Saturday, September 13, 2008

You can put lipstick on a liar...

I'm sure that all of you reading this have probably heard numerous times about the statement that Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda for Hitler's National Socialists, made about telling lies. To review, he averred that " If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Now, I don't begin to morally equate Sarah Palin or the folks running John McCain's campaign with Hitler or the Nazi party, but it seems like some of them are well-versed on Joe Goebbels' philosophies. The most glaring case in point is the oft-repeated and unwavering assertion that Sarah Palin took the high ground against earmarks and pork barrel spending by defiantly telling the federal government that she didn't want their dirty money for the famous "Bridge to Nowhere". I'd never even heard of this bridge before Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, but she and McCain and the G.O.P. have been putting this thing up in lights since then. It's as if this bridge thing has become a signature characteristic of Sarah's, and it's supposed to demonstrate to us all her credentials as a reformer and maverick against the Old Boys Club and Government As Usual. I won't be surprised if they starting writing it across the sky in letters hundreds of feet tall.

What baffles me is the fact that they keep trotting this story out when it has been demonstrated from Day One of the McCain/Palin ticket that the campaign's official version of the story is a lie, or at the very least a blatant effort to distort the facts and mislead those who hear about it. On the radio, on the television, and in print, I keep hearing and reading what really happened. In a nutshell, Sarah was all about getting a bucket full of federal dollars and building this bridge in Alaska until she found out that the feds were going to make Alaska go Dutch on the project, and her support was suddenly a negative thing. At that point, she did the politically expedient thing and declared that she was against waste and excess, and Alaska never wanted that bridge anyway. According to published accounts, first she was for something, and then she was against it. Why does that sound familiar? Oh, yeah! That's the kind of behavior that Republicans were calling "waffling" at the time of the last presidential election. And weren't they saying something about how we shouldn't have as a national leader someone who waffles and can't make a decision and hang onto it like grim death? But I'm getting off on a tangent, and this waffling thing isn't what I'm aggravated about. What I'm aggravated about is that Palin and the Republicans running the McCain campaign are insisting on telling a skewed version of the story. They are ignoring the truth and the fact that some are even calling them liars. Instead, they seem to be banking on the hope that Joe Goebbels had the inside track on human nature, and, if they tell the same lie enough times, everyone will believe it is the truth...or at least give up on fighting it.

To be honest, I don't care that much that Sarah Palin was looking to gouge the government for a bunch of money. Elected officials do it all time. That doesn't excuse it, but it doesn't make Sarah Palin any worse that most representatives in the higher levels of government. I do care that she is distorting the facts to make herself appear to be better or different, though. And I do care that the McCain/Palin campaign thinks we're too stupid to figure out the truth. Call me self-centered, but I feel it's insulting to me personally. One shouldn't expect to get away with bullshit like that in the Age of Information.

In addition to what Goebbels said, I read another quote the other day that I think describes this whole thing to a 'T'. Jacques Ellus once said that “(Propaganda) proceeds by psychological manipulations, character modifications, by creation of stereotypes useful when the time comes - The two great routes that this sub-propaganda takes are the conditioned reflex and the myth”. The Republicans are make a huge deal of the Bridge to Nowhere issue, and, in my opinion, they are making every effort to perpetuate a myth about it. And one man's myth-building is another man's lying.

To put a different spin on recently reborn piece of homegrown wisdom...You can put lipstick on a liar, but she's still a liar.

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