Climate of Fear
The War for America's Shy People
The rhetoric in this countryhas become ridiculous - on both sides! Saying this will not get me a large audience as a blogger. Many conservatives have decided that telling lies is okay as long as your intent is good. The hard left has been doing so for years. Wild stories and inflammatory language is one way to have a popular blog, though.
Me, I'm congenitally unable to do some of the things you have to do to be a successful blogger - among those, tell "good" stories if I know them to be untrue. I'm not very good at writing to be search engine optimized. It seems dishonest to write so that you repeat key words that are popular search words on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the rest. Technically, I should find a way to mention, for instance, Ted Kennedy, Mary Jo Kopechne, Chappaquiddick, Robert Novak, Michael Jackson or Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane (some sort of romantic entanglement I believe). All these are high on the most often searched list of keywords this week. Unfortunately, four years of Mrs. Creel's English classes taught me the evils of artificial writing and I cannot do it and feel good about myself, no matter if it would help me get one million "hits".
If I wanted to rile up some conservative readers and win their allegiance, I should mention Van Jones, Glenn Beck or Gay Marriage. I do, if I have something to say about those things, but writing an article where I repeat those names simply to get the search engine to move me up in a word search seems as disingenuous as Michael Savage calling himself by his full name instead of using pronouns like "I" or "me". Makes me want to smack him!
According to master blogger, Robert Stacy McCain, some other tricks include finding ways to insert popular women in not much clothing into your blog, picking fights so that you gain lots of enemies and spending a LOT of time self-promoting.
Ah, well, I guess I didn't really want to be a wildly successful blogger anyway. I think I'd rather write honestly. I sleep better at night that way.
Now that I've wandered off topic, let me get back to it. I read a piece in which a liberal someone had gone to a town hall and waved around a map with Iraq on it. He found (surprise, surprise) that 75% of those who opposed Obama's health care initiative were:
1. Unable to find Iraq on a map though it was brightly colored and in the center of the map.
2. All stupid white people who only memorized anti-health care junk that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity had sent them by e-mail or were paid by some mega-insurance companies that had paid them to spread lies about Obamacare.
3. All were probably either on Medicare or Veteran's Care and were hypocrites anyway.
Again I am shocked.
Okay, that was sarcasm. I admit it. It's just that once again, we're getting the same old Democrat tactic. I remember it from high school where it was a popular way to keep the cool kids in power. No matter what happens, if you don't believe and act the way the popular kids did, you were labeled stupid and ignorant even if you have a 139 IQ, a 4.0 GPA and actually knew what you are talking about.
It's the rhetorical equivalent of the masterful comeback, "Oh, yeah!" The Democrats are masters of it.
They used it to marginalize the frighteningly large numbers of angry mainstream Americans who showed up for Health Care Town Hall meetings in the run-up to Obamacare. The target to be intimidated and "guided" into correct liberal thinking by this particular anti-free speech campaign, however, is not the mythical moderates. It's not conservatives. It's not even the liberal base that supports the health care takeover. This tactic is aimed at people who, by nature, don't want to make a fuss. They don't want to get into a screaming match. They don't want anybody to be mad at them and they do not want to be thought of as "different". This is the group that is truly the swing vote in US elections.
They are the go-alongs. It takes a lot to move them and fear that something bad will happen that will upset their world is one of the biggest things that motivates them to action. It takes a lot to get these guys out to a town hall meeting. It is not in their nature to go against anything, much less their duly elected congressman or woman. They don't really understand all the ramifications of political stuff like this because it really doesn't concern them. Only when something threatens the health, comfort and safety of their families. Why else do you think the message was, "Don't worry. Health Care Reform won't hurt you. It will make everything good for all Americans. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain....."
If you went to a town hall, you'd have seen how these plain simple folk reacted when they got really angry at their congressman. Watch them shake their heads as they speak. It's as though they are saying "No, no, no, no, no..." all the time they are confronting this powerful person that they may actually have voted for because they were comfortable with him. They don't want to be there. They don't want to confront this person. They look over at the union guys and the liberal plants sent there to intimidate them and they just flat want to go home and hide. Even their body language says "I don't like doing this."
The problem is that even if they agree with someone, if that person or group resorts to the tactics of shouting, fear and intimidation, they drive those same people away. It's a careful dance between just enough intimidation and too much. Joe McCarthy failed to understand that back in the early 50's. He was right about Communists infiltrating Hollywood. It really was happening. Americans were frightened by it. But when he resorted to Gestapo like tactics, he lost America's shy people. There was a point in the McCarthy hearings where the country gave a collective cringe and turned off their radios. After that, no one cared how much of what he said was true. They weren't listening anymore.
At first, Washington, the Adams boys, Jefferson and Patrick Henry were considered rabble rousers and the American colonists by and large really didn't want to hear them. Mel Gibson captured the sentiment in his character's reaction to the revolution in "The Patriot". He just wanted to take care of his kids and his farm. He wasn't looking to confront power. He knew what the cost would be and he shrank from paying that cost.
I don't blame him. I don't blame any of the grandmas and grandpas that have driven to the town halls in their pickups and big grandma Buicks. It happened during the Revolution. Britain got cocky and pushed their grab for power too far too fast. They made the silent majority, the shy people of America fear for their way of life.
That's what happened in the first months of the Obama administration. They chose the quick grab for power over the slow, steady approach. The Cap and Trade and Health Care Initiatives are the equivalent of a "Hail Mary" pass in football. I think they've decided that this administration is the last chance for socialism and if they risk it all on this one roll of the dice, they can win!
Bloggers, talk show hosts and conservative action groups are fighting a delaying action, hoping Americans will wake up to what's happening before it's too late. We need to block that Hail Mary pass or time may actually run out on us. We'll be left with a frightening new system of government with the power to destroy all opposition in its way.
Delay and Sound the Alarm!
We need night riders like Paul Revere to wake up the country to its peril. We also need the informants that found out the British were coming and where they were going to. Soon we'll need the patriots at the bridge standing toe to toe with a foe that is disciplined, well-armed and confident. But on that day, which side will America's shy people be standing behind? That's the critical factor in whether we win or lose in this fight for freedom.
I think I can tell you which side they'll take. It'll be the side that best convinces them it can protect their way of life - the things they most value. The side that best articulates its case without malice or brutality (or at least without the appearance of malice and cruelty) will carry the field. As Gandhi and Martin Luther King, the original Martin Luther and Jesus Christ himself demonstrated, it may require some of us to have nerves of steel - the ability to hold our fire till we see the whites of their eyes. We may have to risk our lives and our honor, our wealth and our safety. Some of us may be ruined in the effort. Some may not survive. The way to win may well be for enough of us to go down with dignity and reveal the foe as a cruel tyrant by his behavior. We may lose talk radio, conservative news, religious broadcasting and independent publications before it's over. We may lose a lot of things we value before America fully wakes.
I hope not.
In this current, and what I believe may be final, conflict, we must tell the truth, no matter what. We must not pass along lies and rumors just because it works to make people believe like we do. Our opponents do that very well. They lie themselves and then convict us in the press of lies we never told. They make up things to support their agenda, no matter whether they are the truth or not. We must not do that too! We must not resort to the tactics of Goebbels, Stalin, Mussolini Saddam Hussein and their ilk simply because lying is an effective tool to get what you want.
Let us be careful in this conflict to tell the truth. I'm listening to both sides and there are many out there who believe that what our government is trying to do is wrong. Many tell the truth scrupulously no matter what their critics say to the contrary. Others say exciting things that will get them ratings without any concern for whether the things they say are true or not. If it sounds good, they'll use it. I get a dozen e-mails a day from people I care very much for with stories in them that are lies. They are great stories and may make me mad at people I should be mad at. Nonetheless they are lies and we hurt ourselves by telling them.
It is harder for a righteous man to fight a war than it is for a wicked man. There are weapons we may not use; tactics in which we may not engage. The clerk at my local grocery store believes that Jesus's coming is imminent. That may well be the answer to the prayer that many freedom-loving Americans have been praying lately.
God help us!