Can't bear the thought of four more years of King George?
Some of us have not recovered from Nov. 3. That is because that day is likely to last for another four years. The endless diagnosis of what happened and how it happened is also likely to last as long. Four more years of King George are upon us.
The most intriguing aspect of all the interpretations and all the surveys and exit polls is that Americans elected one of the most divisive figures in the country and indeed the world, ostensibly because of “moral values.” A whopping 22 percent of voters preferred this dud over the other one. These moral values have a lot to do with the issues of guns, gays and god. Conservative Middle America, made up of NASCAR drivers and regular church goers, seems concerned about its safety and protection. This population does not appreciate gays wanting to be married, let alone married in front of everybody. And, for them, the country made a faith-based move and elected a guy who is religious and wears his god on his sleeve as much as he worships Jesus as the greatest philosophers.
There is nothing wrong with this picture. The Christian right wants to create the world in its likeness. After all, that is the gift their religion gives them and in a free country, they should be entitled to it.
The problem is the kind of values they did not choose. They did not choose honesty, integrity or an approach that values the values of the others as well. They seem to have elected someone who is willing to send everyone else who fights in the name of their religion to death. The voting public did not choose healthcare reform. They did not choose stem cell research. Instead they pushed forward rhetoric and a game plan that promises to wipe out dissent and tolerance.
Since the election there have been quite a few articles, speculations and arguments about how and if Americans really voted for moral values. It is clear that they also voted for the slickest and the dirtiest of campaign tactics. They voted for something nebulous like national security by electing someone who has made the world unsafe and put Americans at risk all over the world. And yet, everyone is clamoring that moral values won.
May be they did.
As Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has found out, it is impossible to even second guess anyone in power. He merely muttered some simple statements that suggested that he would not push or vote for candidates for the Supreme Court that would challenge established precedents out of hand, such as civil rights or abortion. He wrought the wrath of the guards of the moral values. He was whipped in public, on talk shows, in the halls of Congress and god knows in some unseen places. Now Arlen has come home. He has agreed to give up the treasured role of the Senate that respected vestige of democracy and said that he would support any nominee unloaded on him by the White House.
This talk of moral values would be fun if it were not accompanied by the emerging apparatus of total and absolute control. Already, the country is divided into red and blue states. And those who wear blue have a lot to pay for.
For over three weeks since the election, we have seen how the Right moves forces to stifle dissent or for that matter, anything that sounds slightly different from their view of the world. There is a huge cry about controlling Black athletes. If you listen closely, the implication is that we need to clean the Black culture itself because those who come to basketball court are violent because their culture is so.
A record fine had been levied against Viacom. The most recent New York Times/CBS polls say that Americans are worried about the sex and violence coming from Hollywood. Every day, the talk radio circuit, which is effectively dominated by the Right, whips anyone they think is not on their side and does not subscribe to their values. One hears lashings on television and radio against people who are secular, who are about to face the same destiny as that poisonous term,” liberal”.
It is a sin to be secular and one cannot even make fun of those who believe in god and follow the faith. As we write this, radio reports are replete with accounts from around the country about creationism and evolution. Before we are through with these four years, the godless secular people who believe in rationality will have to choose between constant public beratings and permanent silence that brings peace.
The red states may have won, but the blue states have really lost. Even if the election was not won on so-called moral values, you have to accept that wisdom because to challenge it is to invite the wrath of the right. The same machinery the Right has built so effectively to win elections is also governing the country.
The hypocrisy of the loud-mouthed machine that can destroy anything that is dissenting or different is monumental to say the least. For the next four years, we are going to get lessons in morality and values from the likes of William-the gambling- Bennett, Bill-the masturbating-O’Reilly and Rush-the druggie-Limbaugh. What kind of cruelty does this life bring!
As Frank Rich has put it wonderfully in the New York Times, the sleaziest of all the networks is Fox and Rupert Murdock is laughing all the way to the bank. And moral values or not, his network is all set to squeeze the sleaze over the next four years and make millions. Those who scream at Hollywood want nothing but sleaze oozing out of their screens, at home and in theaters. What else makes money in the market! Quality has left Hollywood long time ago, regardless of blue or red colors in the markets.
Wasn’t there something here in this land that the world looked up to? The atrocities of this war that come to light only accidentally show the pretentious arrogance of moral values. The president actually said in his first debate that all life is important except that of the enemy. The world is now clearly divided between us and the enemies. That is a moral value of clarity, we suppose.
It would be a dream to imagine this nightmare would be over sometime soon. But the divisions are taking hold with each salvo fired in the name of what they think are moral values. With 4-5 networks screaming at you 24 hours a day and the increasing spread, power and the pitch of talk radio, we have the moral values of the “new media.” We witnessed a successful silencing of dissent in the last century and whether one is ready or not, that Dark Age may be upon us unless we re-discover the real values that made this country take hold. Without that, it is dark abyss and more of it.