Eugene T. Paslov: The right wing gangsters’ weapons: Distortions and lies
President Obama is fighting back. In the 1940s in Los Angeles I had an opportunity to see street gang violence in action. I learned a few lessons about gang culture. Talk first. If that doesn’t work, hit hard.
President Obama is a great rhetorician but his opponents don’t care. They don’t listen. The right wing radicals (the new element of the Republican Party) just say “hell, no” to everything, generate lies about virtually all of the president’s initiatives, and, even more offensive, perpetuate lies about the president’s religion and birthplace.
This gang of right wing radicals is able to do this because it is financed by corporate billions. It controls AM radio and Fox News. It has Sarah Palin spewing hate and fear.
This political strategy represents the new gang culture that in many ways resembles the L.A. street gangs – lawless bullies, liars and power grabbers. President Obama needed to look the new political gang straight in the eye and hit back. He finally did.
The president’s health care reform plan is an example of the right wing radical/gang declaring as factual everything from death panels, to microchip implantations, to “jack-booted IRS agents.” It’s nonsense. But, if you lie enough, people will begin to believe you. Look at the George W. Bush administration’s WMD tale. Even though demonstrably false, many still believe WMD’s existed.
According to a recent Newsweek public opinion poll, 24 percent of the country believe Obama is a Muslim. Twenty-four percent believe the president is advocating fundamentalist Islamic law and
56 percent disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the economy. This latter metric is in spite of the fact that 57 percent believe that federal spending is required to create jobs.
Jonathan Alter, the Newsweek commentator analyzing the poll results, made the observation that the poll “says more about the mindset of the GOP than about Obama. It reflects not just the usual personal and partisan animus of the age … but a flight from facts – a startling disconnect between a quarter of the country and what some of Bush’s aides once disparagingly called “the reality-based community.”
“The blame for this extends from Fox News and the Republican leadership, to the peculiar psychology of resentment in public opinion, to the ham-handed political response of the Obama White House. Whatever the cause, if smash-mouth tactics are validated by huge GOP gains in the midterm elections, then Big Lie politics may be with us for good.”
If “big liars” win the midterm elections, the Democrats won’t trust them; only the fringe will believe them. But be assured, the middle class will lose.
• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.