politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/rulings/promise-kept).

With the election of America’s first African-American president, thinly veiled bigotry, racism and homophobia have resurfaced incited by extreme right-wing radio pundits like Rush Limbaugh (who said he wants this president to fail) and Glen Beck, while Republican members of Congress did nothing to chastise Tea Party crowds who spat on and called Democratic congressional members foul names.

Homework: Don’t listen to them. Listen to your better angels.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

There are “527” committees, such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a 501 (c) (6) account, that are pouring millions into influencing November’s mid-term elections. Rove’s group has pledged to raise $52 million by November and the Chamber is pouring $75 million into attack ads against democrats. On the opposite side, unions are raising equivalent amounts in support of democrats.

Homework: Follow the money at factcheck.org/playersguide2010, a project of the Annenberg Policy Center that identifies these groups, and campaignmoneywatch.com, a project of the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund. Think Progress, another watchdog group, offers its own take on the dust-up about whether the Chamber is funneling foreign money into the elections (thinkprogress.org/2010/10/13/chamber-foreign-funded-media).

We may not be stupid, but for the past 30 years Americans have been lulled, no, duped into complacency. We have accepted policies that have not been in our best interests while jobs were outsourced, insurance companies refused health coverage, credit card companies gouged us and we were saddled with two wars that President Bush never paid for or even put in the budget.

More homework:

• Go to a quiet corner and study the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and review the basic principals that our country was founded upon. Then check out the Democratic, Independent, Republican and Tea Party platforms for yourself.

• For solid TV analysis tune in to MSNBC: Ed Schultz (3-4 p.m.), Keith Olbermann (5-6 p.m.), Rachel Maddow (6-7 p.m.) and the latest, Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word” (7-8 p.m.). KTLK AM 1150 radio has more intelligent talk and analysis with comedienne Stephanie Miller, 6-9 a.m., author Thom Hartmann, 9 a.m. to noon, and Randi Rhodes’ daily homework assignments, noon to 3 p.m.

• The League of Women Voters is a good source of non-partisan research and local recommendations (http://www.lwv.org).

• Progressive Democrats of America – http://www.pdamerica.org or contact Dorothy Reik (dorothyreik@pdsmm.org) for our local chapter of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM).

• David Sirota (davidsirota.com), one of the only national columnists living and reporting outside of Washington, D.C., reports on politics and pop culture, with a special focus on economic issues.

• Brush up on your critical thinking skills so you’re not influenced by every suggestion that comes your way.

• Don’t watch TV attack ads.

• Turn off the vitriolic millionaire pundits.

• Take action. Make phone calls to get out the vote.

We’ve gone from a time when we once expected excellence to accepting mediocrity and recently, to celebrating incompetence and crazy career candidates, such as Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle.

We have 10 days to decide whether we want to continue to move America forward with the vision of the Obama administration or return to the disastrous policies of the previous one. That’s the choice.

Don’t sit this one out. November 2, 2010 may be one of the most important decisions we make, more important perhaps, than the one we made in 2008.

Let’s not fail the mid-term election test.