January 31, 2010

Years ago, the minister in our church was giving a message on faith. As she embellished on the “evidence-of-things-not-seen” theme, she also spoke about “false evidence appearing real.” I find myself reflecting on those four words nearly every day.

As our 44th President enters his second year in office, my thoughts go back to his campaign. I, like he, am a pragmatist. As soaring as his rhetoric is, and his ability to deliver that rhetoric unmatched in my lifetime, I (like he) knew once in the Oval Office, his hopes for our country would be attacked ruthlessly everyday. It is always the case, especially with Democratic Presidents. As a rule, they usually want to improve our country’s social structure, which is an anathema to many who would like nothing better than to go back to the “Roaring Twenties.” Our President’s desire to bring people together to solve the nation’s problems continues to be met with staunch opposition, not because his ideas are wrong, but because his political opposition wants him to fail.

Since there is no rational reason for attacking his desire to make our country better, lying becomes the only course of action.

But lies alone won’t work. They must be worded correctly and marketed to the lowest intellectual common denominator, using words that appeal to peoples’ emotions and ignoring facts where necessary.

In other words, create false evidence that appears real.

A consultation with your doctor once every five years about end-of-life choices is labeled “death panel.” One of the twenty-one choices in a health insurance exchange managed exactly like the Medicare reimbursement program is the “government take-over of our entire healthcare system.”

Loaning money to the auto industry (something we’ve done more than once in the last few decades) is the government “now in the business of building cars.”

Not only are these statements false, but they are designed to invoke fear. Once fear is implanted, people gravitate to whoever is feeding them this “evidence.”  Yelling “fire” in a theatre may be wrong and even illegal, but once you hear someone shout it, you’re first inclination is to heed the warning, not investigate its truthfulness.

Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and author of “Words That Work,” describes Americans as “…on the whole, ill-read, provincial, sullen and frightened.” He says they are, “… susceptible to mere rhetoric and responsive to arguably bogus appeals,” “…no matter what the facts.” I wish I could disagree entirely, but unfortunately, there is some truth to his statements.

However, I do believe Americans are slowly waking up. Politicians’ tactics, as they try to “crush” their opponents and further their personal agendas just to get elected and re-elected, are becoming transparent. With microphones and cameras everywhere, and most members of congress technologically challenged in this “information age,” many still speak and act indiscriminately, seemingly unaware of this new environment.

Can the day when John Boehner reveals his alcoholism, Pat Robertson reveals his true colors – which are anything but Christian – and media pundits’ blather becomes insignificant, be far off? I don’t think so. If the so-called awesome power of Rush Limbaugh, the 700 Club and FOX News can’t keep a man named Barack Hussein Obama from becoming President of the United States, we’re headed in the right direction.

It’s becoming more difficult to make False Evidence Appear Real.

Amen to that!





  1. I don’t know how related it is to this particular post, but I just wanted to state for the record:

    The only reason the 700 Club is still on TV (ABC Family, in particular) is because it is a contractual obligation. It was stipulated in the contract throughout the transitions to The Family Channel, FOX Family, and ABC Family that the 700 Club be broadcast. It is carried over from the original religious channel.

    In order to remove the contractual obligation, ABC Family would have to start all over, perhaps/likely losing their spots on TV service providers. That’s pretty much the only reason they haven’t done it.

    (There more about this on Wikipedia somewhere, IIRC.)

  2. Thanks Gordon. I didn’t know that.

    It’s too bad it has to stay for now because its leader doesn’t serve Christianity well and certainly needs to keep his nose out of politics.

    Any religious leader making the statement that we should “take out” (assassinate) a democratically elected leader of another country just because he doesn’t “do business” they way we (the USA) want him to, does not deserve to hold a high position in any religious community, let alone Christianity.


  3. Talk about F.E.A.R. – yesterday we were at the store and I struck up a conversation with a woman about her grandson, now 10. She told me that when he was 4 days old, he had a stroke. Fortunately there are no lingering effects, but she made sure to tell me that if this “new” President’s health care plan had been in effect her grandson wouldn’t have qualified to receive treatment and probably would have died. Just boggles my mind what people believe.

    • If she’s a grandparent, she may be on Medicare, which we all know is a government sponsored healthcare reimbursement program.

      President Obama signed the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) bill early in his first year, extending full healthcare coverage to an additional 8 million uninsured children.

      Had her grandson, at age 4, not had coverage, he most defintely would have qualified for SCHIP.

      It’s sad what people are scared into believing.

      Thanks for responding, Lisa.


  4. What is more amazing about your story Lisa (great entry btw dad) is that in order to believe that? She has to believe Obama would WANT that. You know? There’s a second step of gullibility there that is hard to conceive. So few of the “sheep” ever take that next cognitive step. Obama wants to kill babies. Babies that otherwise would live, would have to die if Obamacare passes. Sweet Jesus that’s an incredible statement. And one that woman would have to say with a straight face to believe what she believes.

    • Ah, there’s the word: cognitive. How true it is that rational thought ends where fear begins.

      The “…second step of gullibility…” appears to go hand-in-hand with the lack of intellectual curiosity that is so often displayed by the “sheep” and, come to think of it, our previous President.



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