False Idols, Armchair Patriots and Girlie Men
They keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and class less and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
That Mrs. Clinton has used the quintessential Republican tactics of fear, racism, slander and balls out demagogy to relentlessly saturate the media with Karl Rove style campaign commercials packed with insinuation, anti-American accusations (Obama didn’t wear one of those ridiculous motherfucking flag pins) and guilt by association slime jobs (a real hoot considering the Clinton association with global arch criminal Marc Rich and Ollie North’s little Mena cocaine trafficking operation when they were in the Arkansas governor’s mansion which is a story for another time) to pull of the great bait and switch that will allow the elitist fat cats to repudiate the will of the voters once again. I am sure that everyone reading this is intimately familiar with it all and probably as close to being ready to vomit as I have been so I will spare you the sordid details. I do find a good deal of sardonic humor in the Clinton smears of Mr. Obama being some sort of nefarious operative of an anti-American cartel, especially when it comes from people who regularly consort with such exclusive globalist clubs like the Bilderberg Group, The Council On Foreign Relations and the caviar munching cloud dwellers in Davos.
The one thing that really sticks in my craw though is this entire tsunami of horseshit regarding Mr. Obama’s truthful comments on the “bitter” fucked over by the system small town dullards who have a known proclivity to“cling” to guns, religion and xenophobia in order to smear a little bit of magic balm on that big bite out of their asses that has been chomped off by the looter capitalist empire of greed. Only in America is it an ultimate sin to engage in the lost art of truth speaking, the land of Horatio Alger where old saws like “the streets are paved with gold”, “grab the tiger by the tail”, “when you wish upon a star”, “the glass is half full”, “the little engine that could” and Christ knows how many others there are have been used with great success to tell that one big lie that this is a land of bountiful fruits and great opportunity to all who just seize the straps of that star spangled jackboot and pull themselves up out of the shit and squalor into their palatial palaces of destiny.
The key has always been to pimp the falsehoods of American greatness and opportunity for all to live long and prosper and the dirty little secret is that the fear stricken, television addled, undereducated, unsophisticated sheep ALWAYS allow themselves to be hornswoggled by the traveling salvation shows into voting against their own self interests by lining up behind the geek tent barkers at the latest and greatest carnivals of perversion to throw in with god, guns and greatness against the hated brown menace and the evils of heathen libruls who come bearing gifts of abortion, sinfulness and a festering hatred of all things that are great in America, like John Wayne but I’ll get to him in a little while.
The rot that eats away at America today is built largely on the foundation of that great “elitist” lie. What could possibly be more elitist than the high-rolling Republican pigs snorting laughter as they continue to peddle this crapola to the hayseeds while they lock in their gains from the nearly three decade long looting spree that would NEVER even have been possible were it not for the gullibility of the easily offended and little minded small town dopes, heartland hicks and rubes in peckerwood nation (both north and south of the Mason Dixon Line).
The ONLY reason that the Republicans can get away with their elitism and hypocrisy is that they so successfully have tapped into the psyche of Americans in order to milk the indoctrinated minds of the masses of asses trained to be obedient little flag suckers from the first day that they are made to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance. The uproar over the latest feast of lemming food is an affront to the intelligence of all but the most willfully ignorant haters and if there was any semblance of decency left in the media this would be an affront to it. The latest tempest in a teapot of media manufactured manure is nicely addressed by one of the finest and most underappreciated essaysists out there Joe Bageant in his recent piece that is appropriately entitled Media Shit Storms and Heartland Reality:
Obama’s remarks were not in the least controversial and just plain boring in terms of content. Certainly not newsworthy.
Yet he had no sooner closed his mouth than this media manufactured hell broke loose. “Oh my gawd,” they screamed. This guy has the unmitigated gall to suggest that their might be some bitterness out here in the lily white realms of Grant Wood, grange halls and Methodist church suppers! Right here in River City!” — where the combination of God rhetoric and Chamber of Commerce boosterism have managed to ban the word from public discourse. Even the mention of it can be explosive, simply because there is so much of it stuffed inside working folks, inside the lockbox of denial that comes with being the citizen of a culture in collapse.
The larger point here is that all of the coordinated thuggery used to turn the most eloquent and hope eliciting figure that the Democratic party has been able to roll out since JFK himself has been reduced to a finger diddling, non-bowling, egg headed girly man who is a consort of the dreaded legion of serendipitously appearing Al CIAda bogeymen who wants to kill your babies in the middle of the night, hangs out with sixties radicals and black militant preachers whose primary offense is to engage in calling for God to damn his most damnable of empires of filthy avarice and blood. The Clintons and the larger DLC corporate octopus that passes for an ‘opposition’ party have gone directly to the tried and true Republican dark bible of bullshit, a veritable grimore from which evil spells of deviltry and manipulation are conjured up to turn compost heap dwelling swamp toads into princes and the American idols upon which our false religion of greatness, patriotism and providence desperately needs as pitchmen. But I digress, I was talking about phony right-wing iconography and the true agenda concealed behind the cloaking device conjured up by the corporatist media that is now being co-opted by the Clinton cultists of doom who are preaching it like gospel.
Blogger extraordinaire Glenn Greenwald’s latest book Great American Hypocrites takes a great look at the lying gutless chicken hawks and highly compensated weasels of the Republican party who have so successfully created an impeccably conceived (at least in terms of deep seated psychological tendencies) marketing campaign of what is really a product that is so terminally fucked, fraudulent and inferior that if any corporation would try to similarly foist off such a preposterous piece of folderol they would be rapidly sued for their flim flammery. It is all such a blatant con job that even the Roberts SCOTUS couldn’t possibly take this horseshit seriously.
Central to the right-wing mythmaking machine is the depiction of their male leaders as swaggering tough guys in the iconic mold of an American cowboy and brave, steadfast warrior. Above all else, Republican leaders are invariably held up as exuding the virtues of traditional American masculinity – courage, physical strength, “regular guy”ness, and most of all, a willingness and ability to stare down America’s various and numerous enemies – in war, if necessary – and defeat them through superior strength.
The reality, in virtually every case, is the opposite. Those who end up as leaders of the right-wing movement in America have nothing in their lives to demonstrate any actual courage, physical strength, or any of the warrior virtues they desperately strive to exude. Their only “toughness” or masculine “tough guy” credentials are from cheerleading as they send others off to fight wars, never to fight in any themselves. Just like John Wayne, their masculine toughness comes from the costumes they wear, the scripts they read, the roles they play – never from the reality of their own lives.
While Republicans have ensured that virtually every asset of America bears the name of Ronald Reagan – including a glorious battleship, the USS Ronald Reagan – right-wing tough guys who never spent a day in the military protested and mocked endlessly when it was announced, in 2005, that a submarine would be named after Navy veteran Jimmy Carter. Carter is a graduate of the Naval Academy, having attended during World War II. In the Navy he became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, and he rose to the rank of lieutenant. He was personally selected by Admiral Hyman Rickover, known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy,” for the top-secret nuclear submarine program, where Carter enrolled in graduate work in reactor technology and nuclear physics, and served as senior officer of the precommissioning crew of the Seawolf, America’s second nuclear submarine.
Greenwald spares no armchair patriot, this puncturing of the gasbag Rush Limbaugh is brilliant: Limbaugh is a physically weak individual, wallowing in a life of depraved hedonism, who has never displayed a single act of physical courage. He avoided combat in Vietnam by claiming that an anal boil rendered him unfit for service (and, once he became famous as an über-warrior, said nothing when a Limbaugh biographer falsely claimed it was due to a football injury).
While the civilized world has recoiled in horror at the excesses and war-hungriness of the United States over the last six years, the only real complaint from our right-wing war cheerleaders about the commander in chief is that he has not given them enough torture, secret prisons, wars of aggression, barbaric slaughter, and liberty infringement. Their hunger for those things is literally insatiable, because they need fresh pretexts for feeling strong. And nothing provides those feelings of strength better than revering a tough-guy male leader and mocking liberal males as weaklings and losers.
The term “chicken hawk” (in the context of war) is much used, debated, and discussed, but its true, most revealing meaning is rarely made explicit. Although there is no formal definition for it, the chicken-hawk criticism is not applicable to someone who merely (a) advocates a war and also (b) will not fight in that war and/or has never fought in any war. After all, the vast majority of Americans in both political parties meet that definition. The war in Afghanistan was supported by roughly 90 percent of Americans, as was the first Persian Gulf War, even though only a tiny fraction of war supporters actually fought in them.
Something more than mere support for a war without fighting in it is required to earn the chicken-hawk label. Chicken-hawkism is the belief that advocating a war from afar is a sign of personal courage and strength, and that opposing a war from afar is a sign of personal cowardice and weakness. A “chicken hawk” is someone who not only advocates a war but believes that that advocacy is proof of the same courage required of those who will actually engage in combat.
One of the nation’s most consummate chicken hawks is, unsurprisingly, one of the loudest advocates of sending others off to fight in endless wars: Weekly Standard editor, Fox News contributor, and New York Times columnist Bill Kristol. Kristol’s central political view is that those who advocate sending other Americans off to fight in more and more Middle Eastern wars are themselves strong, resolute, principled, and brave. But those who oppose sending others off to fight in those wars are weak, cowardly, spineless appeasers.
The idle rich, the rentiers, the industrialists and Wall Street were looking for a champion and in Dutch they found one and they crowned him for his efforts. The hatred of having to share the wealth contributed to the wars at home against labor and the middle class as well as a series of brutal U.S. backed extreme right-wing regimes putting down `leftist’ movements in Central America. The horrors of the torture states and blood soaked counterinsurgencies sponsored by covert CIA operatives and cowboys like Ollie North are an ugly blight upon our history that will never be removed.
The Reagan era also institutionalized the freewheeling style of fuck you anything goes vulture Capitalism that has gutted today’s economy, destroyed our manufacturing capability, wrecked the regulatory agencies that were created to keep corporations and Wall Street looters at least somewhat honest and the environment clean, seriously undermined the public education system, crippled organized labor and made the Social Darwinist race to the bottom line the nation’s economic religion. CEO’s became folk heroes and the poor were shamed into blaming themselves for losing the birth lottery.
Reagan also blamed government for all social problems, he often invoked the crowd pleaser that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Truthfully Reagan and the so-called conservatives love government – as long as it is government that works to further their own self-interests and to keep the rabble in their place. Reagan style government consists of an exponentially growing military machine, a surveillance industrial complex, agencies that bestow taxpayer money to radical religious groups (Christian Socialism), corporate welfare and an enforcement arm that allows the government to meddle in every aspect of the lives of Americans who don’t share the same `values’ of the ruling elite.
Reagan style conservatism wants to invade citizen’s homes, regulate what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms, meddle in the education of their children by deliberately undermining the public educational system, promote a virulent state favored religion that has been hijacked by fanatics, destroy social programs like Medicare and Medicaid and of course that crown jewel of leveling the playing field Social Security. Reagan was able to successfully dupe the people that big government was the problem, the unspoken caveat being that only those governmental agencies that served the people, held industry accountable and protected the rights of the American worker were evil. Big government is even better when it is used as the foundation for a police state that acts to crush dissent and political opposition to Anti American, neo-fascist policies.
And the Star-Bellied Sneetches were exalting the coronation of their new king from the get to, the Washington air was filled with the musk of greedheads in heat, their delight in having a fox as the henhouse gatekeeper bordered on orgasmic. Haynes Johnson’s excellent book on the Reagan era Sleepwalking Through History describes the atmosphere at the inauguration as follows:
It was the costliest, most opulent inauguration in American history, and some of the scenes gave credence to critics who likened it to “a bacchanalia of the haves”.
It was an outpouring of wealth and privilege. At National Airport, corporate jets were parked wing to wing on the tarmac. The airport was unable to accommodate the private planes seeking space. They touched down, dropped off invited inaugural guests, then departed to bring back more. One group of Indiana Republicans traveled to Washington in an elegant railroad car once owned by J.P.Morgan. Limousines were the preferred symbol of status. “They give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment,” explained a Republican national committeeman from Salt Lake City, “They give you a feeling of enthusiasm for your leaders”
So brisk was the limousine business that all available ones in the capital were quickly leased. Calls went out to dispatch others from as far south as Atlanta and as far north as New York. They poured into the city, vanguards of a new era bearing special inaugural plates with names of the corporations that had leased them. Gliding up to museums and galleries and other public buildings, they discharged women in designer dresses and diamonds and men in formal wear. Society page writers, with press entry credentials to the private festivities, strained for metaphors to describe the display of affluence. Hotel coat racks, laden with mink, “looked like furry beasts.” At Sunday brunches in Georgetown, “furs swallowed the beds.” At a black-tie-and boots Texas party, “a perfumed herd of thousands drank beer and wore emeralds.”
The catering business had never been better. “There are ten times as many parties this inaugural as last time” said Jeff Ellis of Ridgewell’s, a firm that had been waiting on Washington’s social-diplomatic set for generations. Ridgewell’s alone served more than four hundred thousand hors d’oeuvres during the pre-inaugural parites. “I’ve never seen anything like this” Ellis remarked happily. “These people have really fine taste. Rather than shrimp salad, they want the whole shrimp.”
The elitist power brokers knew this and with his Hollywood background Ronald Wilson Reagan was the perfect front man for the myriad of their ideological schemes and voodoo economics that would wage war on progressive society and deal a staggering blow to fairness and equality in the land of plenty. It was the great national regeneration decade and that fabulous and almighty leader was our champion, the iconic president who would make things right, who would deal harshly with those bastards in Iran unlike his milquetoast predecessor, who would restore the national glory and make us that shining city on the hill. After a prolonged darkness clouded by nuance it was morning in America again, black was black and white was white it was Pleasantville in the US of A and as the they say in the movie “what’s outside of Pleasantville?” – it was perfect, it was Americana and it was Ronald Reagan was our national treasure.
Those were the days, the 1980s, the demarcation point from reality and the base camp for our national descent into the abyss of post the 9/11 world of fear and globalist economics. But I am getting ahead of myself here. The Reagan years were the period when America went back to the future in pursuit of that mythical period of greatness and nostalgia that Kevin Phillips wrote about in Post Conservative America. It was a time where a nation wounded by the twin betrayals of Vietnam and Watergate failed the test and rather than gathering together to shape a future that would prevent the amoral interest of a greedy ruling class and their corrupt system from ever again resulting in such disaster we as a nation looked into the mirror and were horrified at the monster glimpsing back, we were in denial and in desperate need of a return to better days. As Phillips so aptly put it:
“More precisely, the 1980s must be considered a decade following a twenty-year period of turbulence in which the American people lost their first war, saw a number of prominent leaders assassinated, their first President forced from office, their currency at one point lose 95 percent of its value against gold, and generally came to feel that their “Heaven-bless’d nation” was somehow no longer favored.”
The possibilities were infinite, an increasing prosperity for the well to do and government cheese for the rest. The days of ketchup as a school lunch vegetable, Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk, Rambo exacting blood vengeance in Vietnam, Sonny and Rico kicking ass clad in Armani, Marty McFly and Doc time tripping in a flying De Lorean, J.R. and Alexis flaunting wealth and power, MTV in every household through the miracle of cable, televangelism exploded and took the first steps towards allowing video preachers to become political kingmakers and the personal computer became a force that would eventually transform every aspect of our lives and society. We were mesmerized by the images on the tube, the VCR made available fantasy at the fingertips in your very own living room and the bread and circuses made it all the easier to ignore the looting and dismantling of the infrastructure in the background.
“In the eighties the symbiosis between Reagan and television raised new questions. Was it possible the predominant values of success, winning, fame, and fortune that television transmitted into American homes had begun to manifest themselves in the character of the country? Were Americans becoming what they saw? Were they being held hostage by the miracles of their own technical inventions? Did their repeated exposure to fictional happy endings create an appetite for more of them in real life and make it more difficult for them to face lifes realities?”
“Reagan affected television and the viewing public in two significant ways. First, and most important, was the power of his own soothing personality. Both he and television offered new opportunity for diversion and helped breed a new passivity in public life. Under Reagan’s lulling spell and the television trance, increasing numbers of Americans became spectators instead of participants. Politically and personally they were couch potatoes.”
Couch Potatoes Who Bought The Myth and Continue to Do So
To reiterate my point, nearly every serious problem that we face today is rooted in the surrealism of the Reagan years and the ability of the administration to utilize the fixation with the tube to gradually turn up the temperature on the pot in which the boiling frog sat slowly cooking to death in such gradual incremental increases in heat that it didn’t even notice. The frog was us and it continues to be us as the ruthless servants of the Establishment that are the Clintons are using the same “tougher than the rest” strategies to prevent any realistic chance at national salvation and reform to once again keep going back to the future.
Pennsylvania is our new beginning to a story that is nothing more than a mediocre remake of those rootin-tootin freak shows that we have been weaned on for so long that we believe that they are reality.
What the fuck is next? Morning In America II.
By Ed Encho