Why do right-wingers demand to be lied to?
Glenn Beck this weekend: “I know that many in this country think that I’m a fear-monger. It is not a . . it is not a label that, I think, applies . .”
Glenn Beck previously:
–“I think what’s coming is horrific. I don’t even want to speak it out loud . .”
–“I can tell you there will be rivers of blood . .”
–“Are we headed for a one-world government . .”
–“A global economic holocaust is coming . .”
–“It’s September the Eleventh all over again, except we didn’t have the collapsing buildings . .”
–“If you haven’t done your homework yet — what is it going to take? I urge you to catch up on it, and catch up on it fast. It’s kind of important, for a couple of reasons. One . . uhh . . the whole end of time thing . .”
Ah, yes, the end of time. It’s on Obama’s agenda.
All Glenn Beck’s ever done to become one of the biggest and richest media figures in this country is lie from the minute he gets on camera to the second the credits roll. Now that he wants to be a civil rights leader, ushering a radical new era in American history, all he did this weekend was lie some more, including lying very obviously about his lying.
Why do right wingers want and need to be lied to? My father, a right-winger, who passed away a few years ago, had a life-long friend of his we’ll call Jim. Jim is the salt of the earth. He would never lie to you in almost any reasonable circumstance, I can’t fathom it. As a businessman, he carries the same reputation he does in private life, not a dishonest bone in his body.
But as soon as politics comes up, he can’t stand to listen to anybody who isn’t lying to him: Limbaughs and Hannitys and such. When he brings up one of their gems of ‘truth’ while around me, and I’m in the mood to shoot it down (he’s an awfully nice man, after all), he’s genuinely shocked that it might not be true.
That contrast is so stark, it’s shocking really. You’d have to torture the guy to get him to lie, and yet, of politics, he would never apply even a wisp of that behavioral standard to the media figures he trusts.
I mention this to point out how people get and indulge their politics, especially those on the right: it is a drug. It provides the sort of visceral reaction or catharsis that a decent drug would. For them, the veracity of a political thing is secondary — the primary thing is the buzz it delivers.
So your Glenn Becks are the biggest drug dealers, they deliver the best shit. They know how to distill their message so that just a little bit of it goes a very long way. And that’s why they’re all filthy rich, too, like a bunch of drug dealers. There is a hungry, jones-ing market for political smack, and the Bill O’Reillys will deliver as long as they’re able. If you can deliver the high, you get rewarded with power.
Which brings me to this, the President’s interview with Brian Williams:
“I can’t spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead,” Mr. Obama told NBC’s Brian Williams in an interview in New Orleans. “The facts are the facts. And so, it’s not something that I can I think spend all my time worrying about. And I don’t think the American people want me to spend all my time worrying about it.”
He’s wrong there, I think.
A CBS News poll conducted in April found that 20 percent of Americans believe the president was born outside of the United States. Those numbers rise among self-identified Republicans and Tea Partiers. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii. Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month showed that 18 percent of Americans incorrectly said they think Mr. Obama is Muslim. Another 43 percent said they didn’t know the president’s religion, while just 34 percent correctly said he is a Christian.
I can’t imagine a whole fifth of the country buying outrageous lies about any Republican president. Obama is wrong to believe that it’s only silly ridiculousness. Huge sections of the country are walking around with heads full of Glenn Beck’s Terrorist Purple Haze. At some point, as it is with any drug that distorts perception and reality, if enough people are under the influence, bad things will happen.
You can’t seriously believe this has no deleterious effects upon the political environment and the tenor of the times. When one side of the country believes things wildly untrue and is getting very well rewarded for doing so, viscerally and psychologically, you are setting the nation up for some serious stress at some point. You may even be headed towards violence. You can’t ignore so many people and think it will help you, as a President or a nation, in the long run.
As the first seriously contending Black presidential candidate, you may have been able to run by ignoring the lunatics on the right, but you’re the President now. You’ve got to attend to the whole nation. If you don’t start seriously pushing back at these caustic lies, you’re running a dangerous course for everybody involved.