Saturday, October 06, 2012

Just Give Us Some Truth

Note: Sheer vanity about my political insight forces me to tell you that I wrote this post last night before I watched Washington Week, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, and a couple of other news analysis programs.  If you saw them, too, you understand why…

As much as I’m angered by political apathy on the part of many of my fellow citizens, I can’t deny the rationale for their disengagement, given the current “we’ll do whatever’s necessary to get your vote” political climate.  I’m rather aggravated (read: enraged) that in some quarters of the Right, when the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Monthly Jobs Report announced a national decrease in unemployment – down to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August – this modest but meaningful improvement was deemed manipulated by “those Chicago guys,” implying the President and/or his “corrupt” cohorts in the Windy City had cooked the Labor Department’s stats.

I’m also downright insulted that Mitt Romney had the chutzpah to say he was “completely wrong” about his description of 47% of the public; not that he described an idea “inelegantly,” but just plain wrong.  And we’re supposed to believe he really means this!?

When I began writing this post, I heard John Lennon’s song, “Just Gimme Me Some Truth” running through my head (check out the lyrics) and I had a sense of political déjà vu all over again.  So, let’s take it from the top.  The Right so despises Barack Obama that they will try to discredit anything that even slightly indicates his policies are having a positive impact on the economy.  Accordingly, when the Jobs Report showed unemployment at its lowest point since Obama took office – and also revised the July and August numbers as down by an additional 40,000 and 47,000 respectively – the Right smelled conspiracy like a dead mouse behind the refrigerator.  The Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, dismissed this implication as “ludicrous” and, indeed, there was no evidence of any irregularity.  But the Right remains unconvinced.  They’re also not entirely sure the sky is blue, but that’s another matter…

Then, in his ongoing effort to turn his well-coiffed head any way the wind blows, Mitt Romney disavowed what he clearly believes in his heart-of-hearts.  To be fair, on the tape of Romney’s speech to funders, his 47% statement is clearly a reference to campaign strategy: that a large segment of the population isn’t worth his pursuing for votes.  In that regard, “it’s not my job to worry about those people” is true.  Where he screwed up was in his vehemently warped, insulting, unguarded description of “the 47%” as people he clearly doesn’t like, respect, understand, or have the ability to change.  His tone and message are obviously genuine.

Politics has never been the sport of gentlemen, and smart people understand this and view the game as crooked overall – but still worth watching and taking sides on.  That’s because Democracy isn’t a spectator sport, it’s a serious game that actually affects people’s lives.  But when the usual bullshit increases exponentially and fair play is callously cast aside – through outright lies and voter suppression, for example – it has an effect on Americans opposite to the one desired: instead, interest and ticket sales (votes) plummet.  Who wants to watch a viciously rigged game played without the restraint of general rules?  To much of the public, politics in the main has the stench of that dead mouse behind the refrigerator and all it inspires is the desire to eat out.

For his part, the President’s debate passivity followed by his campaigning indignation is further proof that he doesn’t want to be perceived as an “angry black man” – which he is and has every right to be.  I keep fantasizing that he’ll come out for the next debate wearing a dashiki and a huge Afro wig – just to scare the “BeJesus” out of his opponent and already-frightened White America.  But of course, he won’t; he can’t.

So we’re confronted with two politicians who aren’t being fully truthful: one by outrageous commission, the other by pragmatic omission.  Either way, it’s not being straight with the public, which is a sad and perilous state of political affairs.  Just give us some truth – and please give us a break.

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