99 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL,By Louise Annarino,July 30,2012

31 Jul

99 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL, By Louise Annarino,July 30,2012

Political ads once were pieces of artful rhetoric. Remember “A Town Called Hope” extolling the virtues of presidential candidate Bill Clinton? Most ads were likewise lovely to watch, whether one supported the candidate extolled or not. They were inspirational, clarified a candidate’s position and beautifully if not nicely done. Even the infamous nuclear explosion reflected in the iris of a child picking flowers as an attack on presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was lovely to watch. It was consider-over-the top because it exceeded the extant of Senator Goldwater’s stance on nuclear armament, and was quickly pulled from the market having been shown only once. But once was enough to create an image of a man willing to lead Americans and the world into nuclear armageddon.

Just once, we were exposed to an ad which distorted and demeaned a candidate. Once was too much for television executives who pulled the ad because of public outrage and dismay. Today, political ads of distortion and outright lies are repeated ad nauseatum like the song “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall”:

 

99 bottles of beer on the wall,

99 bottles of beer,

Take one down.

Pass it around.

98 bottles of beer on the wall.

(repeat with 1 less bottle until no more bottles are left and end with)

No more bottles of beer on the wall,

No more bottles of beer,

Go to the store and buy some more,(KOCH Bros. et al)

99 bottles of beer on the wall.

The internet messaging of lies is even worse. At least the possibility of vetting an ad or disclosure exists within broadcast and print news departments.The internet is unfiltered. The race-baiting, homophobic, misogynist attacks against President Obama, his staff, appointees, and supporters goes unchecked.

I recently received an email message from a childhood friend with the same old attacks (i.e. Muslim foreigner,baby and jobs killer, hates business, caused recession, brings terrorist infiltrators into government, stupid liar and cheat) against President Obama with a new twist. At top of the page was a photo of suit-clad smiling white man claiming he was a classmate of the president’s at Columbia and knew Barry well, and who knew the items in content of piece used to attack were true. At the bottom was a Snopes link which he asserted proved the truthfulness of the email content. My friend pointed this out to me since I had on several prior occasions disproved her attack emails by replying with the facts to dispute her specific allegations, and often used Snopes as secondary source since she found it hard to believe my research data from NYT, London Guardian, BBC, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, LA Times, historical texts, US Constitution, specific laws and regulations etc. I checked the Snopes link. The question Snopes agreed to answer was “Is this person the source of these allegations?” The answer was “Yes, this person is the source of these allegations.” The truth meter read “true”. What!

I answered my friend that the only truth was that the man who claimed to tell these lies did tell these lies. That does not make lies true! This person asked me two years ago to NEVER send her any political information, nor my blog articles since she hates politics. I never send her a thing until she sends me a pack of lies. Then, I reconstruct each issue, provide her factual data and point out the mistruths. I honor every persons right to their own opinion; but, no one is entitled to their own facts! How can one answer such idiocy? Her behavior is not based on a search for truth so we can each make an informed decision with the needs of all sides considered; it is simply a need to be right and justify her hatred for President Barack Obama.

What is so disturbing is not simply the ads and e-mail/facebook messages themselves, but the willingness of people to share demeaning and untrue attack ads with no effort on their part to check for truthfulness. I can appreciate that not every voter is a political wonk, not many have the time to fully explore issues or candidates, and very few take the time to research before forming an opinion. What I cannot accept, what I refuse to accept, is that these voters believe their opinion is so sound as the opinion of the voter who does explore policies, records and world views of each candidate. It is not. They are not of equal weight. The uninformed opinion has less value. It is often wrong. It is often based upon lies and distorted reality. It is worthless.

I de-friended a person on FB yesterday after she began posting increasingly racist imagery on poster cartoons attacking President Obama, baby-killer comments and other derogatory attacks. I had repeatedly pointed out her racist content over the past weeks. I once asked her why all of her posts were anti-Obama and none pro-Romney. To all of which I received no response. I chalked up her behavior to ignorance, not ill intent. Yesterday, she posted another hate-filled photo attack. I ignored it at first. Later I saw her friend had commented with a question, “ But, who can we vote for? I could never vote for Obama whom I hate with a passion.” She replied to her friend, “I don’t know, but I hate him too much to vote for him.”  Those comments explained a lot. I have had enough of hate and hate merchants. They sell hate. I don’t think they can consciously admit why they are acting so, because at the deepest level they really do know why. We all know why. We just are too polite to mention it. I am not so polite; the reason is racism.

What happened to the American voter who sought to learn the voting record of a candidate, wanted to understand a candidate’s policies on various issues and why a candidate espoused those particular policies? What happened is that those Americans in either party are demeaned along with the candidate they support. They are called names: Obmanoids, Romneyites, babykillers, feminazis, even N*****lovers. This is unacceptable in any America past or present. Racism seems to trump acting with American value behaviors. We fought a civil war over this already.

What happened to American voters who believed in playing fair in order to elect the best candidate? What happened to the American voter who would rise in outrage over lies and distortions? Who would not tolerate attacks from either party on constitutionally protected race,creed,color, or religion? Where are these Americans? Where is a press corps, news executive, ad executive who refuses to air outright lies as political ads. Where is the journalist whose follow-up question challenges the lie which has just been told? Who refuses to allow a false premise as the basis of a response? Who can look a candidate in the eye while asking the question? Who can frankly challenge racist comments? Who can ask why being Black in America disqualifies every action taken by our president?

Racism is at the core of my understanding of what is going on here. It is not a means of avoiding valid attacks on our president, who has never claimed perfection, who only does the best he can with faint support by his own party and extreme refusal to participate in governmental action of ANY kind by the Republican party. Racism; not pure and not simple.

It is painful to watch newspersons obsequiously ask questions they know will not be answered, while Romney smiles with superiority. The smile is not one made in response to a good joke, or as a punch line on himself as President Obama often uses in response to uncomfortable questions. It is a smirk and a grin responding, “I’m not tellin’ and you can’t make me. Na, na, na, na,na na!” This same “na,na,na” attitude is heard coming from the mouths of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner; from every republican House Committee Chair. Have you been watching? Are you listening? “I can hang you from a tree in a political ad any time I choose. Na, na,na,na.na.na!” Oh, it is clear what has happened to American politics, and why there is so little public outrage.

I understand such intransigence by a candidate and his party supporters, supported by subliminal racism, makes it difficult to report the truth. But not impossible. I dread to imagine the softball questions posed to candidates in upcoming debates. I hope the debates won’t be just another round of 99 bottle of beer on the wall. I need a drink!

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