“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Neil Newhouse, a lead Romney pollster, recently told critics.
This is the problem with the GOP today, a political party that has been hijacked by extremists, conservative fundamentalists who have declared war on facts and reason. Call them tea-baggers, Christian Conservatives, Radical Right wingers or whatever else you want – these are people who fail to recognize that the Bible is collection of cultural myths, that while expressing certain moral values (of their time), do not make up political codes that are meant to govern secular states – a separation the forefathers of this nation recognized. These are people that “don’t believe in evolution” as if it is some superstition created by subversive radicals with an agenda. These are people who “don’t believe in climate change”…despite the overwhelming evidence, rising ocean levels, and other indisputable facts of global warming identified by non-partisan scientists and experts desperately trying to sound the alarm bells. These are people who’ve handed their blow horns to blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck – a motley crew who live by a single, tired one-trick pony, blaming all the world’s problems and their own parties flaccid inadequacies on a “liberal media” in collusion with liberal law makers despite the fact that the monolithic vertically integrated media giants that host their carnival acts draw the most amount of viewers amongst news networks.
I don’t doubt that there are some very wise, sober, reasoned, compassionate conservative Republicans – sometimes, based on his track record and past statements, I even suspect that Mitt Romney is amongst them. But sadly he’s handed over his – ahem values – to a group of fringe pick-axe and torch baring logic killers whose only solution to the rapidly evolving winds of change are to fall back on outdated American exceptionalism, a self-obsessed entitlement that pledges prosperity and moral superiority just because. Now more than ever as they face the reality of a shrinking globe, inter-dependent economies and the rise of a morality not based on Judeo-Christian values, they cling desperately to (misplaced) hope that the rest of the world will be deluded into returning to a way we were – a way when women, minorities, immigrants, gays and any “other” were comfortably contained in their confined place.
That time is over. In a single generation (mine) the complexion of this country is radically changing as a second generation of Americans born of immigrants, bred in integrated cities rise through the middle class and solidify their place across every sector of industry – business, law, medicine, arts, sports, entertainment and more. Today we’re not fooled into the need to wear our American pride pinned to our chest as if to prove our patriotism. We are America, the product of it, the fabric of its virtue and ideals woven into our being, our aspirations, and expectations. We recognize all the privileges that come with being an American, but also the dangers that come with inflated tribal flag draped idolatry of America. For what it’s worth, we’re not going back to a time we played our roles, knew our place and stayed in our lanes. And President Obama and his rockstar wife Michelle are our flag bearers, the hope and change – that despite the glib jokes an old foget like Clint Eastwood might stammer through on a low rated stage – we still believe in. It’s become trendy to ask “are we better off than we were four years ago?” Hold on a minute — let me think:
- GM Bailout from Bankruptcy
- Equal Pay for Women
- Leaving Iraq
- Marriage Equality
- ‘Don’t Ask’ repealed
- Healthcare Act
- Stick Market up 70%+
- Bin Laden
The unequivocal answer: yes – considering the cliff President Obama’s predecessor pushed us off of after eight years of unprecedented recklessness – we are a lot better off than we were four years ago. I know the GOP doesn’t like to hear it, treats George W. Bush like Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter – he who shall not be named – and grows frustrated and irritable whenever some of our current economic travails are attributed to him and his gangster regime. But facts – as much as the GOP hates them – are facts and even they know it. It’s why they can hold a convention to nominate their next presidential hopeful without at invoking the name of the last one – or those of any of his inner circle, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Tenet, Rove or Delay for fear of the rotting stench it may leave. The reality is you can’t light a match in a dry forest with tax cuts, fan the flames by launching a war on a false (WMD) premise, and ignite an all-consuming inferno by declaring another war without catastrophic consequences. Annoyed that you think you should be better off after four years of Obama? Be grateful for a minute that you’re not sitting in the middle of an Armageddon considering the hanging precipice of where we very recently were. Get real: you have to fight and claw your way out of the trenches. And even when you do, you don’t escape without bruises, blood, and scars.
Here are more facts: President Obama has work to do and we need to hold him accountable. Gitmo remains a haunting stigma branded to our national identity. Shut it down. Obama’s soft stance on gun control lacks the conviction of his moral integrity. It panders to powerful lobbyists and special interest groups, an insidious malignancy that rots Washington and that Obama has not done enough to excise and tie off. And most of all President Obama must rise above those petty politics of his office and the binary branches of government who cramp his every move and re-invigorate the economy by incentivizing innovation and entrepreneurism and showing faith in people and their dreams the same way we have in him.
We made history four years ago when we elected Barack Obama to be President of the United States and sent him and Michelle to the White House. We’ve just gotten started. We’re not turning our backs on him now. And that’s a fact, my friends, that you sure as hell can bet will dictate this campaign all the way to election day.
Join me for a trip through the absurd (but nonetheless important) world of “election season” in this curated playlist I created for our Youtube channel, The Chopra Well. It includes eight videos (and commentary from me) that cover the scope of the season: from the silly and irreverent to the historic and uplifting. Let me know what you think in the comments!