Thursday 6 September 2012

Election 2012: Damn the truth. Hell, what is the truth?

During the Republican Convention, there were numerous complaints about speeches and ads which contained inaccuracies or even outright lies. The media quoted Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster, as saying, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." What? That is a stunning admission but it is also an indication of where the political process has gotten to. As I wrote elsewhere "Politics: It's not about doing the right thing, it's about winning.". Stretching the truth? Telling a little white lie? We all do it whether consciously or unconsciously and what the heck? If you get elected to the highest office in the land, that's a good thing, right? The ends justify the means. Right? Right!?!

machiavellian (Merriam-Webster):
suggesting the principles of conduct laid down by Machiavelli; specifically: marked by cunning, duplicity, or bad faith

We all know the word with a negative connotation. Somebody who is machiavellian is not a nice person and would stab you in the back just soon as look at you. They will stop at nothing to get ahead, to climb to the top.

But coming back to the phrase "the ends justify the means", what if you thought "the ends" represented the best for everyone? The best situation, the best economy, the best morality, the best society and you can see this better than the rest of the Great Unwashed Masses who have no great vision or at least don't have your great vision. Would your utopian view of the future give good reason to lie, cheat, and steal to make sure that utopia was in fact realised? It's a utopia for God's sake! Who the hell doesn't want a utopia?

But how the heck do you figure out who's right and who's wrong? How do you know what's the truth and what's a lie? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? You may think it's simple because, well, you know your party and you've already decided to vote for them on November 6. But is it that simple? After all does a fish know that it's living in a fish bowl?

Here's an extreme example. On November 18, 1978, Jim Jones, founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, convinced people to participate in a mass suicide which resulted in the death of 912 people. We all know now that Jones was nuts but at the time, hundreds of people followed Jones's directions. Were they just as deluded as Jones? Were they fooled? Did they feel their backs were up against a wall and they had no choice to go ahead with the plan?

You may think referencing such a horrific event bears no relation to the up-coming election but I would ask you how you know that your choice is the correct one. How do you know that what your chosen leader is telling you is true? How do you know that what your leader is promising is even feasible? "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage" sounds great but should I know if my leader is promising me the moon when the moon is not available for delivery to my doorstep?

If it was that easy, it would be done by now
Seems pretty obvious, right? However we collectively get ticked with the current leader, vote him out of office with the expectation that the next guy is going to be able to do what the previous guy couldn't do. But is it that easy? Does anybody deliberately start off with the plan to fail? The next guy can say anything he wants, even promise the moon, but how far down the road are we collectively going to go before we realise the guy can't deliver the moon?

The right keeps saying that Barack Obama is a terrible president. Is he? Seriously? It seems like such a pat answer. George Bush finished his 2nd term and the people (well, some of them) went with Obama. Four years later those people (well, some of them) are dissatisfied with Obama because all their dreams haven't come true so now they want to vote for Romney. In another four years what? Still no chicken in the pot so vote for somebody else?

The Republicans
"We believe in America." During the party's convention, I read over its platform, a 62 page document detailing their position on everything from women's rights (they don't have any) to getting rid of Obamacare (buy your own G.D. insurance; this ain't socialism). (see my blog: The 2012 Republican Platform: Are ya scared yet?) I would personally sum up the platform as evidence the far right, no the extreme right has completely hi-jacked the Conservative party. This isn't conservatism; this is extremism.

The Democrats
"Moving America Forward." This week it's the convention of the other Grand Old Party and I have just now downloaded their 32 page document to find out just what horrible things Mr. Obama has in store for his Muslim socialist vision of the future. I will be penning my take of the other side of the great political divide shortly.

The Truth
In my blog "Obamacare: Congratulations on doing the right thing, America!", I discussed the legislation being passed and what this meant for the more that 40 million Americans who are currently without any health insurance.

A report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies states: "Lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States."
-Wikipedia: Uninsured in the United States: Consequences

Just imagine. People do not have any health coverage because they can't afford it. Statistically, out of that group of more than 40 million uninsured, eighteen thousand die from lack of proper treatment or timely treatment. Note that the source of this information is not some fly by night back alley source; it's the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies for God's sake. When I published this, a commentator wrote to me and said he didn't believe it; it was all just a bunch of liberal B.S. What!?! Just liberal B.S.? Imagine the callousness of the commentator. Imagine their lack of sympathy or empathy. I am sure this would be one of those persons who equate helping out your neighbour or being charitable to your fellow man as socialism.

Final Word
On November 6, 2012, the American people will be going to the polls to elect the next president of the United States. Oops, bad wording, I meant the next or same president of the United States. I have my own preference but will I be vindicated over the next four years? Just like the next person, I've drank the Kool-Aid.


my blog: Politics: It's not about doing the right thing, it's about winning.
I recently watched the six-episode mini-series called Political Animals about Washington politics. Sigourney Weaver stars as Elaine Barrish the current Secretary of State who is also a divorced former First Lady. ... At one point, in a scene between Elaine Barrish and Paul Garcetti, the current president who appointed her to her position, Garcetti says that he is going to do something not because it politically advantageous but because it's the right thing to do. In light of recent events in the real world as the run-up to the November election in the United States, I have to ask myself if anyone can do something, anything at all because it's the "right thing" to do. Political expediency seems to be more the thing to consider than what's right or wrong.

The Atlantic - Aug 28/2012
'We're Not Going to Let Our Campaign Be Dictated by Fact-Checkers' by James Bennet
What happens if the press takes a stand on the truth -- and no one cares?

Wikipedia: Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence.

Wikipedia: Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian historian, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance.
Machiavelli’s best-known book, "Il Principe," contains a number of maxims concerning politics... Scholars often note that Machiavelli glorifies instrumentality in statebuilding - an approach embodied by the saying that "the ends justify the means." Violence may be necessary for the successful transfer of power and introduction of new legal institutions. Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to coerce resistant populations, and to purge previous rulers who will inevitably attempt to regain their power. Machiavelli has become infamous for this political advice, ensuring that he would be remembered in history as an adjective, "Machiavellian."

Wikipedia: The Prince
The Prince (Italian: Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (About Principalities). But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death.

Google Answers: The Great Unwashed Masses
The origin of the "Great Unwashed Masses," or simply the "Great Unwashed," has an interesting history.

Herbet Hoover: A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage
The link between Hoover and the phrase "a chicken in every pot" can be traced to a paid advertisement which apparently originated with the Republican National Committee, who inserted it into a number of newspapers during the 1928 campaign. The ad described in detail how the Republican administrations of Harding and Coolidge had "reduced hours and increased earning capacity, silenced discontent, put the proverbial 'chicken in every pot.' And a car in every backyard, to boot." The ad concluded that a vote for Hoover would be a vote for continued prosperity.

Hoover never promised "a chicken in every pot."

Wikipedia: Jim Jones: Deaths in Jonestown
Jones and several members argued that the group should commit "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid (not Kool-Aid despite the popular phrase).


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