Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Ms. Brooks: Which Real America?

Rosa Brooks' column in today's Los Angeles Times takes a look at the current McCain-Palin strategy in the closing days of the campaign, and what she sees is the natural culmination of the GOP view that it is possible to create reality.

Now that reality has little, if any, relationship to the one the rest of us live in, but that certainly hasn't stopped Republicans, especially the last eight years. Everything from "the Iraqis will greet us as liberators," to "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" betrays a world view that suggests that if we act as if something were true it will magically become true. An important corollary to this world view is that if a lie is repeated often enough, it takes on a truth of its own (cf. Colbert's "truthiness").

Ms. Brooks zeroes in on the McCain-Palin campaign because it is such a clear expression of that world view:

The GOP code isn't hard to crack: There's the America that might vote for Obama (a suspect America populated by people with liberal notions, big-city ways and, no doubt, dark skin), and then there's the "real" America, where people live in small towns, believe in God and country, and are ... well ... white.

The divisive GOP rhetoric we've been hearing lately is hardly new. But with each passing year, the "real" America of GOP mythmaking bears less and less resemblance to the America most Americans live in.

About 80% of Americans live in metropolitan areas, not small towns. A third of us are ethnic and racial minorities, but that's changing: Already,nearly 45% of children under 5 are minorities. Although 88%of us believe in God, 70% think that religions other than our own are equally valid routes to truth. And while 59% of us think that wearing an American flag pin is a decent way to show patriotism, even more of us (66%) think that protesting U.S. policies we oppose is a good way to show patriotism. These days, more than half of us say we prefer the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

...McCain and Palin look at America and see what they wish was there, rather than what's actually there: an America in which they'll be greeted as liberators and rightful heirs to the mantle of leadership. America, after all, has been led by white Anglo-Saxons for the last two-plus centuries and, for the last 40 years, mostly by Republicans. For that to change is almost unthinkable. And so Team McCain just edits out the inconvenient America that doesn't seem likely to vote GOP. That America's not real. It just can't be.
[Emphasis added]

Of course, that doesn't matter to McCain-Palin, nor to most Republicans. They are counting on that segment of Americans who also want to believe in that fantasy (the base-base) to understand the code and to vote against "That One", even though "That One" offers so much more to the real America.

Lew Carroll was prescient.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

Diane--thanks, once again, for pointing to Rosa Brooks' recent columns. And more, FAR more like this, from other columnists, please--the creation of "reality", first made infamous by the "Bush advisor" in Suskind's column, is at the very root of almost every one of the poisonous evils that threaten our very world today.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Or, pithier and more prophetic, as he often was:

I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

God, but I wish Lennon was still here. I'm all but sure we'd be getting some of the truth we so desperately need.

5:21 AM  
Anonymous joel hanes said...

Glory!

9:08 AM  

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