Similar Idea

Here’s a column, “Republicans Get Bonus From War on Terrorism”, saying something similar to the Alternet column I pointed to Wednesday (the piece just below this one), that discussed people’s images of the ideal family helping determine their political leanings.

“…images of Republicans as the “Daddy” party offering strength and security against the Democrats’ nurturing “Mommy” mission.”

Go read it. Different people coming to similar conclusions.

Strict Daddy Bush

Exposing the Right clued me in to this Alternet article, Grappling With the Politics of Fear. This is an absolute must-read article, delving into the psychology behind progressive and right-wing thinking, and how the way we think of family helps determine our political perspective.

“According to George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley University cognitive scientist and author of “Moral Politics,” the anxiety-provoking anti-terrorism actions and messages of fear of the Bush administration fall into the category of the “strict father” mode of communication.

Lakoff concludes that the country is dramatically split between two ways of understanding the world. Some see this division as political – conservative vs. liberal. But Lakoff argues that it is ultimately a moral division, one derived from how people envision the right kind of family. Hence it is also a personal division.

Lakoff believes that the “strict father” mode is at the bedrock of conservative ideology. This morality “assigns highest priority to such things as moral strength … respect for and obedience to authority [and] the setting and following of strict guidelines of behavioral norms.” Nurturant parent morality, by contrast, “requires empathy for others and the helping of those who need help. To help others, one must take care of oneself and nurture social ties.” This morality provides the basis for progressive/liberal ideology.

Clearly, in this post-Clinton period, where a fundamental assumption is that the world is a dangerous place, and people must be protected, the strict-father worldview is in ascendance. And the conservatives know it, and they know how to use it.

As Lakoff underscores, “Over the past thirty years conservatives have poured billions of dollars into their think tanks. They have articulated the system of moral and family values that unifies conservatives; they have created appropriate language for their vision; they have disseminated it throughout the media; and they have developed a coherent political program to fit their values.” Lakoff argues that this infrastructure of ideas and values is the essential reason “for the success that conservatives have been enjoying, despite the fact that they appear to be the minority.”

Please go read this article. There is much more. I spent actual money and braved a dial-up connection (ugh!) to post this.

Nostalgia

The Fairness Doctrine. The good old days. Why, when I was your age, radio and TV stations,

were “public trustees,” and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance.

and

This doctrine grew out of concern that because of the large number of applications for radio station being submitted and the limited number of frequencies available, broadcasters should make sure they did not use their stations simply as advocates with a singular perspective. Rather, they must allow all points of view.

and

Currently, however, there is no required balance of controversial issues as mandated by the fairness doctrine. The public relies instead on the judgment of broadcast journalists and its own reasoning ability to sort out one-sided or distorted coverage of an issue.

and from FAIR (1994)

The Fairness Doctrine doesn’t require that each program be internally balanced, or mandate “equal time”: It would not require that balance in the overall program line-up be anything close to 50/50. It merely prohibits a station from blasting away day after day from one perspective, without any opposing views.

Oh how far we have come, now that AM radio is 24-hours-a-day-7-days-a-week nothing more than a continuous Republicans Party advertisement, spewing hate and ridicule and nastiness and propaganda and insults and character assassination and slime.

Oh for the good old days. Reagan eliminated the Fairness Doctrine by executive action in 1987. Congress tried to restore it. Reagan and then Bush vetoed restoring the Fairness Doctrine after the Congress overwhelmingly voted to restore it, and then in 1993 the Republicans filibustered it to prevent it from passing. For SOME reason, the Republicans seem to think they benefit from there being no Fairness Doctrine.

Voting Machines

Bernard Weiner, at Smirking Chimp yesterday,

This makes two elections, the one in 2000 and now in 2002, where the results are suspicious; in the first case, the Supreme Court summarily ended the re-counting of citizens’ ballots, in effect installing Bush into the White House. (And, as we now know, had the Florida recount proceeded, Gore, who won the national popular vote by more than a half-million ballots, would have been President.) In the 2002 midterm election, touchscreen computer-voting in key states — where, just days prior to the balloting, Dems were either leading in the polls or neck-and-neck against their GOP opponents — may have, could have, been tweaked in enough close elections to tip the scales to the GOP; there were no ways of re-counting ballots, since there were no ballots to double-check against, and, at the last-minute, there was no exit polling, so again nothing to check the computer results against how people said they voted. He who controls the computer-software in the voting machines has potential control over the numerical results, and only three companies control that technology.

Naw, he couldn’t be saying THAT, could he?

Corporate Responsibility

Body and Soul is asking how DynCorp can get lucrative government contracts after employees – on government contract – have been caught at things like running a sex slave trafficking ring (buying and selling girls as young as 12), screwing up and helping shoot down a plane full of Baptist missionaries, narcotics trafficking and killing peasants by spraying them with toxic chemicals.

“I know I don’t have much of a head for business, but I grew up believing that prostitution, drug dealing and reckless disregard for the lives of others were the kinds of things that got you into a whole lot of trouble.

When did that change? “

Maybe this will help answer the question.

“The Bush administration Friday ordered the suspension of a Clinton rule that would have significantly strengthened the government’s ability to deny contracts to companies that have violated workplace safety, environmental and other federal laws.”

Click here for details.

m4s0n501

Get Active

This BuzzFlash story about coverage of anti-war protests is encouraging. It says that getting active can WORK. Lots of people contacted NPR and the New York Times, and this caused them to issue corrections of their coverage of the Washington, DC anti-war marches. Get active.

Get active. It’s time to be talking to everyone you know about what is going on. Word-of-mouth counts with people. It is difficult at first. It can feel embarrassing, because we are so primed to think of activists as “whacko liberals,” or “aging hippies,” or so many other negative, ridiculing images. I had this problem when I started registering voters earlier this year. I had a card table and a chair and a sign, and I set up in a public place, and I felt ridiculous. But after I sat down at that table and started talking to people I got over it and I felt GREAT about what I was doing because I knew how important it was and because so many people were telling me they were very glad to see “someone” out there doing this important work! ( It hadn’t occurred to them to be out there doing this important work. No one seems to see themselves as someone who can get things done.)

If you are reading this, then you are probably concerned about the things going on with the government. I think they are too important to just sit back and quietly let them continue. I think it is time to speak up, even if you risk feeling foolish. You should be talking to people, e-mailing them, and asking them to get active as well.

Slept On It – Still Scared

Sometimes lately – since Bush v Gore – I imagine I’m looking at current events as if I am a future historian, tracking the record of “what happened” – sort of like how we now look back at Germany in the 30’s, trying to understand how it happened.

I used to wonder, if I was in Germany in the 30’s, at what point would I have seen what was happening, and gotten out? Now I wonder if John Poindexter being brought back into the government – not to mention being placed in charge of this Information Awareness thing! – is a sign I should be paying that kind of attention to. (I know – To which I should be paying attention. I just can’t write that.)