This campaign season can be summed up by one interview on conservative talk radio last August. It was with Iowa Straw Poll-sweeper Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, in which she proclaimed: “What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.”
Yes, Bachmann warned us of a foreign boogieman rising … one that’s been dead for over 20 years.
But warning of a zombie nation feasting on the metaphorical brains of the U.S. is consistent with a party now completely untethered from basic American history, science or any other evidence-based practice: The GOP is now a party standing proudly on a pro-fiction platform.
Yes, in their party, as an aide to Senator Jon Kyl put it last year, whatever they say is “not intended to be a factual statement” but to illustrate a point.
For example, this week Mitt Romney brought a Michigan tea party audience to tears recalling the 50th anniversary of the American automobile event he attended as a child … even though it took place months before he was born.
Former Senator Rick Santorum asserts public schools are an “anachronism” of the industrialized era as the reason they should be privatized. He said at the CNN debate last week: “Not only do I believe the federal government should get out of the education business, I think the state government should start to get out of the education business and put it back to the local and into the community.” Just when millions of Americans have lost their homes comes a candidate in favor of home schooling.
Public schools are arguably what made us a country. The colonies had one of the highest literacy rates in the world at the time. In James D. Hart’s “The Popular Book: A History of America’s Literary Taste” published in 1950, he notes that in 1650 New England there were laws requiring “reading and writing schools.” Education was thought to thwart Satan at that time (note to Santorum there). Hart goes on to include a popular ditty of the era: “From public schools shall general knowledge flow, For ‘tis the people’s sacred right to know.”
Also, the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was (gasp) publically educated.
Santorum, as a pro-fiction candidate, also dismisses colleges as “indoctrination mills.” One man’s indoctrination is another man’s accreditation to work in the sciences.
The four candidates still vying for the nomination are pro-fiction to the core: Somehow the President who okayed the assassination of Osama bin Laden, sent drone attacks into Libya and kept Gitmo open is an apologetic pansy – soft on our enemies. Obama has deported more illegal immigrants and spent more money protecting the border than any of his predecessors – but he’s ignoring the issue of illegal immigration. Romney keeps on promising if elected he’ll make the military so powerful no other country would dare attack us even though we have the biggest military in the world. Gingrich who says if given any power he’ll send U.S. Marshalls to compel radical judges to explain their rulings, deems “the pill” to be the epitome of radical government overreach. Taxes? Too high even though they’re historically low (especially during war time). Tax cuts? A pay-for-themselves panacea even though the Bush Tax Cuts didn’t pan out.
Challenge their narrative and brace for the ad hominem attacks. You only believe this because you’re at least one of the following: liberal, socialist, unemployed, commie sympathizer, elite, dupe, European, journalist, gun hater, Muslim, Obama-bot, or (my favorite from my inbox) silly little girl.
Because in fiction you must create an enemy or there’s no story.
The pro-fiction party will tell you their ideas will lower gas prices, cut the deficit, end poverty, cut the size of government and make everybody super free by allowing the states to decide which rights to take away.
No matter how completely impossible – no matter how divorced from evidence or precedence – the GOP will continue to make claims not to be factual – but just to illustrate a point. Possibly that you should vote for them.
The Soviet Union must be watching this race right now and just laughing their heads off.