Years ago when I returned home after being away for a number of years, I discovered to my horror that my gentle, tolerant mother, a woman who taught us to accept all people regardless of race, sexual orientation or social standing, had become hooked on a well known radio and television evangelist preacher to the point that she had evolved into a class-one bigot who repetitively used the term “those people.”
Right away she let me know that women like me, who preferred to work for a living and raise their children alone rather than remain with abusive spouses, were the cause of all the evil in the world. She was so convinced that was true that she was in total denial of her own divorce. And possibly as penance for her sins, she sent what little money she had as a donation to further the causes of that television preacher, a man who was already living in multimillion dollar luxury. I could not believe that this woman I loved and most admired had been taken in, and how angrily she rejected everything that she had once espoused. But that evangelist was a skilled con man, who managed to convince a lot of people that his reality was the only acceptable one, and by imposing it on his listeners had managed to swindle millions out of millions before he was done.
The extent to which some people can be manipulated was more recently illustrated by the ravings of an angry biker my daughter and I ran into a week ago. We had headed out to register new voters at a farmers’ market, and instead of finding a block full of produce and unregistered liberals, we found an empty lot and a gathering of bikers. In spite of the fact we were not wearing or carrying anything to indicate we were partisan, my asking if any of them needed to register to vote brought on a bitter verbal assault. The leader of the biker pack ranted in our faces that Obama was a lying S.O.B. and would never get his vote, that the President was sending jobs overseas and doing nothing for vets or anyone else, all false information obviously quoted from Republican sources. And he rudely suggested that we needn’t bother the other bikers in his group because they all felt the same. They were for Romney all the way.
Romney? First of all, as for the bikers being concerned about vets, they should know that Romney was and is a chicken hawk, always pushing for war but never serving. First he received deferments for college and then a questionable deferment as a Mormon missionary serving in France for two and a half years, which wasn’t much of a hardship since he resided in a classy apartment there. As a matter of fact, thanks to his father’s millions and power, and then his own, neither Mitt nor his sons ever served in the military.
Obama, who is fifteen years younger than Romney, was not old enough to be drafted when we were at war, but, since there were so many Navy men stationed in Hawaii at that time, had once considered the service as a possible career path. He has made employment and health care for veterans top priorities.
Second, Obama isn’t shipping jobs overseas; he’s trying to bring them back by offering businesses tax incentives. It was the biker’s hero Romney who got rich as the head of Bain Capital when he bought and sold companies, shipping jobs overseas and shutting factories down while reaping his own fortune. He’s a sociopathic con man with no concern for any of the people he put out of work. And he probably wouldn’t know how to pull on a pair of biker boots any more than the the bikers would know how to pull on spit-and-polish, skinny-legged, pointy-toed $700 riding boots. Why on earth would they ever support Romney?
I was startled because I couldn’t imagine how those bikers, or any honorable, intelligent person in this country, would ever find common ground with Romney, any more than I could have imagined that my mother would have believed the biblical babble of the supposedly pious preacher. The word “uneducated” came to mind, both in the case of the bikers and my mother, but education didn’t seem to be the factor. I believe they had simply bought the con, accepted the world as falsely presented to them without checking the facts—they had drunk the kool-aid, so to speak.
There’s an old adage: If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.
And that brings to mind the definition of a swindle that I believe is the best description of Republican rhetoric. A swindle is a confidence game where the victim is persuaded by lies and deception to trust someone who deprives the victim of money or possessions. A con man is a double-dealing trickster who uses a whole scheming pack of lies to further his own financial and powerful ends—which, if it is considered larceny as it should be, is against the law.
I like this quote from Jane Kleland’s book, Dolled Up For Murder :
“Con men succeed because they are able to convince you that the alternate reality they create is genuine.”
Today’s Republicans are pretty good at doing that. They are a shrewd pack of double-dealers who are trying to swindle us out of our rights while stealthily buying up our democracy and our country. They are proficient and persistent liars and know the power of perpetuating a lie until half this country is convinced it is reality. In order to accomplish their goals, they needed to control the media by buying up enough stations and newscasters to get their lie out there. And toward that end they needed money, lots of money, so they sold their allegiance to the highest corporate bidders, the Koch Brothers for instance, as well as Wall Street banks, Big Oil, Monsanto, and even foreign governments.
And they needed a whole slew of immediate followers, millions of dumbed-down middle class Americans who would buy the lies until their realities were turned inside out.
Wake up America! Go take a cold shower! Think! Republicans don’t care a wit about the planet or the country or you! The only thing they care about is the money that changes hands. The Romneys and the rest of their ilk are selling this country to the highest bidders. Wake up! It isn’t theirs to sell. It belongs to us because we are the people who keep it going even when things get tough. We are the farmers and the teachers and the miners and the firemen and the librarians, and the factory workers, the filmmakers, the engineers and the cops.
There are con men who sell you blacktop for your driveway that washes off during the first rain, or broken-down used car bargains that stop running a block and a half from the dealer’s parking lot. Remember the saying “Buyer beware!” Con men like Romney should be tarred and feathered the way your great-grandfathers would have done before riding him out of town on a rail.
President Obama is the smartest, most active president we have ever had. He has worked harder than any other president in our lifetime. And in spite of little support from the Blue Dog Democrats and their ilk, and constant obstructionism by the Republicans, he has managed scores of positive, progressive accomplishments. They are important and they are real. If you care about this country, don’t let the lying Republicans sell it to the highest bidders, whether they be foreign countries, big corporations or theocratic, patriarchal religions that want only to control women, enslave the poor and destroy the middle class. If you want to keep this country from sliding into the worst depression ever, as has been predicted if Romney returns the country to the Bush economy, you better figure it all out fast.
The election is speeding toward us and only we can stop disaster from happening, and only if we vote en masse. That is the REAL Reality!