Sunday, September 07, 2008

Truth and Illusion

Martha: Truth and Illusion, George. Don't you know the difference?
George: No, but we must carry on as if we did.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

As already written, my hair started to bristle when Sarah Palin got about five minutes into her RNC speech and started mocking Barack Obama with deliberate distortions and in some cases outright lies. She dutifully delivered the fabrications of the speech writers seemingly without a care in the world for their validity. We now know the GOP deliberately compressed the speeches in succession to prevent media commentary between them. Now why wouldn't they want to give anyone the opportunity to comment while the masses were still tuned in?

I found Karl Rove's transformation of what constitutes presidential readiness particularly telling. Starting with his remarks on VA Governor Tim Kaine as a possible Obama VP: He's been a governor for three years. He was Mayor of the 105th largest city in America. With all due respect to Richmond, Virginia it's smaller than Chula Vista, California, Aurora, Colorado, Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona, North Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town. So if you were to pick Governor Kaine it would be an intensely political choice where he said, "You know what, I'm really not first and foremost concerned with whether he's really ready to be president of the United States."

Got that? Rove argued that Kaine was completely unprepared to become president after three years as governor (VA - pop. 7.7 M), didn't note his years as Lt. Gov but did recall his having been mayor of a "small town" (pop. 200,000). Within weeks we have Rove on Sarah Palin: She's a populist. She's an economic and a social conservative. She's a reformer. She's a a former Mayor. She was the Mayor I think of the second largest city in Alaska before she ran for Governor.

Of course it doesn't particularly matter whether Wasilla (pop. 9,000) is the second largest city in Alaska (of course not). Do you think Rove thinks it is? Uh-huh. McCain repeatedly declares he can work "both sides of the aisle" and falsely asserts Obama has not. Think McCain is just mistaken? Why intentionally lie? Because it works. Some insightful Republicans, in particular those involved with GOP approved faith based initiatives, clap a little uneasily at the McCain and Palin bombasts of a "community organizer" and what Obama did (he worked with many churches). They see their nominees eviscerating efforts little different from their own. But, of course, they don't say anything.

While grabbing a quick bite yesterday I ran into someone from the Tucson economic development days. I recognized him at once but was unsure if he remembered me. After a moment he approached, "We have something in common."

I replied, "So you know about all of that?"
He smiled, "Oh, yeah. I've read about it, heard about it."

The man appeared most eager to speak, so I offered him a seat, and off he went about his disgust with TREO, noting the various lies and distortions. He said, "Whenever I meet with those guys, I feel like I've been slimed and want to take a shower."

Unlike students at a university, TREO not only grades itself but writes the report card. It gets to retroactively make up the whole thing, circles and arrows, multipliers, lists, anything goes that is not immediately recognizable as false (i.e. built the world's largest indoor ski resort at 4th Ave and 9th Street). Since Tucsonans are the poorest of any city in Arizona with a per capita income below $20K, it's safe to say this measure won't be graded. Causing nothing, the Cloth cannot project performance. They must wait to see what happens in order to take credit for it using the most legitimizing voice they can find, a high level cosmopolitan executive entirely too busy with a real job to raise questions or disrupt their petty politicking for handouts at the local trough.

In what I found ironic, the man looked directly at me and asked, "Why doesn't anyone come forward?"
I looked at him for a moment and remarked, "Well, I've been doing my small part."
I paused, "Why don't you say something?"
"I don't want to lose my job."

Knowing his position, I seriously doubt he has cause for fear, but justified or not, the fear stops him dead in his tracks, just as it stops the rest of the herd. We see everyone charging in a certain direction and question our own judgment. We doubt our own perception and understanding. In chapter 1968 of Something Else, a seven-year-old boy finds his way out of a maze designed to trap sheep. As if grasping reality were not difficult enough, we are designed to seek the approval of those around us. Should the herd have a different view, cowardice and self-doubt suggest we muzzle our own instincts. In the maze, the boy did not have to convince others. A deeper than average insight wonders if he would have thought to turn left when surrounded by others pushing forward. Like it or not on Earth we're stuck in the maze together, and the herd is anything but wise. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for decent people to do nothing.


Blogger Robish said...

Perhaps you should call all the people who read and agree with this blog's view of the little world of Tucson, but are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their (our) jobs, together for a few beers at an out-of-the-way, Cloth-free watering hole, and see if they (we) can rise above their (our) fears and find strength in numbers.

They (we) might be shocked by who else is in the room, and recognize real people behind the blogger handles, and feel empowered that frustration has penetrated likely every agency, organization, and major (especially TREO-contributing) company.

They can't fire everyone, can they?

9/07/2008 8:40 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

The McCain campaign is running advertisements that lie about Palin as well as Obama. They do indeed show no concern for accuracy or fact.

If they get away with, shame on the voters. The herd, indeed.

9/08/2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I thought we had seen the lowest of the low, but apparently not. It is insane what the McCain campaign has sunk to, running ads that deliberately lie as clearly as can be clear.

Now they are running an ad stating the Obama wants mandatory sex education for kindergarten children.

Republicans are shit.

9/10/2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Dammit, x4mr.

Before reading this blog, I was quite able to ignore politics and live in my own world, which suited me just fine.

Now I'm paying attention, and it is so infuriating I find myself steaming and upset when before I would have been fine.

Between this and the unmentionable link from hell, I ought to kick your ass.

9/10/2008 6:18 PM  

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