Sunday, May 04, 2008

Great American Hypocrites

Glenn Greenwald's latest book "Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics" will not be new to readers of Greenwald's superb blog on Salon. It deals with his familiar issue of the media and their obsession with petty personality based attacks to obscure issues that are exploited by Republicans to win elections. The difference is really more in format than anything else. Here, Greenwald has hundreds of paqes to make his argument, summarizing a much longer time period to illustrate the Republicans tactics and the media's willingness to go along. This comprehensive takedown of the manly Republicans is a much read for everyone, but especially those who want change. For until you can understand the reason behind a problem, it is hard to find a solution. And yes, the Republicans of today with their loyalty oaths and such are the problem.

In this impressive takedown of Republican myth-making, Greenwald begins by taking apart Republican hero John Wayne, from whom all Republican warriors are based on (Reagan, Bush, McCain). The hypcrisy in Wayne's life couldn't be a better representation. While seen as the strong manly warrior (and war hero) from his movies, Wayne was the exact opposite. He avoided the draft during WWII, at a time when every other Hollywood star served during the most important war ever. He then used this advantage to make a shitload of money, play acting his manliness and warrior mentality to compensate for avoiding his duty. It is the same mentality that existed with Reagan and Bush, whom play act the warrior when they did all they the opposite when they had a choice.

But the hypocrisy doesn't end there. These manly play-acting warriors then accuse Democrats that actually served in combat, earning praise, medals, etc, as weak and wimps. Yet the media dutifully repeats these threats as it fits into their narrative. Hell, the story is already written.

The same continues with the "value voters". Republicans have perpetuated this myth that they are the ones with higher moral standards, whether it's the liberals and their San Francisco values (get it, liberals are gay!) or family values or compassionate conservatism. At the same time these Republican politicians are on their third marriages, often leaving an earlier wife in a truly despicable manner (see - Gringrich, Newt and McCain, John). But once married Democrats are derided by Republicans and the media as not caring about values or morals while thrice married Republicans are just assumed to care about "values".

And once again, thrice married and alcoholic John Wayne, who also carried on numerous affairs, is the face of manly conservative values who will stand up for traditional family values. Guess just as long as he doesn't have to be held to the standards he demanded of others. For Wayne was an outspoken conservative for "values" while doing everything the opposite of those values he so desperately wanted everyone else to have.

It would be bad enough if these myths were true and they were the focal point of our political discourse. The fact that they are the opposite of reality, yet get disseminated by our "liberal" media is problematic. For when evaluating issues, the American public overwhelmingly supports Democratic proposals. By obscuring the issues or even ignoring them for these petty personality based arguments, the media is enabling the Republicans to win elections and hence institute policies the majority of Americans disagree. It truly is startling and continues mainly unabated. One just needs to look at Obama vs McCain. Obama needs to account for Rev Wright and Ayers and other people who are not him. McCain cries that the DNC is being unfair when they play his own words in an ad. His own f$ckin' words are suddenly out of bounds, yet anyone Obama passed on the street needs to be repudiated if they did anything the media disagrees with. And then the flag label. Both McCain and Obama do not wear then, but guess who is the only candidate to get questioned? Because by being a Republican, the media already assumes, or knows, the patriotism of McCain.

Until we start confronting these myths and these strategies employed by the Republicans, we are doomed to continue our downward spiral into neoconservative hell. That is why this book is so important. It tells us clearly with sound research how we got where we are and what is coming in this upcoming election. The question now, is what do we do in the short term to combat this? I think there are plenty of great strategies for a long term Democratic Party that represents progressive ideals. The short term is somewhat lacking, giving the barriers and infrastructure created by conservatives over the last 30 years. However, it is imperative to end the neocon reign of terror before our country sinks too far down the abyss. And one place that needs to be confronted is the media. I'm gonna give some thought to what can be done to confront this in a subsequent post. However, I can not stress the significance of Greenwald's "Great American Hypocrites". He is truly one of the best we have currently and eagerly anticipate reading him every morning.


politics media liberal conservative Democrat Republican Glenn Greenwald Great American Hypocrites Salon John Wayne


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