Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Fighting for Our Lives!

In the ingoing vacillation between “We’re all doomed” and “Everything’s Going to be OK,” I’m full tilt into the “We’re all doomed” mode.

Caught a snippet of Randi Rhodes on Air America over the weekend, and she was discussing the book 1984 with a high school English teacher (who was great). And they danced around and almost hit the point that lurched me back into Terrified Mode. One of the secrets of double-think was to keep telling people that things are as we say they, that the past was as we say it was, and that the future will be as we say it will be.

And through the cunning use of double-think, simply repeating the lie over and over, it became indistinguishable from reality. (OK, I’m a little fuzzy on the book. I’ll read it cover to cover soon.) The point that frightened me was the idea that, to get people to believe the lies, they have to learn that what they see and hear with their own two eyes and ears is not reliable. I see this manifested today in the way the news media reports things. Today’s blogosphere is full of complaints that the news media tends to equate Repub giant whopper lies with Dem meaningless mistakes and omissions. True enough. But the big evil is that the media has taught most voters that what the politicians say is not true, that you can’t trust anyone, and that while Bush may have needlessly plunged us into war, trashed the economy and handed the environment over to the coal companies, Kerry’s explanation of some of his Senate votes is a bit muddy, and that his wife is super-rich and he may be a bit of a hypocrite.

People have learned that what the press tells them may very well be false – a cultural attribute the Repubs have helped build by feeding the press lie after lie, so that the public no longer trusts the one institution that is supposed to be their safeguard against tyranny. If the media has been corrupted by lies masquerading as “spin,” and the people no longer trust it, what is the way out?

It may be that we are in fact not on the verge of the huge upswing in progressive fortunes that I generally believe is underway. We may be having the last gasp of freedom before entering the dark world Orwell warned us of. If the Bushes are returned for 4 more years, I fear that those few elements of progressivism that remain will simply be squashed for good, and the days of freedom and light will be delayed even further.

Perhaps we’ll move to Guam, or Spain.

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