I have been wanting to write this for a while, but never found the words to really articulate what I’d like to discuss. I then saw this video on why conservatives don’t like Rick Santorum and realized that this is a perfect example of what I’m sick of.
For those of you who are in a hurry and don’t want to watch the video, the main point is this: Conservatives don’t like Rick Santorum because of his ideas, they love his ideas, it is just that Rick doesn’t know how to couch the crazy in a way that will be easy for the rest of the country to swallow.
All of the other “smart” politicians may have the same radical views, but they are clever enough to hide these ideas behind a sort of “code” that makes the ideas more palatable. Everyone knows what they’re really saying, yet it is as if the public is trying to give itself plausible deniability.
Everyone knows the emperor is naked, but the rawness of that fact makes everyone uncomfortable, so they delude themselves into pretending that they don’t notice. If you pay attention, you can see politicians using this type of “coded” language everywhere.
One of the current popular republican attacks on Obama is to call him the “food stamp president.” (Despite the fact that the program isn’t called “food stamps” and it was actually expanded and serving more people under Bush, but don’t let facts get in the way)
“Food stamp president” is code for welfare. Who’s on welfare? Poor people? Who are predominately poor? Black people. So food stamp president really translates into “Obama is giving all our money away to undeserving poor black people.” (though I’m tempted to use the N-word since I feel that would be more appropriate in how social conservatives view black people)
Larry Wilmore has a great bit on analyzing Newt Gingrich’s use of the code in this clip.
Just as words can be used as camouflage for possibly unsavory positions, laws can be camouflage for unsavory actions. As with words and positions, there exists a multitude of uncomfortable facts about government that people would rather cover up with pretty wallpaper.
One of the most recent examples was the take-down of the file hosting website “megaupload” and the imprisonment of the site’s owners.
The US government has wanted to censor megaupload at the behest of their corporate donors for a while. The problem? They couldn’t legally do it. SOPA gave them an opportunity to do what they wanted under the guise of legality. When SOPA failed to pass, that legal guise evaporated. What happened? The government said “fuck it. We’ll do it anyways.”
Here is the ugly and uncomfortable truth that people would rather not acknowledge: The government is going to do whatever the hell it wants, regardless of the laws. You have no rights. If the government really wants to censor you, to lock you up, to kill you even, it will. Your constitution and bill of rights, your laws and “justice system” are really just a placebo, a pacifier. It gives you the illusion of having protection, the illusion of being able to force the government to play by some pre-determined rules.
The “fuck it, we’ll do it anyways” mentality is prevalent throughout the government. You saw it in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq. You saw it with us invading Pakistan to kill Osama. Pay attention to the occupy protests; you’ll see the government crushing protests and media in a way you’d think only possible in some third world dictatorship.
And yet nobody wants to call bullshit. Everyone seems to prefer for us to play this cutesy little game of hidden meanings. For once I wish we’d cut the crap and let ideas stand naked for scrutiny, no matter how much their logical conclusions make us uncomfortable.