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Letters from Downunder

The Periscope View

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

(12/12) You may not realize the collective sigh of relief that rose up from the hearts and voices of the Australian people - most of them, anyway - when the election result was announced. It's not that we're particularly socialist or anti-capitalist, we just have to live in an isolated area of the world, rich in minerals and low in population, clever and mostly hardworking, that is on the western edge of the pacific, ready to be stomped on by a China that feels it has no option but to combat the American Hawks who cannot accept that their superiority will not last forever. This unrealistic viewpoint is founded on the notion that national dominance is far more important than the care of the people, of the environment, and of the cost to their allies and friends.

Having said that, I was reminded just how anti-democratic the republican leaders and big supporters have become. Not just mired in the murk of money, but openly indifferent to the citizens of your truly great nation as they seek their own betterment. This was highlighted by a press report on that wonderful (!) man Karl Rove who founded two large fund raising groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots, which raised and spent more than 200 million dollars on Mitt Romney's election campaign. Mr Rove is reported as saying, 'this was not a good return on the money spent.'

Since when was politics the fief of anyone who could get a return on their investment? When was it the same as buying shares in a publicly listed company, with the same capability of complaining to the chairman if the return was not up the promises made, and to your expectation? As I understand it, democracy is supposed to be the government of the people for the people - not just a few of them, but ALL of them. Of course this hasn't been true for many centuries, perhaps for all time - no system has actually done that, even though Voltaire art least thought democracy could - yet we have come to cherish the idea of democratic freedom as the cornerstone of our way of life. Why else keep trumpeting it, and trying to impose it on any country you think useful to you?

We have also provided one of the truly great specters of the age, Rupert Murdoch. (He was born here, to our everlasting shame - but more about that next time). What interests me now is the view the members of the far right have developed about the world and their place in it. I've called it the periscope view, because it enables the viewer see what they want and ignore the rest. Our esteemed editor could no doubt write a book about periscope views, as I'm sure he has looked though them from time to time, and could confirm that the idea is that you can see the enemy but they cannot see you.

In this sense, a periscope is a very useful device, especially in wartime. And that indeed is what we are engaged in, an undeclared and bitter war between the far right and everyone else. And it a war we have to win, even though the odds are heavily against us, with the goals of the enemy well hidden from view. Strategy they fully understand - after all, some of them are military leaders - and one tack is to use their acolytes as a kind of acrid smoke screen, urging them to become the loony right. This becomes the focus of critics, the despair of the majority of reasoning and careful Republicans, and all those slightly to the left, and keeps the spotlight away from themselves.

To put it in plain language, their goal is simple - power and wealth. Absolute power and absolute wealth. Nothing less will do, and the stratagems and smokescreens they raise to hide their lust are overwhelmingly successful. They learnt long ago that the way to brainwash the people was not the staged 'relearning centers' of Stalin, but the popular media. If you shout and deafen people with lies, if high-profile sports stars, celebrities from all areas and entertainments are seduced to commend them as the only truth worth having, then public opinion will swing towards the false and away from reality.

We have all been led to believe that responsible journalism is to be generally trusted, and for those whom 'responsible journalism' is an oxymoron, the promises of happy home and hearth is generally enough. Of course there is still a great deal of truly unblinkered, insightful writing, but how many read it? Certainly not nearly enough. There's just too many distractions, eh?

If this election proved anything, it was that the far right is stupid.

Looking at the populace thought their periscopes, they saw gullible fools who would happily trade their birth right for the mess of pottage offered, (to coin a phrase), have their civil liberties become tissue thin, die for their masters once more, and accept the monolithic totems to their power. Such would-be leaders see only what they want to see. And that, thank heavens, is their weakness - as their failed campaign showed.

For it is inescapable that you are not a stupid people, but ones who do care about your community, the environment, your country, its international relations, its reputation, and its ability to get back onto the track of grassroots progress. Not by making war, not by ravaging the life of other cultures, not by buying the lies and convenient half-truths spewed forth constantly, but by clear headed regard for the best person to achieve this.

No, President Obama is not perfect. He's surely the best there is, one who needs all the support he can get to prevent falling over the looming cliff of ruin that you face shortly.

The manic right will not willingly give one cent of their billions to see that happen. They want you to give your blood instead. They want you to believe that if they can be rich, so can you. I am so glad you, as a nation, saw through all this and were prepared to hold up a hand to them and say STOP! After all, you and I do not live in a submarine, not even a yellow one, but in the wide, wide world of love, caring, sharing and being responsible for our own actions.

So a Very Happy Christmas to you all - and a somewhat more prosperous New Year than you would otherwise have had.


From Down Under.

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker