Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: The summer of magical thinking

Five years ago, in July 2010, I wrote a commentary on the political discourse of that summer. Reading it today, I realize that the old adage that "the more things change, the more they remain the same" was never more true. Here's that post from July 14, 2010.

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The summer of magical thinking

There are certain groups in our country who seem to honestly believe that if they say a thing is true, no matter how outlandish it is, that makes it true. That, I believe, is clear proof of a faith in magical thinking that bedevils our national discourse this summer. You might also think of it as the "Tinkerbell philosophy." If I close my eyes and believe real hard and clap just as loud as I can, then I can make it true.

Thus we have highly placed members of the Republican Party claiming with a straight face that reducing taxes for the richest people in the country will not increase the nation's deficit and that it will stimulate the economy. They make these statements in spite of the fact that all empirical evidence points to the conclusion that any tax reductions received by these people go straight into their own savings. They have no effect on the economy at large - except to depress it by increasing the deficit. Furthermore, it is self-evident to anyone who is not a complete idiot that if you reduce a country's income, while continuing to spend at the same rate, you will increase the deficit. But Republicans still insist that isn't so and that is the philosophy they will run on this year.

Then we have the case of the tea partiers. Their rallies are full of signs with racist innuendo and sometimes unmistakable racist expletives. Their ranks are virtually 100% white. Many of the groups that are their strongest supporters, both financially and with personnel, are outright racist groups - groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor to the notorious White Citizens Councils of the '60s and '70s. And yet they reject any implication that they are in any way racist. This week, when the NAACP passed a resolution calling on them to repudiate racism and the racists in their organization, this is what one of their leaders, Mark Williams of the Tea Party Express, had to say about that:

You’re dealing with people who are professional race baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history.


No, no, nothing racist or historically incorrect in that statement. Just squint your eyes and believe as hard as you can and clap those little white hands and it will all be true.

Like I said, magical thinking. But it is very likely that both the Republicans and their cohorts, the tea partiers, will get away with it because there are not enough journalists in this country who are willing to call them out on this utter stupidity. I think it's going to be another long, hot summer of lies.
   

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