If we wish to find unity; if we wish to make our way back to a civil society; if we wish to engage in tolerance and decency, we must stop the lying. Let us debunk the lies that hold us in place with our hands around each other’s necks. Start here:
Renewable Energy, Texas politicians rushed to Fox News to blame windmills for their state’s power outages during last week’s winter storms. The state’s prosperity over the last century has everything to do with capturing, recovering, refining, and reselling fossil fuels, but to lie about renewables—which represent less than ten percent of the state’s energy sources—for putting tens of millions in the dark and cold, is beyond the pale. Surely, even if you somehow manage to nurse the scientifically disproven myth that climate change is a hoax, and that the second “hundred-year” storm in the last decade is unrelated to the burning of fossil fuels, you’re able to put together the facts that not winterizing nuclear-, coal-, and gas-fired power plants and windmills, was a losing bet. One that caused untold, ongoing misery, and cost lives and tens of billions of dollars. This isn’t even artful dodging, it’s more akin to your peanut butter-covered four year-old telling you the dog got into the pantry.
China, regularly threatens the human rights of its citizens, encourages the theft of our intellectual property and is militarily adventurous, but it is not behind the huge hack that has spies in all of our computer networks. That’s the Russians.
Antifa, is a convenient scapegoat that certain pols and pundits like to hang violent extremism on. In fact, it is an unorganized group that opposes fascism, and has taken that view to the streets. There is no website, and no coordinated movement. The convenient trope that they masterminded last summer’s social justice protests (a tiny percentage of which turned violent), or the even more ridiculous assertions that they were the Capitol insurrectionists is dangerous misdirection. Someone read Sun Tsu’s The Art of War and decided to create a necessary enemy to divert and confuse the masses.
Black Lives Matter, These self-same pols and pundits hurt the nation by pointing us in the wrong direction. Whether they are motivated solely by racism I’ll leave for you to decide, but when the FBI repeatedly warns us that our greatest threat comes not from international terrorists, but from home-grown right wing extremists, we’d be wise to listen them, lest another deadly riot erupts like the one we witnessed Jan. 6 at the Capitol, where terrorists became cop-killers as they hunted our vice president and representatives to Congress. You may call them fascists, militias, vigilantes, Christian Nationalists, White Nationalists, White Supremacists, or something else, but at bottom, they are domestic terrorists who favor a fascistic authority.
BLM is not a domestic terror organization. It is a movement born of frustration, alienation, and hopelessness. Tired of the systemic racism that has made it unsafe to be Black while driving, walking, jogging and even sleeping, their mission is equal justice under the law, something guaranteed in the Constitution but not part of reality, kind of like seeing Ted Cruz passing out water at an emergency shelter (unless it’s at the Ritz in Cancun).
In the face of the terrorists assaulting the Capitol, and the devastating irony of some using the flagpoles holding their Blue Lives Matter banners to beat police officers, we still have pols and pundits telling the lie that it is BLM that is the terrorist group here.
Minimum Wage. Early in the last century, Teddy Roosevelt coined the term “A living wage,” meant to express the idea that someone who works full-time should make enough money to cover their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, with enough left over to take a two week vacation in one of his newly designated National Parks. A $15 min wage is required to live above the poverty line; both Walmart and Hobby Lobby, an ideologically right-wing retail chain, recognize this fact.
The Big Lie Polls indicate over half of Republicans still say the 2020 election was rigged. Neither the facts that 59 courts dismissed the lie, or that Republican election officials in the all-important states of Georgia and Arizona actively disputed this fantasy that has been promoted by over half of the Republican congressional caucus and twelve Republican senators, all propped up the right-wing punditocracy online, and on the radio and cable television.
It’s apparently not in their political interest to believe the truth. Mark Twain observed that it’s much easier to lie to someone than to convince them they’ve been lied to. I would add, especially when they’d rather believe the lie.
Still, we have to try. And we have to start by stopping the lies.