Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Organize or Fail
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
For those of you who are new to the world of Brutally Honest… and if you’re reading the transcripts from my blog site, you’re probably one of them… you may be confused as to my political affiliation. So let me go ahead and set the record straight.
I am a LIBERTARIAN. A libertarian is someone who believes in FREEDOM of the individual. I am not a conservative, although I once thought myself as being one because I erroneously believed that conservatives were serious about less government. I am not a liberal, although there are several liberal stances that I do support.
And of course that may confuse those of you who have been brought up in a zero-sum, black-or-white, liberal-or-conservative mentality. Liberal and conservative talk show hosts have brought up this myth that there are only two sides in politics… their side and the wrong side. Someone like yours truly simply blows their mind because I’m not supposed to exist in their little, tidy, zero-sum world.
Okay, so here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter to me which political party is in charge right now, because BOTH the Democrats and the Republicans have easily and readily abused the power they are given. What matters to me is how screwed the United States is. We’re supposed to be the shining beacon of freedom for the world, and yet we have no idea what freedom really means or how easily it is being taken away by those in the government. You don’t fight for freedom over there by destroying it over here. That’s a lesson from the old Joe McCarthy days. You remember Joe, don’t you? He was also screaming "we are at war", only back then it was against hypothetical communist agents lurking in your neighborhood.
Now since the Republicans are calling the shots in the federal government, and since they have abandoned all pretense of supporting less government and more individual freedom, they need to be kept in check.
And this is where we have a problem, because the Democrats just don’t have what it takes to do it. In fact, a good friend of mine recently sent me a rant from a liberal blogger named Cenk Uygur talking about the lessons of the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito, which I think is worth going over. I don’t have time to repeat what he said word for word so I’m just going to highlight the key points here…
First the Republicans successfully managed to "frame" the issue. They crafted the spin on the Alito nomination long before the confirmation hearings even came up. In fact these guys had five years to prepare for this confirmation, so I would have been surprised if they weren’t ready for it when the time came. What did the Democrats do in those two months to counter the spin? Nothing. They didn’t paint a contrary perception. They just said "well, we’ll just wait for the nomination hearing." And of course that’s where they really blew it.
Now if the media was as absolutely LIBERAL as the cons and neo-cons continue to complain about, then the media would have provided that needed contrary perception. Instead, the air-fluffed members of the alphabet soup media spent the month of December fixated about New Orleans and Bill O’Reilly’s fraudulent "War on Christmas". In fact, the conservatives even USED O’Reilly’s con-job as a tool for the Alito nomination. I’m serious! I even heard the commercials for it! The cons and neo-cons were talking about how Sam Alito will somehow "save Christmas"!
Now if there’s only one voice being heard over and over again, both the media and the great unwashed will presume that whatever is being told from that lone voice is fact. If conservatives announce that the Earth is flat and the moon is made of green cheese, and nobody calls them on it or proves it to be otherwise, then the media will report these things as "shocking new exclusives"… and the public will eventually buy it because there’s nothing out there to tell them otherwise.
Once the "framing" is set in stone and people begin to buy it, then the polls come out, and in recent years these polls will almost always support the Republican effort, no matter what it is. Now folks, I’ve always said that you need to take polls with a grain of salt because the questions and how they are asked and who asks them can be easily manipulated to give you the answers that you want, and this is precisely why this happens! If those poll numbers don’t give the GOP the answers that they want, then those numbers are immediately discounted and not reported. But if – or when – they do give the GOP what they’re looking for, the GOP then shoves those numbers in our faces and declares the whole thing a done deal. They get in your face and they "There! See? The people have spoken!"
Now this is where good organization comes in. Even IF you can’t get a timely response, and even IF you can’t come up with your own poll numbers to counter theirs, you still need to mount a heavy resistance to prove that you still stand up for what you believe in, and here Mr. Uyger correctly points out that the Dems didn’t do that with the Alito confirmation. And that pissed off their own voter base, which became yet another tool for the Republicans to crow about, saying that the Democrats were even more "out of touch" with their own voters and with the American voters in general. They wait until the Dems cave – and a few of them did – and they use THAT as yet another nail in the coffin.