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View Diary: The Underlying Narrative That Will Cause Romney To Lose (281 comments)

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  •  I hope you're right, (7+ / 0-)

    but I also know that empirically there's a point of strain or stress at which people become self-absorbed, not because they are unethical, but because all of their deeper cognitive resources are redirected toward survival and innovation (a technical term that can refer to anything, from violence to deviance to crime) in its interest.

    I'm convinced that a certain amount of the vitriol that we see from the low-information right is precisely the same vitriol that we've seen before in history, in other places: the hate and aggression of the cornered animal, convinced that it is about to be harmed. People can't afford food and medical care for their sick children, and can't even attend to them because they're working such long hours struggling to fall behind more slowly, rather than with any hope of improving their lot.

    Under those conditions, the better angels disappear; they don't return until after the worst is over, and they often return as guilt, years down the road.

    I hope that isn't the case for our society.

    -9.63, 0.00
    I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

    by nobody at all on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 11:11:08 AM PDT

    •  Yes, there are cross currents. (3+ / 0-)

      I'm also betting on the better angels to prevail.  :-)

      I'm from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party!

      by TomP on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 11:31:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  At the same time, there is a certain point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OhioNatureMom, TomP, blueoasis

      at which our innate sense of fairness, and it is innate from what studies have show, kicks in and just can't take the crap any more.  What the GOP has done up until now is successfully target a lot of people's sense of unfairness at people who have nothing to do with the problem.  That seems to be changing now.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 11:59:11 AM PDT

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      •  Very good. That is what I was looking for. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        Inate sense of fairness.  We teach it to our kids and they say to us, it's not fair that he gets all the candy!  Their are a lot of inputs to it culturally, but it's deep in most of us.

        I'm from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party!

        by TomP on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 01:50:25 PM PDT

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    •  Thank you! A lot of times people talk about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, SadieSue

      "low information voters" as if they were morons.  Bone-heads without hearts or compassion.  ANd indeed, those people are out there.  But a number of voters who seem blind to reality are more overwhelmed than malicious or stupid.  A lot of people are lying to them, of course, and they aren't doing well at sorting it out.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 07:41:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My best friend of 29 years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Free Jazz at High Noon

        routinely calls me for political input. He leans conservative and is surrounded by conservatives (he's the one grunt in a part of the cube farm dominated by middle managers and VPs, who slather him with propaganda all day).

        He doesn't always agree with me (it's hard to argue with the input of so many people that are so much more wealthy and powerful than I am and that have his ear, as a matter of workplace structure, every workday of the year), but he calls to get "the other side."

        He continuously laments not being informed. "I have no idea about this stuff," he says, "and I don't understand most of it. And I feel like a fraud when I vote because I have no idea what I'm doing and I never went to college. But I don't even have time to watch the news."

        He's a working-class guy caught up in the badness of our economy. He struggled for years to find a job that paid a wage that was livable. He finally found a place to rent that was big enough for his family, only to have it sold out from under him a couple years later to investors who turned around and offered to let him become a "homeowner." He struggled through the mortgage process while working two jobs only to find shortly thereafter, as many did, that they payments suddenly ballooned to the unaffordable. At the same time, the homeowners association raised their dues. He was foreclosed on and sued for dues at the same time, just as one job closed down for lack of work. He's now spent months trying to get social services that he's obviously due, but the verifications and forms require lots of time, paperwork, and forms of literacy that he doesn't really have, not to mention access to gasoline (to visit government offices) and to a fax machine.

        Every single day is a struggle for him to keep his kids fed and a roof over their heads, and he even worries (despite my reassurances) that he'll end up in jail for not being able to pay, because that's what the collectors routinely tell him. So he puts in as many hours as possible in the job he still has left (the lower paying one) and pounds the pavement to try to find a second full-time job. No wonder he's a "low information voter."

        And while he hasn't become hateful (it's not his nature), others in his neighborhood certainly have. They do what humans have always done: look around for whoever must have taken what they are owed. In many cases, it's the Mexicans, or the socialists, or the welfare abusers (he struggles with the idea of government assistance, because thanks to right-wing propaganda that he's heard at his other low-paying job for so many years, he feels as though any use of social services is illegitimate laziness, and it devastates him to think that he might be "those people").

        People are squeezed for money and even more, for time as they try to make ends meet and comply with all of the bureaucratic requirements of modern life. They hear politicians invariably talking about this as the "land of opportunity" (rarely coming out and saying what is true, that America is in decline and eating the majority of her young), and they wonder why, if everyone else is getting some, they aren't getting theirs.

        But they don't have time to read the most recent 10 titles on the NY Times bestseller list about the state of the economy, or even the 10 titles on the self-improvement list that might help to improve their lot. They can't afford to look around for answers; all they can do is use their common sense to quickly identify the "most likely culprit" based on their life experiences and cultural education (from parents, peers, etc.) and vote in the way that seems most likely to address that culprit.

        When the left starts in on globalization, regulation, market arbitrage in labor and goods, and so on, their eyes glaze over.

        When the right says "a Mexican took your job and a socialist took your money, that's why you're suffering," they take the only intelligible answer that's been presented to them.

        We have to do better in explaining things in simple terms that regular voters (not policymakers or policy enthusiasts) can understand, and in getting these concepts to people proactively, rather than relying on big media (television, etc.) which many people in the underclasses don't have much time to watch anyway.

        -9.63, 0.00
        I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

        by nobody at all on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 08:00:35 PM PDT

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        •  This is the most cogent description (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Free Jazz at High Noon

          about why we are where we are than I have seen in years. I can't rec you because I've been blacklisted for some reason, but you expressed the situation very well. and you are very well-spoken.

          I am older, using Medicare, best medicine I ever had since the socialism medicine of the USAF back during Vietnam (!!), but I have been where you are years ago and it is not fun. So, I hope you get encouragement from this site, where there are stories of conquering adversity, suggestions about how to survive and to make it to a sustainable situation.

          Recognizing the propaganda and refuting it, to not let it color your understanding of the world, to remain free, at least in thought, is a noble enterprise.

          I settle my mind by playing guitar, to myself, to create a little art, however fleeting. If I couldn't do that little thing, I'd probably go crazy. But I've found what keeps me sane. I hope you can do the same.

          Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

          by blindcynic on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 10:01:23 PM PDT

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        •  Thanks for laying out your friend's experience (0+ / 0-)

          so clearly.  What a sad measure of the kind of trap many Americans are in -- struggling so hard to get thruogh day to day that they can't sort through all the propaganda thrown at them, and figure out what's really happening.

          It's a grim way to live, and the toll on health, happiness, and relationships is great.

          You're right that we, the left, need to communicate better, in clear direct language, so overburdened people can take what they have time to grab and it can still mean something.

          We also need our views and values to be "in the air" in accessible ways.  Radio comes immediately to mind.  We need not only sophisticated progressive journalism and analysis, but also "pop progressive" radio.  News, for instance, that delivers clear, concise basic bites of info, written to assume no more than a high school vocabulary, but NOT to assume therefore that the listeners are stupid or don't care.

          Now if we only had a billion dollars or so to start our collection of radio stations with...  :)

          --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

          by Fiona West on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 02:09:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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