Tag Archives: center-left

Losing the Narrative, Always

29 Aug

I don’t understand how or why normal people cede the narrative on cultural issues to the cynical-hysterical ultra-right. I’m thinking specifically about the Park51 non-Ground Zero non-mosque, but it happens all the time. The right wing noise machine starts out with its daily talking points, Drudge, Fox News, which then morphs to talk radio and occasionally blogs. By the time the day is over, many people repeat the lies as fact, and they become the basis of the debate. All normal people are left to do is to try and rebut the lies, but the damage has already been done – the narrative has been set.

That’s why we’re busy rebutting the notion that this is an evil victory mosque set up by an extreme terrorist sympathizing imam who is taking money from al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Muslim terrorist groups that don’t get along at all. It’s why the Republicans who are demagoguing this nontroversy frame it as not so much a question of religious freedom, but one of feelings. Oh, sure it’s legal and they can’t be legally stopped, they argue. But that’s hallowed ground, near the Amish Market deli, the OTB, and the topless bar. That place is sacred! – it’s two blocks from Ground Zero, around the corner from two extant mosques in the neighborhood. It’s not that all Muslims are terrorists, but all the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim!

It’s a load of reverse-political-correctness bullshit. Hell, Carl Paladino – the forwarder of horse porn and emails containing the word “nigger” – the guy who idiotically calls the Governor a “drug addict” – the guy who wants to herd the poor and unemployed into decommissioned penitentiaries – the tea partier who wants to create a nouveau New Deal make-work program – the guy who (also) called Shelly Silver the anti-Christ – the guy who thinks the poors are so dirty that the state should teach them hygiene – the family values bullshit artist who has cheated on his wife, and fathered a child she didn’t give birth to – the candidate who wants to turn “three men in a room” to one man in a room – the guy who likened health care reform to 9/11 (I thought 9/11 was too sacred to sully or politicize).

Aside: Just look at that list – it says a lot that an admitted madman (see Beale, Howard) who has said, done, and advocated the things listed above in just four or five months is gaining traction in the Republican primary race. Then again, Lazio is MIA.

I’m sick and tired of the center-left being on the defensive from the get-go on these types of nontroversies, and it makes me quite depressed about the state of our republic that this kind of bullshit can happen so easily, and with such formulaic regularity. Whatever we’re doing isn’t working.

Meanwhile, a New York cabbie with 15 years’ experience named Ahmed Sharif was slashed by alleged drunken douchebag/asshole/slasher Michael Enright of Brewster, NY. Sharif had answered “yes” when Enright asked him if he was Muslim. It may have been alcohol-fueled, but it was also fueled by hatred and fear. That hatred and fear, in turn, was fueled by vicious demagogues like Carl Paladino, Pamela Geller, and other fascists like the little peasant on WBEN at 9am.