Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In consideration of the McPalin mob

A recent spate of McCain fans behaving badly evokes sympathy on my part, because they are among those who have paid the highest price for the country's Republicanism of recent years. The great transfer of wealth from public budgets to private bank accounts under the guise of "less government" has pushed many working Americans into varying degrees of indebtedness, in order that they might have access to necessities like food, housing, transportation and fuel -- or what business commentators, in the wake of financial implosion, now like to call "living beyond your means." Add to this the export of industrial sector jobs which propped up the "blue-collar middle class" and drop child or two in the old Mesopotamian grist mill, and the full contours of rural, white agony are thrown into sharper relief.

So the anger is real and justified. The targets are merely the scoundrels-du-jour of the Republican Party mercenary media branch; the kind of local talk radio hosts who make their living by delivering rural audiences to business advertisers, or FOX News programmers who do the same at a national level. It's worth remembering that John McCain was the scoundrel that incurred the wrath of his party and its conservative base until it became clear he was the last man standing in line for the presidency. Four years ago it was gay marriage and "the French"; now it is ACORN and Bill Ayers, and, of course, Barack Obama. The villains change daily. But they aren't the inventions of John McCain or rural communities.

Should distressed populations know better than to trust the people who seek them out, affirm their anger, and identify the culprits as liberal elites? Should they fact check Rush Limbaugh's sources after working three part-time jobs in one day? Naturally, they should; the reality is, they won't anymore than you or I will fact check everything we hear on CNN or read in the New York Times after working all day. And we have those fuckers to thank for Iraq, among other jaw-dropping lapses of journalism. So the job of countering fiction with fact is left open to us.

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