Saturday, November 10, 2012

My turn to say, America, Love it or Leave It


Or at least indict Roger Ailes for Treason 

Back in the Vietnam war era, I’d see bumper stickers that said, “America, Love it or Leave It” and the message was meant for people like me.  After this past election, I want to find one of those bumper stickers and put it on my own car now. 

Politics divided the country completely in half in the Vietnam War era much like we are divided today.  Back then an entire generation had enjoyed public schools with resources, and as a result we saw the insanity of a military industrial complex generated war.  So in 1968 we took to the streets to demand the USA bring the war to an end. 

Today an entire generation has grown up with low budget education and 24-hour news cycles where twisted propaganda, funded by a similar industrial complex, has bombarded our airwaves. 

So in 2010 a generation took to the streets carrying signs with misspelled words. 

Back then maybe we didn't have maps showing red and blue states.  But we had jukeboxes playing “We Don't Smoke Marijuana in Muskogee” and the message was as clear.  Half the country hates the other half because each of us is certain, “my politics are correct and yours aren't.”

As a hippie flower child, now and then I’d try to reach out to a right winger.  In fact one day in 1971 or so I was on a road trip with a van full of freaks, and we stopped in an Oklahoma diner.  The parking lot was full of pickups with that very bumper sticker “America, Love it or Leave It” as well as other stickers that shouted that decade’s breed of hatred of your fellow citizen. 

We had been on the road for days and needed a coffee stop so we went in the diner anyway. 

I remember Alfie, my companion at the time, nudged me to just stay cool.  We walked into the Naugahyde* dominated sunlit room and all conversation at the tables came to a stop.  A waitress held a coffee pot in mid air.  Everyone stared at us.  We sat at a table.

As is my bent, I ignored Alfie’s warning. 

I felt a need to reach out again to a right winger. 

So I went to the jukebox and played that very same Merle Haggard song. 

The clang of guitar and lyrics rang out, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee” and filled the otherwise still silent room.

Then, as my long-haired unkempt companions stared with mouths open, I sat down at a table full of men in cowboy hats and tried to explain to them:

“Why say America love it or leave it?  We protest the war in Vietnam because we love America so much.” 

It didn't work.  I didn't bring peace and harmony to the nation or even the diner, in fact, the cowboys all got up and gestured at my friends like I’d challenged them to a fight, and I'm going, no, I'm trying to explain we're patriotic, we love America, we don't want to leave it.  But Alfie and the others sensed something sinister about to begin, so they picked me up out of my seat and we were back out on the highway in seconds. 

So it's with trepidation that as election 2012 careened through the summer I would post an occasional link to a story on Facebook about one of the numerous accomplishments of Barack Obama. 

As soon as I’d post, I’d get bombarded, by right wing “friends” I’d acquired somewhere,  with salaciously angry and off-the-wall answers such as: 

Obama’s a Muslim. 
Obama’s a Socialist. 
Obama’s out to destroy the country. 
Obama was not born in America.

I’d try reasoning with them. 

Not born in America?  Wouldn't Hillary have uncovered that back in 2008?

If he were a socialist why didn't we at least get single payer health coverage?  Why do most of his actions make him seem more like a moderate Republican? 

If he’s a Muslim, why does he live his life like someone who has internalized Proverbs since an early age and anyway if we have freedom of religion in this country, so what if he is a Muslim?

But the response from the right was inevitably the same.  He’s a socialist, he’s a Muslim, then they would not shut up long enough to hear what I was saying. 

Like the men in cowboy hats at that diner. 

Half of America was getting its information from one source and refusing to listen to any other.  They weren't stopping to consider who was funding and creating the source where they got their information, because the information was delivered in such a professional and calculated manner that it was designed to get that very adamant result. 

We saw signs of the hypnosis on the right last Tuesday on election night.  When it became obvious who won, when even Fox News had to admit Obama won the election, news cameras showed a gathering in Boston of Mitt Romney’s main backers at what was supposed to be a victory party. 

Their room went silent. 

It was like all of a sudden their bubble popped.  For a good two years maybe longer, the neo-conservatives had  immersed themselves so thoroughly in Fox News lies and their dissemination, that they thought the imaginary truth inside the bubble was true. 

Then the bubble popped.  Romney supporters were out about a jillion dollars combined between them, and now it was all gone.  They had nothing to show for it. 

I’d like to say “America, love it or leave it” to all the Romney-ites who think, now that Obama won a second term, we are headed for a socialist takeover run by Chinese Muslims, but I don't know where these anti-tax anti-government whackos would be able to find a home.  Their heads would explode in any of the more civilized nations like France, the UK, Canada, or Australia, where they have socialized medicine and binders full of public services all funded by taxes paid with enthusiasm by citizens who are proud of everything their country provides. 

I do know that my right wing friends have been fed a pack of lies. 

Roger Ailes should be fired from his job as President of Fox News.  The way that mainstream news outlet delivered its daily message, obviously the sound bytes were coming from above, i.e., Roger Ailes.  Then each news anchor would just find different word combinations to use to deliver the bytes, then Comedy Central would run montages of Fox News anchors repeating the same idiotic phrases.  

Messages like “born in Kenya” and “Muslim socialist” were repeated over and over again last few years, until vulnerable (under-educated) Americans began to believe them.  It helped that Rush Limbaugh and his imitators would then repeat the Ailes-generated messages on right wing radio shows that dominate America’s air waves. 

Roger Ailes, whose career began when he ran the dirty tricks media projects for Richard Nixon, does not have the objectivity required to be president of a major news outlet like Fox, so Roger Ailes should be fired from Fox News.  

And then Roger Ailes should be indicted for treason.  That might start bringing the country back together again. 

Meanwhile, to all my mesmerized friends who voted for Romney. 

Step back. 
Exhale. 
Accept. 

That's what we had to do when George W. Bush got declared president twice even though it was obvious he hadn’t really won.  Bush didn't win Florida in 2000 and he didn't win Ohio in 2004, but the race was so close and the power so emphatic on the right, that he just got declared President.  We accepted it, we exhaled, we dealt with him as President whether we liked it or not. That wasn't able to happen in 2012 because the landslide made margins for error irrelevant and no third party had to be called in to be bought then call the election.  They were not able to buy or steal the election this year. 

We accepted GW Bush as President and begrudgingly gave him respect. 

Dear Right Wing, Please do the same for Obama.  

Obama is President of the United States.

Whether you like him or not, as President, Obama deserves respect, as do your fellow citizens who voted for him. 

Accept it. 

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Posted this morning from scratch by Kay Ebeling

*Little side note: Naugahyde is not in the Word Spell Check...

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2 comments:

  1. You just beautifully expressed everything I have been stewing about! Beautiful job.

    ReplyDelete

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