Sunday, December 4, 2011

Notes on Newt

Hey, Vig: I need help. Perhaps you or your readers can show me the way to solve my longing.

I want to be able to talk straight with Republicans about the origins of today's nasty political climate. We are, as Chris Hayes recently pointed out, "living in the Age of Newt". I want to see and hear and participate in a dialogue that names without putting the other person on the defensive. I long for a way to truth-tell that might sting, but doesn't drive away the other person who sees our current situation differently.

The thing I'm struggling with is how can I, and we, talk to our fellow citizens about who is really doing what to whom and why?

The Republicans have absorbed Newt Gingrich's strategy for winning politically in America. In the 1980's, Newt used to send out "How to Run Successful Political Campaigns" to his fellow Republican politicians. Newt recommended using positive words to describe oneself: "entrepreneur"; "forward thinking"; "being creative".

When referring to Democratic opponents, Newt exhorted his fellow politicians to call their opponents "corrupt", to "create a scandal" - whether there was evidence of such behavior, or not. This strategy was supplemented by Newt's daily issuance of the "Daily Talking Points" that were to be repeated throughout the day, preferably into a microphone, eventually imprinting upon one's unconscious, even when it was recognizable as merely empty rhetoric.

This conscious demonization of members of the "Loyal Opposition", the Democrats in Congress, consists, too often, of scurrilous attributions of wrong-doing that have no factual basis in reality and which the MSM (main stream media) never bothers to fact-check, having long-ago abdicated their responsibility to hold the powerful accountable to the citizenry.

Because they are never questioned, nor the true facts publicly stated, the Republican Party's Spin Meisters and their constant litany of lies are unchallenged - eventually becoming accepted political history. Worst of all, the incessant repetition of the day's "Talking Points" further cement the new reality.

Today's pale remnants of the once honorable profession of journalism, instead, focus on the "Titillation Factor" that will sell papers. In this age of "fair and balanced" news, the innuendos and the lies are permitted to stand unchallenged - eventually becoming accepted political history. Worst of all, the incessant repetition of the day's "Talking Points" further cement the new reality.

The Republicans speak their distortions and lies with one clear, clever voice. Democrats quibble over minutia, cowering on the sidelines of power they refuse, with one or two notable exceptions, to speak of the "elephant in the room".and fearfully avoid calling out the Republicans. The Democrats, still seem shell-shocked at how the Republicans can so glibly spin their fabricated lies and demonization's of them...picture Lucy snatching away the football after Charlie Brown has committed to kicking it.

Too many Democrats still don't "get it" - the Republican strategists have decided they will send this country into bankruptcy before they will cooperate with Democrats and work together to solve America's pressing problems that are growing worse and more urgently in need of creative and constructive solutions achieved through negotiations and compromising with every passing day.

Newt, and his cohorts, are poised to steal our Democracy from under our noses. The Republican strategizers have scrupulously followed their plan to destroy our government, because to them, government is the problem, not the solution.

Elected to Governorships and state offices by promising to create jobs, what have these Republican governors done with their powers? They have systematically attempted to defund any regulatory body that remains at all viable, to deny a woman the right to control her own reproductive rights, to dismantle all unions, and are arduously scheming to deny the right to vote to as many young people, older people, and all others whom they fear might vote democratic, as possible - this after the debacle of the unregulated banks drove America in its knees, and after sending our sons and daughters into two unfunded and unwinnable wars.

Our beloved country is mired down in mistrust and fury at our elected congressional members who do nothing to acknowledge that our country's government is terribly broken. Nothing is getting done - the tea party circuses blame the growing economic gulf on "lazy people who just want us to pay their way through life"; Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell tell the 99% of us to just "eat cake"and get a job because their fat cat contributors need to have ever more tax breaks to salt away in mattresses so the 99% had better pay their taxes; and the Democrats quibble over which song to play as they stand, fiddle in hand but silent, watching our beloved country go down in flames.


  1. Talk rationally with a conservative. Surely you jest! The phrase 'rational conservative' is an oxymoron.

  2. Emily, I really resect your perseverance in looking for a "truth-tell that might sting", talking "to our fellow citizens about who is really doing what to whom and why?"

    At the same time Ms Dennison, in her comment above has a point. Republicans are starting from a values POV which differs from most Americans: the GOP steadfastly devalues government and the Commonweal. Providing for the Commons -- the economic, political, social, and physical -- is conflated as Communism. Maybe it's not so much that Republicans are not rational; it's more that they and the politicians they vote for and finance are less interested in good governance that hegemonic political power.

    My position is that Progressives need a transformational leader, like Robert Kennedy. Until he or she materializes, the best that can be accomplished (politics is the art of the possible) is a holding action. Barrack Obama may be up to that. Maybe not.

    Until we can aspire to deliverance, Progressives must meet Retrogressives with truth-telling that stings. Attack, attack, attack. And until Progressives can find a transformational leader, the media will continue to report trivia.

    This is my short answer.

  3. Hi Vig!
    I just got a friend request from AW and it threw me because I have not heard from her since Feb and assumed she passed. The request led me to this , what is up?

  4. Miz Dennison, your comment is cute, but IMHO merely more spleen venting, which feels good in the moment, but only depresses one's spirit into hopeless passivity.

    I understand that "venting" feels good, for I have done plenty of it too, but with a Presidential election looming over us, it's time to "get to work", or we will lose our country and betray our foreparents who gave us our Constitution and who envisioned a citizenry that cared enough to read and think, converse and debate, so that this Grand Experiment called America might succeed.

    I do not know how to undo the heinous damage inflicted upon our beloved country by Newt and his Republican cohorts other than by speaking our truths to one another, sharing our hopes and concerns, naming the poison that has infected our cherished country and searching for ways to engage with each other constructively. There is no time to waste.

    If you have a better idea for how we as individuals can change our current mean-spirited, hostile and extremely fragile sense of community, I implore you, share it.

  5. I think, really, that you two ladies are basically in agreement. The "G" in the GOP does not stand for "great".