by Jeff Oaks

It’s become clear to me that the goal of the present group of Republicans in various offices around the country right now is not to govern at all but to so subvert the idea of government that the average American gives up on getting any help or even sane thinking from his or her legislator. This plan has many advantages: no legislator need make sense at all since the plan is to make people stop turning to government for answers; no representative is required to spend time studying legislation or listening to constituents and so can spend his or her time attending fundraising events; his or her performances in front of cameras require only a few easily practiced facial expressions and the memorization of that week’s key phrases, which are produced elsewhere and whose purpose is only to frame every event quickly and in the politician’s longterm employer’s (the corporate world’s) interests.

It is so simple no one would think politicians could master it, but that’s only if we think of politicians in the traditional way–as people who like to engage in ideas and negotiations. The new politicians don’t like any complications at all, I have come to believe. They don’t want to learn anything. If they have to live with complications, the politicians have learned enough to keep their various constituencies fighting among themselves over minor details. The politicians need only vote for or against anything that everyone might agree to. The groundlings will then fight it out. By stymying the work of the national government altogether, the Republicans have slowly taught us all to treat it like a nonentity. I don’t listen to anyone in DC now. It’s all scripted, all untrue. And since all the journalists work for corporations now, they seem unable to ask challenging questions. I change the channel.

The Republican plan seems aimed simply to sabotage the whole ship of state somewhat like the man who knows he’s losing at Risk might suddenly overturn the whole board so everyone loses. No one can claim a victory when everything is in ruins. In the absence of government, who must we turn to? Local authorities maybe, like state and city officials, churches and other religious institutions, and of course employers. And while there may well be enlightened folks at any of these institutions, the Republican plan is betting that small minds are largely in control here. To hedge their bets, they’ve been draining as much support as they can from any social service provider so any help a citizen might receive there is minor. The result? A nation full of anxious people, exhausted by working two or more jobs just to pay the bills, so in despair they won’t vote, so angry they can’t bear to hear or sustain much rational thinking, on edge. Give them virtually unlimited access to guns. Destroy or undermine the credibility of any source of objective information, indeed destroy the idea that there is anything that might be called a fact, and put pressure on everyone by taking away long standing sources of stability. Boom. Behind their barriers and police forces, the governors watch us, the people, tear ourselves to shreds.

And who wins when everything is in ruins? Who has the infrastructure to hold things together? Why else vote against the infrastructure bill the president has submitted? It seems like a no brainer, as we used to say. You’re virtually guaranteed a job as a lobbyist or CEO with a corporation, even if you get voted out of office.

By the way, if anyone out there is interested in techniques for propaganda and/or debate, you might like this, which I found this morning:

Propaganda and Debating Techniques