Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tea Time

Serve some crumpets with that unreality virus hitting our congress. A mixed metaphor but in zany times like this there are new rules. Orwell would be amused. Grassroots now means any number of people recruited by public relations experts hired by billionaires to convince said persons that their interests align with the funders. Some focus-group derived rhetoric required. Any gathering no matter how small will have first rate sound systems, local right-wing celebrities, sometimes national versions of same, tuned to the focus-group data, and lavish media promotion and coverage. The slogan Take Back Our Country appeals to a certain brand of disenfranchised and argues at the same time that our country has indeed been taken, implying that we had it in the previous administration which again would impress Orwell.

Bryan Burrough, in his book The Big Rich, documents how Texas oil millionaires distorted our democracy by funding right wing candidates, not just in their home state but across the country, and targeting any politician they deemed too “liberal” (communist!). Their efforts helped bring us the red-scare 50s. So today. We’ve lost an honest, compassionate voice in the senate with Russ Feingold’s defeat to a tea-party stalwart worthy of Joseph McCarthy. The people of Wisconsin seem to have forgotten that history. You may not be able to fool all of the people all of the time but you can come pretty close if you pump enough money, vitriol and unscrupulous but clever con artists into the electoral process. So here we are once again, having deviated slightly from the path to extinction, having thus pushed the hysteria button on those who have the wherewithal, motivation and inclination to get us back on track.

1 comment:

  1. YOu are pretty much on the money about grassroots. i know someone in the non profit public health sector, and he says that, what at first started out as a positive development - getting professional mediators involved in community work - quickly became bad, when these same professional mediators took over a lot of the power and capacitation communities once had. At first it was positive bc the professionals were managing great gains for these groups. But eventually, like I said, ended up co-opting everything.

    Thanks for sharing!