When Nobody Believes Anything

What happens when desperate voters stop believing anybody?

For at least the past two years, the 2012 election has been forecast to be the dirtiest in living memory.  We've been promised an orgy of mudslinging, ad hominem personal attacks, and outright lies.

Thus far, these predictions seem to be spot on.  Had we ever seen TV ads showing a political opponent literally throwing Grandma off a cliff?  What other election would have featured a TV spot showing a cartoonized black candidate punching a white woman, elderly people, and families, and then mugging them?  How about that ad that blamed Mitt Romney for the cancer death of an employee's wife, years after he'd been laid off which was years after Romney had left Bain Capital?

Even the far-left-funded "fact" checkers had to admit that last one "strains the facts to the breaking point."  Regardless of decades of incompetent leftist public school indoctrination, we're pretty confident that the American people still have the ability to detect extreme bullcrap when they see it splashed all over their TV screens.

There's the problem: Ads from the Obama team are demonstrable lies, transparent to even a moment's elementary thought.  Ads from the Republican side, meanwhile, are reported as lies even when they're not.  By definition, Obama has in fact gutted the work requirement of Clinton's welfare reform, no matter what the MSM claims.  Not so many voters will be able to figure this out on their own.

The result: As far as ordinary Americans can tell, both sides are lying through their teeth.  As polls have shown for well over a decade, most Americans consider the mainstream media to be pathological liars as well.

No Truth in the News

Thomas Jefferson said, "Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government."  Thanks to the Internet, it's now possible for almost anyone to become well-informed if they choose to spend the time necessary to become so.  Most people can't, or don't, and they know it.

So what happens to a democracy when most people aren't well informed, are fully aware of that, and don't believe they can trust anything they hear?

They might fall back on personal tradition - "My grandfather was a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, and I'm a Democrat!"  It's increasingly clear, however, that whatever else it might be, today's Democratic party is not the party of your father much less your grandfather.

They might go with the crowd.  A whole lot of people did in 2008.  A whole lot of young people certainly went with "Hope and Change!" and are unemployed today as a result.

The looney Left, enamored with the Occupy Wall Street rioters, likes to say that we are in "pre-revolutionary" times.  They're not wrong, but when revolutions of any sort come along it's the people on top who get overthrown.  Contrary to media myth, our elites in virtually all aspects of life are almost exclusively Democrats.  The occupiers should be careful what they wish for!

Consider current media attacks against Paul Ryan as the destroyer of Medicare and murderer of Granny.  This is a lie, of course - Obamacare cut $716 billion from Medicare, and repealing Obamacare would, ipso facto, restore that money.  Never ones to let truth stand in the way of political attack, the Obama team carries on with the same "Republicans want to cut Medicare!" scare tactics they've used so effectively for decades.

Only one problem with that: it assumes that voters do not in fact want Medicare to be cut.  Old folks don't, obviously, but the young people who turned out in vast numbers for Obama in 2008 seem to like the Ryan plan.  Why?  Because it cuts Medicare, which they pay for but know they'll never, ever receive.

When Reagan run for President in 1980, he asked voters a trenchant question: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"  Four years of Jimmy Carter had ensured that most voters weren't and they elected Reagan in a landslide.  At re-election time in 1984, he asked that question again; this time, the answer was "yes," and he was returned to office.

The overwhelming majority of Americans, especially young ones, are ludicrously worse off now than they were four years ago.  The average American net worth has plummeted by an appalling 40%, but that masks a stark difference:

The wealth gap today between younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

The reason is clear: the jobless Obama economy.

Since 2008 the percentage of the workforce under 25 has dropped 13.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while that of people over 55 has risen by 7.6 percent.

No wonder young people are still living in Mom's basement, are delaying marriage and family, and in general aren't growing up anything like as quickly as they used to: they can't.  It's easy to blame them as slackers and Peter Pans, but there's a sizeable contingent who'd love to grow up and mature if only they could find a job to make it possible.

For lo these many years, our statist, leftist Democrats have seized on hard times as an opportunity to grow government by claiming that The Rich need to "pay their fair share" and help out the struggling 99%.  Occupy Wall Street is just another example of this tradition that dates all the way past the New Deal to Karl Marx himself.

The trouble is it's already been tried.  What was Obama if not the most leftist, statist, redistributionist, Big-Government-worshipping president we've ever had?  America's young people voted for that four years ago and things only got worse.

Believe Your Lyin' Eyes!

Let's sum up.  Much of America voted for a big-government unifiying reformer who's brought big government in spades, but no reform or unification.  Most Americans are told on the news that recovery is here and Obama's doing a great job, then look around their life and know that's a Goebbels-size Big Lie.  It's even possible that, welfare checks aside, a whole lot of people are realizing anew that, as Reagan put it,

Government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem.

In this depression, with government intervention having been tried with great fanfare and complete failure, with every major media source utterly discredited and every candidate either visibly lying or loudly being reported as such, when people have nowhere to turn but their own gut instincts, there's one instinct that screams loudest: LEAVE ME ALONE!

That's exactly what Romney and Ryan are proposing; just listen to the media scream about the chainsaw they're planning to take to government!

Maybe, just maybe, that's what the cynical, depressed, victimized Screwed Generation wants to happen, having seen everything else tried and fail.  Goodness knows your humble correspondent is one Gen-Xer that does.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

Yesterday, Monday, i received a ticket to listen to Our Fearless Golfer here in Las Vegas, Nevada. On the required form there are about 14 different websites that one can access. Each website is dedicated to a particular ethnicity, or group such as LGBT, for Obama, except for White Americans. This is divisive. I hear in the Sewer Main Media of the racism that is rampant in America. I do not see it in my daily travels. I make it a point to talk to people who are different from me every day. I do not meet with any hate from most. The Mexicans are the least friendly. But in dealing with clerks, bus drivers, cab drivers, waiters and waitresses, I don't feel any animosity from those people. I am always treated politely and respectfully. Try it in your daily wanderings on this ball of mud. You will find there is little or no racism outside the Sewer Main Media and the White House.
I had the opportunity to talk with a black friend of mine the other day for about 90 minutes. He suggested that racism is phony. He hasn't seen it in his 50 or so years.
Be friendly to those you come in contact with on a daily basis, you might find that there is more love than hate.
Robert Walker

August 21, 2012 11:48 AM

@Robert that's what happens when politicians find out they can gain votes by claiming that THEIR votes would have more if only those OTHER voters weren't taking it all away from them. That's the basis of class warfare.

Problem is, taking it from workers make them work less and everybody ends up poorer as in the Obama depression.

August 22, 2012 3:33 PM
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