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So I really did see this billboard over the summer, on I-5 in southern Washington. Anyone who travels between Portland and Seattle with any frequency is aware of the cultural institution known as the "Uncle Sam billboard."  It always has some extreme right-wing slogan next to a likeness of Uncle Sam. Apparently a farmer started it decades ago, and now the fabled sign is maintained by his son. (I neglected to include Uncle Sam when I drew the cartoon; I was so gobsmacked by the sentiment that I forgot all about him. And the internet tells me belatedly that the exact wording was "Should people receiving entitlements be allowed to vote?", but I'm too tired to fix it now.)

Clearly the sign is the handiwork of an ignoramus, but it touches on something that's been bothering me for a while. Many Americans don't understand the term "entitlements." Anyone hoping to preserve the social safety net should avoid the word, which makes Social Security and Medicare sound like frivolous handouts to undeserving snots. The fact that anti-poverty measures like food stamps are also referred to as entitlement programs only adds to the confusion, not that denying voting rights to poor people is any less reprehensible.

I wouldn't dismiss this billboard guy as a lone crackpot, either. TPM recently reported on conservative columnist Matthew Vadum, who suggested that registering poor people to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. I smell a meme.

Originally posted to Comics on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well... (9+ / 0-)

    if it meant seniors en masse couldn't vote I'd have to pause a second before condemning it, considering the 21 point margin they gave the GOP last time.

  •  That's why Democrats should not use that (13+ / 0-)

    word.

    This is a dog whistle in the following way:

    To some, entitlements = welfare = undeserving poor = African Americans.  

    To others, it is just classism:

    entitlements = welfare = undeserving poor

    Either way, Democrats should not describe social security, medicare and medicaid as "entitlements."

    It only reinforces bad themes.

    The American people must wise up and rise up!

    by TomP on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:03:47 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, TomP (19+ / 0-)

      If we retreat from any word the right wing chooses to demonize we'll find ourselves silenced.  The point is to defend the concept and attack the lies, not retreat when the wingers say bad things.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

      by Dallasdoc on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:05:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not like "liberal." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann

        The word was always a poor one.  Dems adopted R framing when they started using that word.

         

        The American people must wise up and rise up!

        by TomP on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:14:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was a Democrat, Donna Shaylala (0+ / 0-)

          who first used it in a speech.  The term was excoriated by  Moynihan if I recall correctly. it should be findable on the internet.

          Of course I can't think of a better name.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 03:51:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree...................... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle, TomP

        the point we need to push is that "over the years millions of workers have paid billiions of dollars  into social security and they, their spouses, minor or disabled children are ENTITLED to  receive benefits."

        The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

        by cazcee on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:14:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No Social security is a social insurance (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Bojangles

          against being destitute when you are old, if you are disabled and unable to work, or if you die, funds for dependent children and for a spouse after he or she retires if she has no earnings of her own.

          Medicare expenditures can and should be  cut; there really is enough fraud and wasted treatments and scans to weed out. It is paid by premiums at 25% and general tax funds for 75%. That may have to change a bit.

          medicaid is a collection of 51 separate programs rife with fraud and political crony contracts. It would be very hard to reform them. A good AG focusing on the area would help a lot and would make the money go further.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 04:04:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I shouldn't be that hard to ferret out waste and (0+ / 0-)

            abuse.  Just watch TV and zero in on all those programs that offer viewers medical supplies "delivered right to your door at no cost to you," Hoverround scooters where Medicare is billed by the vendor, and all the diabetes supply businesses.  Considering how often these ads air on some stations, business must be booming, and at our expense!

            There has to be a better way to get people needed supplies without sticking it to Uncle Sam.

      •  It is far easier for Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        to agree to cut entitlements than it is to cut social security, medicare or medicaid.  

        Fighting to keep a Republican frame seems counterproductive.

        The American people must wise up and rise up!

        by TomP on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:16:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, Dallasdoc (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kinak, jm214, jedennis, TomP, Ruh Roh

        Dallasdoc, I always look forward to reading your well informed comments and 99.9% of the time agree with what you are saying.  But in this case, I have to respectively disagree.  The horse done left the "entitlement" barn, and Americans have come to associate it with welfare.  The best way to defend Social Security, IMO, is not to play defense defending/explaining the word "entitlement", but rather go on the offense and use a term like"earned benefit" and make the Republican defend/explain why they want to cut/remove our earned benefit.

        Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

        by howd on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:27:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or we can do both (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jen Sorensen

          One of the best ways the right wing has hijacked the discourse since Reagan has been to take a word or a concept, make a joke of it, either make it mean something it doesn't or put a negative connotation on it and keep attacking that new meaning.

          They've been able to do that because so much of their base lacks the education to know better. They can only believe that Obama is a socialist if they have no idea of what socialism actually is. Now, it's just a bad word to them and they don't care what it is.

          When I was studying communications, I learned that meaning resides in the receiver. The person hearing a message, the receiver, applies their definition or understanding of a term or a concept to what they are hearing. As the sender, you can't just  assume the receiver has the same understanding of a term that you do. So you provide context and redundancy. And that is where your term, earned benefit, comes in (excellent term, by the way). We speak of workers being "entitled" to the benefits they've earned. That's right out of the libertarian catechism. We link the term "entitled" to "earned" as much as we can and link Social Security to "earned benefit".

          The right didn't get ownership of these terms and the meanings overnight. It's an intentional messaging technique that they have applied assiduously. We simply haven't kept up. We need to start keeping up, not just keep letting them have words they want to twist to their own ends.

          On, #Wisconsin! On, #Wisconsin! Stand up, Badgers, sing! "Forward" is our driving spirit, Loyal voices ring.

          by Mr Bojangles on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 08:13:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No one is calling from retreating (0+ / 0-)

        "from any word".

        And "fear of being silenced" is not the issue at hand here.

        I'm actually not surprised to see so many people recommend such a poorly constructed post. It's one reason I've stopped coming to Daily Kos so often.

        Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

        by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:39:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, with perhaps the exception of Medicaid. nt (0+ / 0-)

      Justified anger does not grant you unrestricted license.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:08:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely correct. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jedennis, TomP, Ruh Roh, Mr Bojangles

      The use of the word 'entitlement' as an epithet is deliberate on the part of Republicans. It's a continuation on a strategy to divide Americans into groups, and set one group of people upon another.

      Democratic politicians are like deer in the headlights as they allow themselves to amplify these propaganda techniques.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:43:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And how successful they have been, with active (0+ / 0-)

        cooperation from the "young" among this population here, who are so ready to trash "Seniors" as a group because us "younger" folks are too inept to figure out a way to defeat the messaging and domination of the Narrative by our sociopolitical masters.

        What is with the notion that seems so

        Way to go, folks -- demonstrating the actual depth of the empathy that veneers the real nature of a lot of us humans who happen to call ourselves "progressives," having courageously abandoned the "liberal" moniker rather than fight for the position, people who are also weak enough not to contest the neologistigation of "Conservative" from a much healthier understanding to what rules today.

        I bet the Roves and Gingriches just love to see us dividing and also conquering ourselves with our pattycake strategies and battles over nuance and coalition and "policy" and our internecine "Obamawar." Go beat up a Senior TODAY -- that will move things right along, now won't it?

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 09:41:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Government of the people... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      by the people, and for the people" Of course we all know the poor aren't people.

      To be well adjusted to an insane society is obviously not a sign of sanity. J. Krishnamurti

      by lejaz on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:48:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uncle Sham is more like it (8+ / 0-)

    Phony patriotism should be called out wherever it's found.  Right-wingers can't be allowed to appropriate the flag for whatever mean-spirited idiocy happens to move them that day.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:03:50 AM PDT

  •  Just change the wording on the sign (5+ / 0-)

    with red spray paint as a social experiment. Change "entitlements" to "Social Security."

    Count how many old fart teabaggers wreck their cars while staring at the sign.

  •  I think Americans understand the word (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Cranium

    I just think lately there's an effort to play on it by politicians.  I don't think there's any real confusion.  

    That said, what a billboard!

    •  I sorta agree, however... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      The Republican Tea Party has done a great job of shifting the Overton Window on the word "entitlements".  So while I agree that most people can (at an intellectual level) distinguish between a program they've paid into (Social Security) versus a social safety net program (Medicaid), the Republican Tea Party has become very adept at blurring the boundaries for talking point purposes.  And, it's no small matter that the legacy media doesn't care to make the differentiation.  

      Tea Party manifesto: We're resigned to our collective fate because we don't want no stinkin' collective future with the likes of you

      by Richard Cranium on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:18:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wingmail recently received (9+ / 0-)

    "More people vote for a living than work for a living".

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:06:49 AM PDT

  •  Fantastic and dead-on. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    Justified anger does not grant you unrestricted license.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:07:56 AM PDT

  •  Bumper sticker on a neighbor's car: (5+ / 0-)

    "Fear the government that fears your gun!"

    I'm not even sure what the hell that means.

    •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rightiswrong, joe shikspack

      What it means to me is, if you think the government should be made to fear the people by arming the people, if you act on that you may get what you wish for, namely a government that recognizes an existential threat from the governed.  Syria is the result.

      •  I actually read it as almost a tacit endorsement (0+ / 0-)

        for political assassination with legalized weapons. Notice how nutbag slogans are coined with the intent of being just outside the reading comprehension of the intended audience?

        It allows enough ambiguity to not be responsible for those who try to act out the message.

    •  key word: "Fear" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rightiswrong, joe shikspack

      it's all about the fear.

      sometimes I fantasize about pulling up beside people with weird bumper stickers and asking them what exactly is going on in their minds.

      Here I am! I'm up here! Where are you? - the Red-eyed Vireo

      by mightymouse on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:28:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would take it to mean (0+ / 0-)

      ... that the government that fears your gun will try to take your gun away, so you should fear that and try to weaken the government. To protect your right to shoot shit, you see.

      Face it. The underlying concept for all of the pro-gun rhetoric is that the guns need to be kept to defend people from government. They add the term "tyrannical" to try to give the concept legitimacy, but tyranny to them is anyone requiring something of them, no matter how trivial.

      On, #Wisconsin! On, #Wisconsin! Stand up, Badgers, sing! "Forward" is our driving spirit, Loyal voices ring.

      by Mr Bojangles on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 08:26:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that meme smells to high heaven... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, howd, shpilk, RickMassimo, ashwken
    I wouldn't dismiss this billboard guy as a lone crackpot, either. TPM recently reported on conservative columnist Matthew Vadum, who suggested that registering poor people to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. I smell a meme.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:10:20 AM PDT

    •  US Military is a Socialist Program (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, jm214

      The US military is one of the biggest socialist programs in the US.  Wouldn't it be great if the billboard down the road from the one above was the same but instead of a picture of Obama it had a picture of a combat soldier.

      Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

      by howd on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:32:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  GOP has been using language as a weapon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, jm214

      for decades, playing upon the same fears that propelled the John Birch Societies rabid "Commie" baiting propaganda in the 50s, the KKK's rabid racism of decades past.

      Democratic politicians who do not spend time analyzing the motivations behind how this works, and unintentionally amplify this rhetoric of hate and bigotry are part of the problem. They need to be informed.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:46:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Nose Knows (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli

      Caught a segment on Neal Boortz, within the last couple of weeks, where he was advocating the disenfranchisment of anyone who voted for the current President; Boortz never did explain how this could be determined from a secert ballot.

  •  But that's what they ARE. (4+ / 0-)

    If one contributes to the Social Security program, one is entitled to draw benefits.

    Neither of my parent contributed to SS, so neither were entitled to draw benefits.

    I'm sorry there are so many dumb people in this country who don't know that words can have more than one meaning.

    But we can't allow Republicans to control our use of language and force us to operate on their terms with every word they don't like. We've already let them demonize "liberal" and they are on their way to destroying "progressive."

    ENTITLEMENTS is what they are and what I will continue to call them.

    Stop allowing Republicans to control the debate terms.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:14:23 AM PDT

    •  How could your parents not have contributed (0+ / 0-)

      to Social Security, Brooke?  I thought it was something that you had to do--like paying taxes.  I didn't know you could choose not to.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:29:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have to laugh .. (0+ / 0-)

      "But we can't allow Republicans to control our use of language and force us to operate on their terms with every word they don't like."

      This is what they have been doing for decades, using the same propaganda techniques found in the most heinous parts of history and adapting them to inspire racial and class hatred. They are EXPERTS at it.

      So many Democratic politicians are like innocent lambs being led to slaughter, totally unaware they are playing right into the 'game'.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:49:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder (4+ / 0-)

    if the guy who started this billboard stopped voting when he started collecting his farm subsidies, Social Security and Medicare.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by shoeless on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:15:58 AM PDT

  •  I think we should take the sentiments seriously (6+ / 0-)

    We can talk about ignoramuses all we want but the fact of the matter is that increasing numbers of people are coming to similar conclusions not because they are stupid or "bad" but for other reasons.

    The first thing to look at is the fact that Americans seem to be moving in the direction of alienation and narcissism. Disregard for the suffering of others is perhaps the most dramatic change I've seen culturally in my lifetime.

    Let's assume we mean by entitlements, say, collecting unemployment--how is that substantially different form corporate "farmers" collecting subsidies because of the fact that empty farm states have so much clout in the Senate? Yet, Americans don't think of the corporate welfare even though they know it exists. There's a profound hatred for the poor in this country--they can accept Wall Street criminals like Gordon Gekko--they think it's cool. But some poor junky on the street who was raped by father, uncle and brothers and is suffering, as a result, from PTSD that only heroin seems to relieve--that person is demonized. And what of her "good" uncle who lost his job when the plant closed down and moved to China--he is also actively despised by the self-satisfied watcher of Fox News and is quietly despised by those that watch CNN. That's the reality of life in this country, until we address cultural issues, progressives have no chance.

  •  Isn't farm subsidies an entitilement? (6+ / 0-)

    That Diary guy in Central Washington is a welfare daddy.  His "patriotic" father was deferred out of WWII to run that dairy IIRC.

    America, They were yours, Honor Them, Do Not forget them-IGTNT.

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:19:37 AM PDT

    •  Yep. That first story link has the details. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Damnit Janet

      A "non" vote in November equals a "yes" vote for the GOP. Please don't give them the pleasure.

      by here4tehbeer on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:29:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

      That't the funny thing.

      Farm subsidies are more like welfare, as you posit.

      Nothing the farmer has done entitles him to get these benefits, the government is making an active decision to simply give him or her the money or benefit based upon what they perceive to be best for society's needs.

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:51:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh yes the Uncle Sam billboard (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, myboo, Fed up Fed

    Every time we drive to Portland and I see it, I wonder how many farm SUBSIDIES that family has received over the years. I don't know that they have but sure wonder if they have.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:19:55 AM PDT

  •  Lord of the Flies (0+ / 0-)

    To be more precise:

    "Rick Perry is 'Jack' from 'Lord of the Flies.' We're all 'Piggy' now."

  •  I wish someone would put up a sign right next to (0+ / 0-)

    it that said:

    Oops!  Sorry, General Electric, General Motors, AIG, Chase, Citi,
    etc. ad nauseum and all your employees and stockholders.

    Well, you may not be able to vote, but thank God you can still contribute all the money you want to the people who don't want you to vote...

    The community of fools might be small were it not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:26:10 AM PDT

  •  Logic classes should be manditory (4+ / 0-)
    Many Americans don't understand the term "entitlements."

    Most Americans don't understand English or know how to logically look at a statement and break it down. First, knowing what all the words mean and then understanding their relationship within the sentence or paragraph.

    Of course they also don't know American history, world History, U.S. law or geography. All of which makes it very hard to debate anything with them.

    "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright" Curt Siodmak

    by Wisdumb on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:27:13 AM PDT

    •  You hit the nail on the head (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wisdumb

      The state of education in our country is reflected in our political discourse.  

      "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" - Isaac Asimov

      by sgtlejeune on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:31:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I forgot (0+ / 0-)

        they don't know even the  freaking basics about science.

        "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright" Curt Siodmak

        by Wisdumb on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:36:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And we wonder why Republicans (0+ / 0-)

      are against education ..

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:00:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no wonder there... (0+ / 0-)

        ..."keep 'em dumb and preoccupied"...

        it's the GOP way to subvert the population.. and, sadly, it's been working...

        For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

        by dagnome on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:15:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Special interests also have a sense of entitlement (0+ / 0-)

    They expect favorable votes from those politicians they support.

    Socialism (for them) is anything that disrupts the special interest fee for service contract with elected officials.

    Elizabeth Warren is locked on to special interest entitlement reform.    The first party to bring real reform to Washington will capture the gratitude of our corruption weary nation.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:27:41 AM PDT

  •  "That meme" is not emerging (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, shpilk, RickMassimo

    It has been around for much of the history of the United States.  Between the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the ascent of the likes of Ken Blackwell, that rather significant minority of the right wing (yes, they've been with us all along) that opposes universal suffrage tended not to get much visibility.

    We assume that the current U.S. political alignment is recent.  It is not.

    •  Yeah, I'm a little surprised by the shock. (0+ / 0-)

      For 30 years now, conservatives of my acquaintance who assume I'm in the club (because I'm a white, evidently straight guy) have been telling me that people on welfare shouldn't be allowed to vote.

      I really thought everyone knew this.

      Fight until we win. Then we can begin arguing about the details. - Kwickkick (RIP) 2009

      by RickMassimo on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:19:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was born in that area (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kinak, shpilk, Jen Sorensen

    and that damn billboard has been around since I can remember.

    I have had to drive from Portland to Centralia a number of times last year while my mother was passing away.  That billboard has been extremely nasty of late.

    Why does he feel ENTITLED to blast his opinion on all of us travelers?  

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:33:32 AM PDT

  •  I'd recommend this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Fed up Fed

    even without the cartoon, and the cartoon is brilliant.

    In my avatar, the blue bars show how many want Reps who COMPROMISE; the aqua bars show who wants Reps who STAND FAST no matter what. (Left=Overall; Center=Democrats; Right=Republicans.) And there's the problem!

    by Seneca Doane on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:34:46 AM PDT

  •  Should farmers who receive federal benefits be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone

    allowed to vote?

  •  Outstanding. This is extremely important (0+ / 0-)

    to hammer home, to anyone who ever makes it onto a 'radio talk show', onto any type of mass media outlet.

    Propaganda many times relies upon the twisting of language to create narratives, invoke emotional reactions that are based upon lies and deceptions.

    The smarmy, diadactic, moralizing tone of painting people who get SSI and Medicare as some sort of welfare cheats is ultimately just another play on racial and class stereotypes used by Republicans.

    I want to reach out and smack any Democratic politician that uses the term 'entitlement' to describe SSI and Medicare, not because they are using the word improperly, but because they are helping to propel a false narrative, and don't even realize it.

    Here's a perverse corollary: Remember GW Bush on the campaign trail, exhorting people about taxes that "It's your money. You paid for it."?

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:36:30 AM PDT

  •  More definitions than that (0+ / 0-)

    How about something a little less biased in a definition, such as "a government benefit guaranteed by law."

    I think something on that order would be better.  It also points out that "entitlements" are not some type of guarantee or savings plan, nor is it something received from hard work -- it is something which the current laws provide to you.  Those laws can change any day.

  •  Funny cartoon, but. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214
    Anyone hoping to preserve the social safety net should avoid the word
    Nope. Not this time.

    We gave up liberal -- a word derived from "liberty" that used to describe the dominant American ideology -- because some Republicans sneered at it. And what did that get us? Have "progressives" suddenly taken over government because we freed ourselves from the stigma of liberalism?

    We gave up welfare -- a beautiful word derived from "fare" and "well" (oh, the horror!) -- because some Republicans sneered at it. And what did that get us? Were we able to restore AFDC by calling it something else?

    Ceding concept names to conservatives is just the first step to ceding the concept itself. How about we fight for entitlements -- a descriptively accurate term for programs that payout according to statute instead of by annual appropriation -- rather than renaming them?

    With every goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down / but the search for perfection, your own predilection, goes on and on and on. . .

    by cardinal on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:43:13 AM PDT

    •  How about describing SSI and Medicare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myboo

      like GW Bush did with taxes ..

      "It's your money, you earned it."

      Seems like you are working to maintain the image of a horse in a barn that long ago lost "liberal", "welfare" ..

      "How about we fight for entitlements -- a descriptively accurate term for programs that payout according to statute instead of by annual appropriation -- rather than renaming them?"

      Find an American public able to understand that short phrase, and I'd agree with you. Most people do not have the intellectual fortitude to even get through what you posted without their eyes glazing over: it's what Republicans count upon, to get their message across.

       

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 07:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That Billboard is along I-5 just south of Chehalis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fed up Fed

    and the statements on it are a running joke.  We've been laughing at that redneck sign for years, wondering what tidbits of "wisdom" might be on display on our trips to the Puget Sound area.

    •  Come to NH, and you will find (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Delta Overdue

      plenty of normal looking people who agree with that sign at a gut level; I work with them, deal with them everyday.

      It may be a running joke to us, but to a lot of Americans, they believe 'the joke' because to them people 'receiving entitlements' are usually black, Latino, South Asian, or what they affectionately call "poor white trash".

      Underestimating the reach of such ignorant memes is what's driving today's TeaBaggers and John Birchers to heights of political power.  

      Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

      by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All over the country, apparently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Delta Overdue

        I accidentally posted the pundit who proposed this on a FB page for my home town (old geezers remembering our childhoods.)  The response was interesting - and reminded me exactly why I left that town and never looked back.  There were a few folks who lost jobs and are so broke they don't pay income tax, needless to say they had a different viewpoint.

  •  This has always been the meme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo

    Nothing new here.  The tea-party types believe with a passion that they are getting the short end of the stick, that "others" are getting a free ride and they have to work hard and get nothing and their taxes are being given to welfare moms and foreign aid.  The GOP and the right have always played to this belief (remember St. Ronnie's Cadillac driving food stamp welfare queen?).   I can't tell you how many times I have heard the statement that someone didn't get into the school they wanted or the job they wanted or something because of affirmative action. It is not really about entitlements, it is about someone else getting something that they aren't.  That and finding an excuse for why they have failed in life.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:08:17 AM PDT

  •  In many ways, this is one of the most (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, myboo

    important diaries I've ever seen on this web site.

    Propaganda, the mechanics of how it is used to motivate identity politics is what is making 90% of "politics" today. Republicans have mastered this propaganda: Most Democrats are totally incapable of even grasping the concept, many of them deny it even exists.

    The public is kept ignorant of the issues as corporate media works to conflate labels like 'entitlement' rather than discuss the realities behind the label.  

    Tune in even NPR, and you'll hear the word 'entitlement' bandied about by 'liberals' as well as 'conservatives', but only one group is using the phrase as a propaganda tool.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:11:31 AM PDT

    •  Republicans got a significant advantage... (0+ / 0-)

      ... when Murdoch and Ailes created the Republican Propaganda Network, but they chose to call it "Fox News Channel" to take the stink off it.

      this ONE cable outlet has done MORE to divide our nation than Joe McCarthy EVER did...

      sad... a Pox on Fox.

      For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

      by dagnome on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:19:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we're finally learning! (0+ / 0-)

    Okay, a lot of this is hindsight from someone over 60, but here goes.  I don't remember exactly when (during the Reagan administration most likely) or who said it (I'd LIKE to think it was Molly Ivins, but again, that might be wishful attribution).  The gist:  The right wing Republicans will tell you exactly what they mean, and the rest of us will think it's such a lunatic idea we brush it off, thinking they can't really be serious.

    Limiting the vote appeared to be such a lunatic idea after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, that things  like this, well, HAD to be at least wink-wink-nod-nod.  I HOPE we on the left are finally beginning to understand that they're really not kidding.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:22:31 AM PDT

  •  Social Security (0+ / 0-)

    Most people these days believe that they will never collect what they paid into SS.  Those people view SS as an entitlement in the negative sense:  Money has been removed from their paycheck, given to others, and they'll never get it back.

    Yes, those who are currently receiving SS checks and those on the verge of retiring are against ending the program; that's why the Republicans are claiming to want to preserve the system for them.  For those who are seeing that big hunk of change taken from their paycheck and told they'll never get it back, ending the program can sound pretty appealing.  Imagine how big your check would be without the SS deduction.  Imagine how much money you would have now if that money were never taken from you.  In these times of economic hardship for the working people, those arguments can be pretty persuasive.

    I'm starting to feel America again.

    by Shesk on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:27:43 AM PDT

  •  I so enjoy your comics! (0+ / 0-)

    This is another great one.

    Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

    by Debby on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:32:33 AM PDT

  •  My congressman says "entitlements" (0+ / 0-)

    should only be used to refer to veterans' benefits.  Everything else is a benefit from an insurance program.

    Guess which party he belongs to.

  •  I really like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fed up Fed, BlueJessamine

    how you provide additional context for your cartoons, Jen. Very cool. Adds an additional dimension to your work. I'm definitely a fan.

  •  Ben Stein went on record earlier this year (0+ / 0-)

    saying public employees should not be allowed to vote.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:12:10 AM PDT

  •  God I hate that sign. nt (0+ / 0-)

    Very few is able to beat thro all Impedements and Arive to any Grat Degre of superiority in Understanding. - Jane Mecom 7/4/1786

    by Fed up Fed on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:33:23 AM PDT

  •  "Only Taxpayers Should Be Allowed to Vote" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flight2q

    I just saw that on a bumper sticker.  Horrifying, and also pretty stupid - ever heard of sales tax?  You'd have to be completely off the grid to pay no taxes at all.  I think there is some kind of a push in the direction of limiting the vote, besides the disenfranchisement at the polls that's sweeping the nation.

    But this is what you get when you spend 30 years using the word "Taxpayer" as a stand-in for "Citizen".  It's bad enough that the Rs do it, but there's no excuse for our side.

    And, about "entitlements":  There's a difference between being entitled to something and merely feeling entitled to it, and that's what the wingnuts are playing off of.  I'm not ready to give up on the word.  As a society we need to decide that everyone really is entitled to food, shelter, healthcare and a certain amount of dignity.  

  •  We always check that billboard (0+ / 0-)

    when traveling between PDX and Seattle.  It's always awful in sometimes hilarious ways.

    My son went to Evergreen - they have a postcard of one of the rants:

    Evergreen College:  Home of eco-terrorists and homosexuals.  

    We sent them to all the relatives with the message:  Ben will be taking a double major.

  •  The word "entitlements" ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... was chosen (if memory serves) because those who were entitled to it were too proud to apply for it, as they felt it meant they were "needy" or "on the dole" or getting "assistance."

    The word "entitlement" encouraged fuller participation.

    At least, that's how it was explained to me.  

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 08:35:41 AM PDT

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