Fresh back from an exhausting trip east (to speak at MIT and IBM about the future of information technologies), I have only time to toss in a little last-minute "ostrich bait."
I do hope to get in one last philosophical musing before the American People -- led by a new and potent and truly impressive generation -- decide to reclaim the nation and resume America's mission as leader of the Enlightenment.
For now, however, let me reiterate one point that occurred to me recently -- that obstinate ostriches now seem reduced to relating scary anecdotes or "Just-So Stories."
Sure, some of the stories -- if proved -- might be worrisome... if there were a scintilla of any reason to believe them. From "he's a muslim" to "socialist" to anything your paranoid little heart chooses to cling to, in order to rationalize justifying the outrageously unjustifiable. But, since the neoconservative/fundie scary story machine has been at it since 1994 without ever proving a single one, the rest of us can be forgiven for reacting with a yawn, and a look of utter pity in our eyes.
Meanwhile, the other side -- it happens to be the democrats -- has every conceivable statistic... from fiscal responsibility to small business startups to performance of the stock market to GDP to military readiness to worldwide willingness to accept American leadership... any conceivable measure of national health including every conceivable measurement that reflects sane, old-fashioned conservative values, comes down in favor of the democrats.
If you exclude Eisenhower and two of Reagan's eight years, there would be no statistical basis for ever trusting the GOP with anything more powerful than a burnt match, ever!
So, what do you say to obstinate aunts and uncles? Those cousins who aren't fundies or nation-raping kleptos, and yet somehow cling to a loyalty that is based entirely on illusions, and no facts at all? After all the energy and thought I have poured into "ostrich arguments," I am left to fall back upon my main profession. Clearly, these folks are the kind who like fantasy stories.
I hope President Obama will somehow find a way to convert them to realistic, pragmatic and rational science fiction.
Russ Daggatt offers his own version of ostrich bait at:
Forget the tax rates; did you even HAVE any capital gains?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up from 3253 to 10,587 under Clinton (325%). As of yesterday’s close, it has gone DOWN to 8175 under Bush (-22.8%).
The S&P 500 went up from 447 to 1342 under Clinton (300%). It has gone DOWN to 848 under Bush (-36.8%).
The NASDAQ went up from 700 to 2770 under Clinton (395%). It has gone DOWN to 1505 under Bush (-46.7%)
Let’s take the broadest measure of the market, the S&P 500: Would you rather pay a 20% tax on a gain of 300% or enjoy the benefit of a lower 15% tax rate on a … LOSS of 46%?
Any genuine fiscal conservative who calls Obama a socialist - knowing that his top economic advisors are Warren Buffett and Paul Volcker - would have to be a a completely hypocritical loon... someone who would prefer the discredited Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan.
(Though in an ultimate irony, even Greenspan vastly preferred Clinton over Bush.)
If your friend is a genuine right-wing hawk, but still listening, skim down to where Daggatt quotes a right-wing hawk - Kenneth Adelman - who is unrepentant in countless ways, but is still voting for Obama simpy because Obama is steady and calm and McCain gives Adelman the creeping heebie jeebies.
Oh and Dave McCabe offers this chart re what the Blue States may have to resent:
In fact, what I have found most amazing is the look on some ostriches' -- and especially the non-ostrich True Righters' -- faces when they realize how ANGRY blue americans are, right now. They blink in surprise, as if we have somehow usurped their God-given license to wallow in selfrighteous indignation and culture war, amazed that our habitual, long-suffering patience and smarty-pants intellectual attempts to use reason have given way to a state of barely-contained rage. A fury that is fundamentally-based upon a patriotism that used to be far more restrained and genteel than theirs, and superfically less fervid -- till now -- but that is based far more deeply upon a love of what America really stands for...
...than the insipid, frenetically flag-waving, dionysian-masturbatory kind of "patriotism" evinced by good-old-boys who -- if you scratch the surface -- would much rather the South had won the Civil War and who would (if they ever got their hands on a sci fi time machine) leap back in an instant to provide Claymore mines and AK47s to Nathan Bedford Forest.
The kind who will never give President Obama -- the freely and lawfully elected chief executive of their nation -- the benefit of the doubt, or the grudging cooperation that democrats almost always gave Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. The kind who will immediately fly into paranoid rumor-suckling and even McVeigh-admiring, just because the innings have changed and they are too immature to let the other team have its at-bat or a chance to clean up the mess without undue obstruction or even outright rebellion. (Exactly the way the South responded, when Abraham Lincoln was elected.)
But no... I will hope for the best. We can pray that God grants Barack Obama eloquence and skill sufficient to soothe away culture war and restore to American hearts a pragmatic, modernist, future-oriented and confident willingness to negotiate solutions to problems.
And... well... when the GOP has its own civil war, we can root for the sane wing and wish them well. Maybe...
But let's keep our options open. And meanwhile? Proceed to tally what companies advertise on Fox and Limbaugh and start making clear that with which we'll no longer put. We have a right to patronize companies that do not subsidize monsters.
And if (God forbid) cheating prospers on Tuesday. Then dust off great grandpa's blue uniform.
The world cares deeply about America and wants us back.
We won't let them down.