Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Facing Exinction? Hogwash.

The "WordNet X" dictionary defines the word egotistical as: having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; "an attitude of self-conceited arrogance..."; "so swollen by victory that he was unfit for normal duty..." (among other things).

Conservatives, as a group, have an exaggerated sense of self-importance these days.

Long-Term Memory Loss
Many conservative commentators have been saying (in essence) that democrats must connect with the nation's mainstream or face extinction. I beg to differ (or, in the vernacular, "Hogwash!"). There must not be that much of a disconnect, since the republicans won the presidency by a margin of three measly percent of the popular vote! Yes, they also gained a few extra seats in congress, but fewer seats, I might add, than the democrats have controlled at various times since 1932. Using their ridiculously wishful logic, the same thing (possible extinction) could have been said of the republicans in 1992, 1976 (especially 1976), 1964 (especially 1964), 1944, 1940, 1936 and 1932 (especially 1932). For that matter, the democrats should have become extinct in 1980, 1984 and 1988, when republicans won convincingly -- but they didn't.

I guess shortsighted logic and long-term memory loss are the results when giddy conservatives are "swollen by victory."

History of a Smear Campaign
In 1980, or shortly before, conservative republicans began a campaign of slander against the democrats that soon took on a life of its own and has continued unabated to this day. Somehow, they managed to convince a large portion of the American public that all democrats are closet liberals and that, in turn, to be "liberal" is to be evil. In fact, they implied that all liberals were really communists (not the Soviet kind, but the wimpy, "bleeding-heart" American kind) who were hell bent on imposing their evil socialist, morals-free agenda on the United States. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, it is no longer practical to imply the communist label when referring to liberals, but the residue of that evil is still overtly implied from pulpits and radio studios all over America.

Inexplicably, democrats never fought back against this slander, which only allowed it to become deeply entrenched in the American psyche, especially after the advent of conservative-rant-and-froth-at-the-mouth radio. Democrats, at least those living in conservative areas, have spent two decades feeling intimidated and have frequently remained silent, while conservatives have become more and more convinced of their own infallibility with regard to every opinion they have (we'll see just how flawless they are during these next four years). Even worse, they have been engaged in this campaign of deceit for so many years now that many of them have actually begun to believe their own propaganda, right along with that portion of the electorate that they've actually fooled (or whose beliefs they've only reinforced).

Results of the Smear Campaign
For now (but not forever), thanks to this deceitful propaganda, it is nearly impossible for traditional democrats to be elected in certain portions of this country if their platforms are ever so slightly less conservative than those of their republican colleagues. It is now said, at least by the self-serving conservative media and the ratings-driven mainstream media, that if democrats don't adopt and prominently display their opponents' born-again religion on their own sleeves and believe in exactly the same version of God and exactly the same set of "moral values," then they will be labeled as "liberals" (shiver visibly as you read that word) and thrown into a virtual dungeon with other evil bogeymen, such as communists, socialists and far-left radicals (the latter being the true troublemakers -- a quick note: Radical far-left groups in this country, in their never-ending zeal to rub America's collective noses in their causes -- because two decades of peaceful coexistence just isn't enough for them --, have contributed greatly to the conservative smear tacticians' successful efforts to demonize all democrats).

As you can see by the elections listed above, politics works in cycles. Always has, always will. Keep that fact in mind while you consider the following two reasons that democrats are probably not doomed to extinction just yet: 1.) By far, the largest group of people to vote for Bush and his republican allies in congress in 2004 (according to the media) consists of people over the age of 60. They and their voting tendencies won't be around forever (yes, I know; the baby-boomers will be reaching 60 soon -- and for a long time to come --, but most of them grew up in a somewhat less conservative era). As for the near future (meaning 2008 or 2012), today's seniors may soon be severely disillusioned if the Social Security system has been broken due to neglect or due to ill-advised tampering by Bush and other conservative, free-market ideologues. Also, the negative consequences of that prescription-drug bill may start to hit home in the not-too-distant future. 2.) As I wrote in my first editorial, the republicans, now led by ultra conservatives, have control of the presidency and congress. Keep in mind that they are politicians, and most politicians eventually bungle something or other up. The conservatives now have four years in which to do just that (and they've already proven themselves to be somewhat imperfect in the past two/four years). Excepting the anomalous reelection of the biggest bungler in presidential history in 2004 (other than possibly Ulysses Grant), the voters generally do not like reelecting bunglers.

In Conclusion
Whether there ever was (or is) any merit to the republicans' claim that democrats/liberals are of questionable character, doesn't matter in the end. Such methods of demonizing the other side in a democracy that runs predominantly on a two-party system is extremely counterproductive to the efficient workings of democracy. When one side succeeds in demonizing the other side to the extent that conservatives have demonized all democrats, then democracy is in jeopardy; and the conservative media, drunk with self-righteous glee, refuses to see it. We are now, thanks to those conservative propagandists, much closer to a one-party system than was ever the case when democrats and republicans received equal respect in every state in this nation.

Such are the opinions of an independent voter.
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