The Divide

Posting by mail has limitations, so I’ll keep this short. I was “tabling” for Dean at a farmer’s market today, and we got talking to this guy who is a Bush supporter. I brought up the problem of there being no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rather than go through the entire conversation, which went on through a while and through many twists and turns, it came down to he said that we need to oil, because we all drive cars. He started by defending going into Iraq because of the terrible threat. When I pointed out that the lack of WMD means there was no threat, then it was about liberating the people of Iraq from the terrible dictator. When I asked why we needed to divert our entire military from the war on terrorism, it became about 12 years of Saddam violating the end-of-war agreement. When I pointed out that his violation was supposedly having WMD, it became about “his” shooting at our airplanes in the no-fly-zone. So then it was back to why NOW, in the middle of the war on terrorism, and he finally said it was good because we need the oil. When I asked why Bush didn’t make that case, he said because we also had to end the threat.

There, I just went through the conversation anyway.

My point, I was left with this feeling of a vast divide based largely on the different sources of information. The guy appears to get his information from the radio. (You know what that means.) You and I get information from the Internet, which means a variety of sources. You and I represent, what, maybe 2% of the public? He represents maybe 40% if you add in Fox News.

Two comments. One, this is an incredibly dangerous situation, because most people get their news from what amounts to one source – The Party. Let’s assume for the moment that The Party is benevolent, and has only the best interests of the country and the world at heart. But suppose The Party were to be taken over by some malevolent force. With no other sources of information this could be a very dangerous thing.

My other comment is that the guy was ready to accept lying to the public to achieve any end. There’s a “wink, wink, nod, nod” mentality at work here, where they all recognize themselves as being part of a movement. It’s like the old communist party – infiltrate and subvert, say anything to get what you want. I think that The Party (as I call the Republicans) has conditioned its followers to accept the necessity of deceiving the public to accomplish its unspoken goals. I say unspoken, because while they don’t ever bring this in front of the public “movement conservatives” all seem to have an end in mind. When you look at their websites it does become clear that they are talking about things like getting rid of Social Security, Medicare, any assistance to the poor, public schools, worker protection, and anything they might decide is “socialistic.” But they understand that it would be bad politics to bring this in front of the public, because the public would vote against doing these things, so they accept that the ends must be accomplished by subversion. That this is fundamentally opposed to democracy, or even self-government, is not an issue to them.

I can’t tell how this will look on the blog. When I can get back onto Blogger I’ll edit this, if needed.

Update – I finally was able to log in, so I’m editing this a bit.

Update – I took the dogs for a walk and thought about what I’d written. I was just dashing off a thought, and now I need to clear it up. I’m not saying that because the guy at the farmer’s market is a Bush supporter he’s a “movement conservative” who accepts deceit as a way to eliminate Social Security, though that’s what it sounded like I’m saying. I was jumping from this guy’s acceptance of Bush’s deceit – doesn’t even bother him – to a rant about the “movement” right-wingers who are fully conscious that this is the method, and who share the goals. Does that clear anything up? This is a blog, so I can get away with this kind of writing, right?