About one in three Americans would support the Obama Administration right up until its agents stood him or her up against the wall. Why is that?
The brightest young freshman to have crossed my path in quite a while was a Nigerian. She has since moved on to things far higher than my institution had to offer her, but my experience—in a more modest measure—is often repeated with her countrymen. Nigerians deserve a share of the stereotype that we apply to Indian and Chinese students: they are keen to learn, attend classes, do their homework, learn from their mistakes, accept correction courteously and productively, and—in short—take full advantage of what educational opportunities are given to them.
On the other hand, the multi-generational American who insists on being prefixed with “African” (as Nigerians never do), if I may continue in gross generalities, is a train wreck. The rudimentary academic problem seems to be a struggle with reading material—with long reading assignments and also with texts whose style and diction are out of the ordinary. But then, that’s only the academic problem: maybe the root runs much deeper. This past week I felt compelled to warn a whole class through e-mail against walking out on me just because their watches showed that my hour had expired. I noted that I, too, had a tight schedule, and that I would never claim more than an extra minute to finish up—but that I was herewith formally claiming my minute on the ground of common courtesy. One student was so convinced of my poisoned keyboard’s having aimed its dart at her that she dealt me a resentful response. She hadn’t been feeling well—she couldn’t help it if she needed to get out of there! I informed the entire group in person the next day that my e-mail had had absolutely no face or individual in its crosshairs—that my protest had been elicited by what I reckoned to be about half the class getting up and leaving as I was in mid-sentence. The wounded student wrote back that she was satisfied, as if I had apologized to her. She is “African American”.
My point? I suggest that certain members of our community have so fully imbibed the narrative of victimization as to be almost incapable of seeing the world through any other story-line. Females of African descent, especially, have their “exploitation radar” scanning every horizon 24/7. (Males, I presume, have a little too much pride to spend their lives bellowing the threat, “You’re offending me!”) A technician at my wife’s office has made it well known up and down the corridors that she would file a “racial discrimination” suit if she were ever laid off for any reason. Most offices have one of these. Yes, they probably also have one or more people of the same minority who never utter a peep in complaint, just as I have more than one African-American female student but only one “axe-grinder”. Yet the one axe-grinder is an African-American. (Her grades are abysmal, between you and me: she never reads anything.)
This is one source of President Obama’s immovable support: the person, that is, who has been brainwashed to believe implicitly in his (or usually her) victimhood. The Obama Administration could… well, let’s say its minions could sell thousands of firearms illegally to dangerous foreign drug cartels to create a pretext for confiscating all weapons in the law-abiding population… and the person in question would continue to believe that not one weapon had been “walked” to one crook while believing, at the same time, that every gun-owning citizen was just waiting for a chance to shoot her down for her race, creed, or gender.
Not all such people, by a long shot (if you’ll pardon a powder-smelling metaphor), belong to a minority—except, of course, that women in general are styled a minority for some reason having nothing to do with arithmetic. A close family member of mine—we might call her “Julia”, but let’s freshen the pot with “Susan”—will vote for Obama in November come hell or high water. The reason she gave to my son (since Susan and I never talk politics) was that “Romney has ties to big business”. This is why Susan and I can’t converse. The “objection” is patently stupid on so many fronts at once that I would lapse into a coma just trying to find a starting point. Obama, then, is NOT tied to big business (green energy boondoggles, General Motors, Goldman Sachs)? Would it be more criminal to abuse your political power by nudging up your stock portfolio on the open market or by laundering tax revenues through the pockets of cronies who will finance your reelection? Or does Susan, who works for a municipal government, think that her job will survive if the private sector collapses—exactly where does she think the resources for her paycheck come from? Or is some sort of contrast between big and small business operative in her pithy comment? Does Susan suppose, then, that unleashing the ATF to raid a guitar-making company because its owner donates to Republicans is small-business friendly? Does she imagine that an open-border policy giving the green light to hire illegal aliens helps outfits with ten employees more than outfits with ten thousand? Is it her observation that tome upon tome of federal regulations about wheel-chair access, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, maternity leave, etc., etc., are more of a drag upon Auto Zone than upon Bob’s Garage? Has Susan asked herself why the late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and a host of Hollywood billionaires were devoted Obamaniacs in ’08? Does she happen to know how much money John Kerry has in comparison to Mitt—or, for that matter, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Does she know how Pelosi and Reid made their millions? Does anyone?
Thank God for the electoral college, which renders Susan’s vote an exercise in futility where we both reside. Otherwise, I don’t think I would allow her anywhere near my son, and I would have a hard time ever speaking to her again.
But then, I have to remember that Susan is one of the brainwashed and brain-pickled. Terminally single, she sees life, I should imagine, as having cheated her of quite a bit. Her bitterness at being passed over and left to age all alone (a situation encouraged, not relieved, by feminist egocentrism) finds translation, no doubt, in the language of victimhood. Having herself been manipulated and lied to in her personal life, she responds very favorably to any Super-Hero in public life who vows vengeance upon all manipulators and liars. And she tells herself lie after lie (or swallows whole the Super-Hero’s lies) in order to sustain the narrative. The Republicans are lying about the economy: it really is getting better. (Since Susan is a government employee, she has no idea what kind of hits the private sector is taking.) Her own benefits are being threatened only because fat-cat mega-millionaires who gouge her with exorbitant car payments (she forgets that her taxes have kept GM afloat) won’t put their fair share into the public pot. And she exults that Paul Ryan was detected in a vicious slander about President Obama’s closing the truck factory in Janesville, although Ryan simply remarked that Candidate Obama had promised to keep the plant open as if he had the power to do so. A sane person would say that the vicious slander came from the other direction, when Ryan was accused of lying by people too dense to parse a verb.
Indeed, Susan sometimes strikes me as, if not insane, then neurotic almost to the point of being unfit to make her own decisions. She’s always broke thanks to a ruinous habit of squandering money on every passing frivolity that tickles her fancy. While she often purchases such baubles for other people, staking her claim to the virtue of generosity (hence my son’s fondness of her company), bills must eventually be paid—and her mother eventually pays the excess. Over the age of fifty, she yet remains a dependant in a significant sense. She can’t see what’s in front of her in daily existence, and she can’t tell fact from fiction in national or global events. She needs the artifice of her Dark World Patrolled by Masked Avenger so desperately that she would shut her eyes and stop her ears, in a last resort, to keep any contradictory evidence from assailing her senses. Of course, the Masked Avenger wants her unfit to make her own decisions. He wants her to become Julia. Her vote is his for as long as he rides the dusky skies on his pinioned steed.
To some degree, the modern Democrat Party (not to be confused with anything democratic, as we learned from how a two-thirds majority is determined at its convention) has been deliberately constructing these dependant constituencies since the dismal days of FDR. Opening up the Mexican border is but the most current example of its efforts to swell the underclass to a critical mass. Yet other influences show little sign of conspiracy. Why, for instance, does Hollywood always project big business as the one true and steady source of genocidal evil on the planet? I don’t think such fictions can be premeditated—that directors and producers gather for cocktails at Steven Spielberg’s digs to discuss the subliminal infusion of revolutionary orthodoxy. It’s something that just happens, like the bad guy in old Westerns always being a cattle baron. We like to root for the underdog. In that scenario, big is always bad.
Eager to distract myself from students, conventions, the economy, and idiot harridans in pink vaginas, I started spending a late-evening hour every night last month whittling away the second season of FOX’s 24 series. (My son had it on DVD… did Susan buy that for him, too?) Producer Joel Surnow has never struck me as a revolutionary propagandist. In fact, the second season’s first half refuses to engage in any PC pussy-footing. Counter-terrorist super-agent Jack Bauer bars no holds in his pursuit of a band of radical Islamic zealots possessing a small nuke. He even executes in cold blood a slimeball turned state’s evidence in order to secure entry into the terrorist cell. (Dirty Harry, move over!) Though the U.S. president throughout the adventure is a black man and (as verisimilitude requires) a Democrat, the script tarnishes this progressive vision of secular sainthood, as well, in ongoing outrages against political correctness. President Palmer is sufficiently “bauerized”, at any rate, to initiate the torture of one of his cabinet members in one episode. (If only Dennis Haysbert—nowadays the face and voice of Allstate Insurance—were our current president!) So much for closing Gitmo…
But when the bomb is at last heroically steered clear of Los Angeles into the Arizona desert (no mention of how many border-jumpers must have died in the blast), half of the season remains, and the producers seem to respond to a gravitational pull in the PC direction. The terrorists, it turns out, were a rogue crew, operating without the connivance of three Arabic states slickly implicated in their attempt. For a brief spell, Jack’s most faithful ally is an agent from one of these states—and an episode late in the first half had featured an imam lecturing the terrorist ring-leader on how much Allah loathes violence. Rank-and-file Muslims, we must infer, don’t ever support this kind of thing. The series’ new villains—and we discover that they were the true villains, all along—own a large oil company whose stock will skyrocket if the desired war should come to pass. The predicament is further complicated by the villainous stupidity of the president’s own cabinet: specifically, by saber-rattling white guys and war-mongering generals. The crafty villains and the stupid villains work unwittingly together to shut Jack down. He is able to save Western civilization, and perhaps the world, only by the skin of his teeth and in the nick of time.
Now, the cliff-hanger interruptions and constantly ratcheted tensions are the series’ signature, and any wrinkle in the plot that furthers such endeavor is welcome. To analyze an electronic comic book of this kind for political messages would be tasteless, dogmatic folly. Yet one must suppose, all the same, that the two or three generations of Americans reared on TV and movies (virtually the entire electorate) cannot have reached maturity without showing any side-effects from immersion in Hollywood’s myth-making. We should know, if we study our history, that ideologues tend to drag nations into wars, not businessmen. Were the wars that Stalin and Mao waged against their own people designed to manipulate the stock market? Was Hitler, who essentially corporatized the private sector (like the current regime in China), merely concerned with feathering his nest? Why did FDR ignore Japanese overtures to settle differences before Pearl Harbor, and why did he pave the way for the Cold War by delivering Eastern Europe (with Churchill’s blessing) to Stalin? Whose coffers was LBJ fattening when he pressed for action in Vietnam on a bogus pretext? (Granted, whatever LBJ possessed of pure ideology was closer to Hanoi than to Houston… but his calculations were based on looking good to the electorate, not on securing contracts for the military-industrial complex.)
How many businesses, on the other hand, can sustain a profit when war depletes the work force, reduces international markets, raises the cost of import items and transportation, and shrinks available capital and consumer income? How many generals or other military personnel—especially among those who have actually lived through combat—salivate at the prospect of war? Dwight Eisenhower would never have raised the stakes in Vietnam to the point of no return. General MacArthur, to be sure, was itching to proceed against Mao Tse-tung before Truman dismissed him; but MacArthur’s plan, executed before the Pacific troops were demobilized, would have spared us both Vietnam and Korea (as well as saved tens of millions of Chinese lives). Colin Powell, for all his many faults, wanted nothing to do with our ongoing exercise in “nation-building” after our swift ouster of Saddam Hussein.
The series also has rampaging vigilantism breaking out in redneck Atlanta, Georgia, once the news disseminates that Islamic terrorists have exploded a nuke. One ransacking good ol’ boy in a baseball cap tells a camera that “some of ’em don’t even speak English,” as if our sizable poor-white-trash contingent were just waiting for a chance to lynch anyone with a strange accent. On the other side of the continent, Jack’s Arabic collaborator is at last bludgeoned to death by a gang of the same types who somehow detect, in a parking lot at midnight, that the unhappy man has an aquiline nose.
It would not be unfair, perhaps, to associate LA with riots… but mobs of this particular demographic seem to me historically improbable in this particular locale. As for Atlanta, does anyone on the 24 staff happen to know the racial-ethnic composition of that area? Yes, redneck hayseeds formed mobs in Birmingham half a century ago; but fierce race riots in Detroit occurred at about the same time (and also two decades earlier, in 1943), while the prominence of Muslim immigrants in the Michigan area today far exceeds anything that I know of down south.
Yet our children grow up swallowing this warmed-over pabulum with their Gerber’s. I know that Susan was a heavy consumer of TV throughout her childhood and adolescence. The generations following her, with far more stations to watch, and then the Internet—and with ever less history being taught to them in those outposts of unionized progressivism, the public schools—have been bred to accept such facile associations a fortiori.
All of these factors are just a beginning to answering the question I often pose myself, “How in the hell is Obama even close to matching Romney’s support? Even if a quarter of his reported popularity may be discounted due to the leftward engineering of polling data… how does his forty-to-forty-five percent, deflated to something just above thirty percent, remain steady? How can one in three Americans still want this chameleon-in-chief to rule their lives?”
We have precisely that many fellow citizens who won’t think—who can’t think—under any circumstances about the realities facing our society and our nation: about one in three.