They consider themselves great American patriots. They love this country just as much as you and I do. Their vision of how it should be is different than ours - their rationale and their reasons are different than ours - but they think that they are doing the right thing. In fact, they so think that they are doing the right thing, that even if it involves lying to achieve their ends, that the ends justifies the means...
Two kinds of cons rant, September 11 2006
What we have to understand, and this was, I think, probably the big carry home message from my book signing over at Vox Pop over the weekend in New York, and, you know, when you're in a room with people, and looking at their faces, and you can see it when they get this "Oh my God, I never realized", that look on their face, you know? And I've been saying this on the air for years, but I don't think I say it enough. What you have to understand is that these people really and truly, and by these people I'm talking about Cheney and Bush and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, all these right wing ideologues, they actually believe they are doing the best thing for America.
They consider themselves great American patriots. They love this country just as much as you and I do. Their vision of how it should be is different than ours - their rationale and their reasons are different than ours - but they think that they are doing the right thing. In fact, they so think that they are doing the right thing, that even if it involves lying to achieve their ends, that the ends justifies the means. And that as long as we make cartoon characters out of them, as long as we vilify them, as long as we say, "oh, it's just a them", you know, whether, and you know, I'm guilty of this from time to time, too. I mean, particularly I do it with people who live do, you know, dividends, you know, it's "sitting on your butt by the pool waiting for the dividends". Well, there are a lot of people who are decent people who live on dividends.
But the bottom line is, as long as we simply turn these people into cartoon characters and vilify them and fail to actually understand them, take them seriously, and frankly give them some respect we will never be able to do a decent job of actually challenging their ideas and having the kind of debate and dialog that the United States desperately needs and that democracy desperately needs in order for it to go forward and that will cause the American people to understand what they're really thinking, what we're really thinking. Let's get it out of the sound bites and the clichés and the straw men and talk about what's really going on here and we can't do that if we're just sitting around calling each other names. Doesn't work.
Let me just lay this right out. There's two kinds of cons that we're dealing with, here. We have the opportunist cons; you've got the people who are just like taking advantage of whatever they can to make as much money as they can or get as much power as they can, who are, you know, sick and twisted, mentally ill and doing extraordinary damage to this country. And, frankly, I would put at the top of that list, right now, tragically certainly Dick Cheney and George W. Bush and many in their corporate support group. But then you've got the guys who made it all possible for these guys. And Karl Rove, I'd toss him in that category as well.
But then you've got the guys who made it possible for all these guys; who cheered them on. Who said, "Now here's what you've got to do. If we can take Iraq as a tabula rasa - as a blank slate - and we could just rewrite the constitution to make everything new and everything work and we can figure all this stuff out. Let's just, you know, rewrite the constitution and go with a 15% flat tax and corporations can do anything they want. Here in the United States only a maximum 15% tax for people who earn their livings from dividend income, and let's do tax cuts even though it's going to throw the country four or five extra trillion dollars in debt and, you know, etc., etc., etc." The enablers, they are true believers. You know, they've read too much Ayn Rand. They believe this stuff. And I agree with our last caller, it's entirely appropriate to call the thieves the thieves, and to call the people who are stealing from us, and the killers. I am horrified by the fact that George W. Bush delighted in being the governor who killed more people, executed more people as governor than any other governor in the history of the United States. That over 100,000 people have died in Iraq and he seems not to consider it, that the whole idea of, oh, just a little collateral damage in Lebanon, you know, no big deal to Condoleezza Rice. I am horrified by that.
And yes, I think those folks are sick and twisted, but the vast majority of the so-called conservatives in the United States are, actually of the real old-fashioned conservatives in the United States are looking for a society that is not unstable, a society that is not ? on people. A society that is safe and secure, where the future's predictable, and where we're never again going to have, you know, the Symbionese Liberation Army, we're never again going to have African Americans in the streets saying, "Hey, wait a minute, we want our rights", where we're never again going to have women standing up saying, "We want reproductive rights and equal rights in the workplace", never again going to have students standing up saying, "We're not going to go to your stinking wars". They want an America that is like Europe in the Victorian era. That's the conservative model, the true conservative model; classes and orders, a caste system in the United States - granted, a meritocracy - but a caste system. They want to do away with social mobility; it's why they want to de-fund education. They want to make it so that anybody who is not born of wealth actually manages to make it to college, that they're an indentured servant for at least the first 10 years of their lives thereafter.
There's a reason for that. And the reason is that they think that produces a more stable America. And until we start talking about the reasons, and not just the effect, not just the evil and damage that it's doing, but the reasons why they are doing it, we're not going to have the kind of debate and discussion in this country that is going to allow us to undo it. See, back in the 40s and 50s, everybody understood this. Franklin Roosevelt came right out and said, you know, we've got to take these people on. They claim that we're trying to bring down America, bring down the institutions of America and, you know, we're not. We're going after their power. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt just laid it right flat out back in 1936, July 27th of 1936 when he accepted his second nomination for president of the United States in Philadelphia. And he said, you know, "Out of these new orders, these new times, new use of corporations, have created conditions that the founders never dreamed of". And he lays it out very straight, and he says, "And new economic royalists have emerged from this. And they're reaching out and thirsting for control of government itself". clip:
These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.
You see, as much as things go around, they go around. I mean, we're right back there again, Roosevelt saying. And again, they're wrapping themselves in the flag and the constitution. clip:
In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution.
Again, it's the same playbook.
But in their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.
And that's why it's so important that we have groups like the ACLU out their speaking out and saying, "No, this is what the flag and constitution, it stands for freedom, for liberty, for the freedom of speech, for no more of these free speech zones, for no more rigged elections, for no more of this stuff". Time to take back America. And it's only going to happen if we get politically active.
Remember my friends, democracy, activism begin with you. Tag, you're it.