Friday, March 11, 2011

Comforted by Weirdness and Delusion

Listening to Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty and some other Republican candidates speak at a political event (in this case, of the Christian Right) in Iowa recently, with their going on and on about American as 'the Exceptional Nation', etc, brought this comment by Chris Hedges in his recent book Empire of Illusion to mind:
We [Americans] ask to be indulged and comforted by cliches, stereotypes, and inspirational messages that tell us we can be whoever we seek to be, that we live in the greatest country on earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities, and that our future will always be glorious and prosperous, either because of our own attributes or our national character or because we are blessed by God. In this world, all that matters is the consistency of our belief systems. The ability to amplify lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, give lies and mythical narratives the aura of uncontested truth. We become trapped in the linguistic prison of incessant repetition.
The current rhetoric of the "weird, careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing [Republican]candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons" [to quote the conservative columnist George Will] seems to feed a certain strand of voters in our current 'culture of illusion.'

Forget about blessing us...God help us, please.

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