Posts Tagged ‘March on Washington’

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THE DANGER OF A BROKEN RECORD

September 17, 2009

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“When we lose our curiosity, we disarm ourselves as Americans.”

This quote is not from some philosopher. I didn’t hear it in a political speech or from a CEO. This was said by a man who is a former college football player and coach, a hunter and fisherman, and the owner of two small businesses. 

I’ll tell you who it is later.*

This lack of “curiosity” (or what many of us call “intellectual curiosity”) identifies a shrinking but noisy part of our citizenship. They loudly repeat what they hear, with no concern for the veracity of their words. If they heard it from their favorite commentator, it must be true.

In a nutshell, this is the formula for the success of FOX News and others emulating their format on TV and radio.

The people at FreedomWorks, (Dick Army’s organization), Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project, the Tea Party Organizers and FOX News (the highest rated cable news network) decided to join forces for a show of strength against our President’s policies. With all of that publicity, and all spring and summer to prepare and promote this event, you would think that they would have packed the National Mall on September 12th. If it’s true that a large majority of the 300,000,000+ Americans aren’t happy with this President, one would expect at least 1% (3,000,000) to show up. But that’s not what happened. It wasn’t 1%, it wasn’t 1/10th of 1% (300,000), it was .022% (approximately 66,000) according to the DC police and fire departments. Not a small crowd, but certainly not what it was hyped up to be:

FreedomWorks said there were “…hundreds of thousands…” on their website.

FreedomWorksSite

The video below tries to make you believe that, “Rare footage from the terrace of the US Capitol building and time lapse footage of protesters marching down Pennsylvania Avenue illustrate the gathering of people who attended the March on Washing…”

Here’s a still from the footage. I noted the tower on the left for a reason.

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Using the tower as a marker, watch how many times the same footage repeats to make you think there were far more people in attendance than authorities reported.

Here’s the rebuttal of a statement made at the gathering that ABC News reported 1 to 1.5 million attending.

Crowd Size Misquoted

In an attempt to discredit the truth, the picture below was distributed showing the National Mall filled with people. Once verified, it was revealed that the photo is at least 5 years old.

Fake Photo

The picture was of the Promise Keepers’ gathering in 1997. Less than one minute of research reveals this. Those with no intellectual curiosity don’t want to know. They find it easier to just repeat what they’ve heard.

I’m not going to bother to show you what FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (who did not show up at his own gathering) had to say about the attendance. They reported anywhere from 1.5 to over 2 million. Unlike their viewership and listeners, the rest of us know how to use a PC for research. 

What we saw at this gathering was a re-run of what we’ve seen all spring and summer: the same derogatory signs, the same all-white crowds and the same speeches. Below are some pictures from this most recent event that could have been taken at any of the anti-Obama events this year.

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It’s beginning to look (and sound) like a broken record.

I can’t stress this enough: what we are witnessing is fear and its offspring: hate (in the form of bigotry). I do believe some are there out of a real concern for this country’s future and not just because they don’t like the color of our President’s skin. But because they are only “armed” with what they hear, they don’t realize they are protesting against their own best interests. Whatever freedoms they think they are losing are not in jeopardy. The so-called “out-of-control government spending” that they are protesting has been going on since the 1980s.

Reagan cut taxes on the top 2% and the deficit doubled in his eight years. Here’s his reasoning:

George H. W. Bush had to go back on his “Read my lips – no new taxes” statement and raise taxes during his term because the Reagan deficits were “out of control.”

In his 1992 debate, George H. W. Bush discusses the recession – obviously Reagan’s economic policies did not work. You also see why Bill Clinton won the election.

When George W. Bush came into office, we were operating with a balanced budget and a surplus. We were also reducing the debt.

Here’s some charts for you visual learners like me. 🙂

 SurplusesDeficits

SpendingTaxes

One reason for Clinton’s economic policy success was “Pay-Go” (new spending had to be paid for and could not be added to the national debt). It was, unfortunately, allowed to expire in 2002.

It’s doubtful that anyone in the pictures above has done any of this research. They instead chose to be fearful and angry. What’s more pathetic is publically elected officials who will not stand up for what they know (at least I think they know) is the truth about these issues. They allow the misinformation to continue to divide us, because it’s more important to them to be re-elected than it is to bring this country together. Three of them spoke at the gathering. 

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There is a subtle underlying theme through all of these events starting to creep into mainstream media that is disconcerting. It’s the lack of respect for our legitimately elected President. Not his policies – him. Many of our citizens will never believe that a black man deserves to be President of the United States. Former President Jimmy Carter brought this thought to the forefront in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on September 15th

I hesitantly agree with some of what he said. My hesitation comes not from disbelief of his words, but from a desire to not attract more disrespect for President Obama.

And while I do believe there is racism in the afore mentioned events, I do not want to leave you with the idea that I think everyone that attended is racist. The issue is in desperate need of serious and thoughtful discussion, but I’m concerned that even the most constructive conversation may be twisted into dangerous dialogue. This is when a lack of curiosity morphs into something far more harmful.

I pray this period of our nation’s history is not marked by something that I’ve lived through too many times before.

Dangerous dialogue, indeed.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

* Ed Shultz, 09-15-09