The hiatus is over. I have returned from celebrating July 4th. Yes, this liberal loves fireworks and Sousa. I now sit less joyously at my keyboard exercising my right of free speech. Truth be told, (I hope that expression shall always be the guiding light of this blog) I am saddened by the state of our nation. It appears Michelle Bachman, who wants to take this country "bach” to 1776, is seriously running for President and is likely to win the Iowa Republican Caucuses. The Republicans are holding our republic hostage, threatening to destroy the U.S. economy by obstructing the raising of the debt ceiling unless our capitulating President cuts Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and withdraws his threat to increase tax revenues from those most able to afford it (can’t get Grover Norquist pissed). Could the end of our democracy be near?
By coincidence, a conservative friend sent me a terrifying email warning that the end of democracy is just around the corner. Respecting my friend’s privacy, I shall call him Joe. Joe is a good man; he is a veteran, a good dad, a good husband and a good grandpa. The intent of this column is not to attack Joe, but rather to reassure Joe that democracy will not end due to the misinformation in his forwarded email. He is worrying about the wrong threat.
I know your lives are busy and your Ipad is demanding attention, but take a few minutes to quickly scan Joe’s message.
In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of
Edinborough, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some
2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until
the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts
from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes
for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public
treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over
loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning
of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these
nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."
The Obituary follows:
Born 1776, Died 2012
It doesn't hurt to read this several times.
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul ,
Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the last
Number of States won by: Obama: 19 McCain: 29
Square miles of land won by: Obama: 580,000 McCain: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Obama: 127 million McCain: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Obama: 13.2
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won
was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.
Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income
tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the
"complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of
democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already
having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
invaders called illegal's - and they vote - then we can say goodbye to the
USA in fewer than five years.
If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message. If
you are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how much
is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.
This is truly scary! Of course we are not a *Democracy*, we are a
*Constitutional Republic* . Someone should point this out to Obama. Of
course we know he and too many others pay little attention to The
There couldn't be more at stake than on Nov 2012.
Thanks, I hope you are not too terrified and have a few minutes left to devote to my ramblings. The original plan of this blog entry was to take apart this apocalyptical warning; pointing out its inherent lies. With that purpose in mind, I began to compose my article, but as I wrote, the email seemed stupider and stupider, leading me to Google “Alexander Tyler of the University of Edinborough (why can’t rumor mongers spell?). Of course, I was directed to Snopes http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/athenian.asp and unsurprisingly, discovered that 90 percent of this fear inducing message was bullshit.
If you made that visit you now know that the statistics presented were never generated by any known professor; Alexander probably never wrote what is quoted. This same warning with the same statistics was used in the 2004 election, and what the hell does land area won have to do with ones legitimacy as President?
So the question is why do bright, educated, well meaning people believe illogical crap? What motivates good people, people with functioning brains to readily accept misinformation? What makes a considerable portion of our country vulnerable to propaganda? Liberals often label these believers as racist, evil, or laugh at the naivety of the Joes of this country.
Instead of laughing at the consumer of these blogs, we should be recognizing the genius of this disseminated stuff. Its composers understand their readers and know the power and efficacy of scapegoating. It is to our peril to laugh at these emailed messages or write them off as utter nonsense.
Look carefully at Joe’s warning. The piece is saying that lazy, apathetic, violent, illegal, welfare sucking inhabitants of urban crime ridden areas of his beloved America are on the verge of putting him, the industrious, patriotic, peace loving, hardworking, middle class inhabitant of a peaceful neighborhood in “BONDAGE. ” He will become the slave of these non-God-fearing vermin. And now he is even in more peril with Obama, a black man in charge.
This type stuff works, it scares people. Scared people close their eyes, yearn to go “bach” to the good old days when rich people signed their paychecks and people of color knew their place. Most importantly scared people are ripe for manipulation and misdirection. FOX knows this, the Koch brothers know this, and Governor Walker knows this. The poor, the migrant, the welfare mom, the union worker, become the target. And it is working. Remember, Joe votes
We all get this stuff in our INBOX; don’t just hit “Delete;” don’t just laughingly share it among your friends. Instead, hit “Reply All” and open your mouth, confront and educate the senders of this stuff. To remain silent makes you a collaborator.