Lame Duck Legacy: Lies and Hypocrisy. Oh and women bashing for dessert.

Throughout the recent political campaigns for the proposals ranging from the emergency manager law to the attempt to block the building of more bridges from Michigan to Canada, it was very easy to get frustrated over all the misinformation shoved in front of our faces for weeks.  When did political advertising become such a game?  For candidates and proposals as well, the dominant strategy is not to inform the public, but to scare and confuse the public.  Each side avoids talking about their proposal on the merits, but rather seeks to frighten people into voting a certain way.

Think what would happen if commercial products were allowed to be advertised that way?  The FDA does not allow manufacturers to make false claims about their products.  Imagine if Aleve got on the air and said “You shouldn’t try Tylenol.  Remember when all those people were poisoned in Chicago?  It wasn’t Aleve that the terrorist used, it was Tylenol.  Aleve.  Not approved by terrorists.”

Where’s the FDA for political advertising?  Why should politicians and backers of proposals be allowed to lie to our faces?  I understand the importance of freedom of speech, but not all speech is protected.  We don’t allow the makers of snake oil to get on TV and say they can cure AIDS, cancer, and cold sores.  Why should we allow the Koch brothers to buy ads that say Proposal 2 would have put pedophiles in the classroom?  As soon as TV stations decided to sell out the truth for precious campaign dollars by accepting obvious lies as advertising, the collective bargaining movement was dead in the water.  What were the proponents of Proposal 2 supposed to say?  “We don’t want pedophiles in the classroom?”  There’s no way to effectively counter the biggest lies as they plant the seed of doubt in the minds of those who can’t or won’t see the lies for what they are.

It’s a lot like the birther argument regarding President Obama.  If the whack jobs say things often enough, those things become part of the collective knowledge of our society.  A student told me yesterday that she doesn’t trust the president.  When I asked why, she said “He wasn’t born in America.  Or at least I heard that.”   When I said that the president produced his birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii, she said “Still, I don’t trust him.”  So until there is some way to prevent campaigns for producing commercials that contain obvious falsehoods, all sides are free to say anything with impunity.

It wasn’t my intent today to focus on the November, 2012 elections.  My original motivation today was to discuss the blatant hypocrisy shown by the GOP in this recent lame-duck session.  The GOP seems content to keep telling the same lies all wrapped up in mind-boggling logical flaws and expecting all of us to accept them.  It worked during the election and it’s working now.

The two most obvious examples of their pretzel logic can be seen in the Right To Work bills and the bills to limit women’s rights.  The GOP keeps saying that Right To Work is good for Michigan AND for employees.  That ALL of us will be better off if people could chose to accept the benefits of unions without paying for them.  I sincerely understand how they make this argument.  I don’t believe it, but I would like to debate Right to Work on its merits.  The hypocrisy comes when the GOP exempts police and firemen from the legislation.  If RTW is so beneficial, why are we denying our police and firemen this valuable benefit?  Either RTW is beneficial to everyone as the GOP claims, or it isn’t.  Exempting certain groups seems to be a way to punish those groups.  Just what did police and firemen do to deserve such harsh treatment from the GOP?

When it comes to the women’s rights bills, which I think have the potential to be even more damaging than RTW, the assault on women by their government in Michigan goes on despite the national contempt voters showed in November for such actions.  Booting old white guys who think they can talk about rape and its effects out of office was a national trend, but here in Michigan, the GOP continues to assail women.

Here’s the hypocrisy.  The GOP disdains the poor.  They view them as a burden on our society.  They blame the poor for our economic mess.  While they continue to blame the victims, the real villains are allowed to keep accepting corporate welfare with no guilt or accountability.  So instead of allowing women easy access to birth control, the GOP is throwing up multiple roadblocks.  What will be the result of this crusade?  MORE POOR PEOPLE!  Women who can afford to clear the roadblocks will still get their contraception.  Poor people will not.

In areas where there are a lot of doctors, a woman can sneer at her “conscientious objector” health care provider and walk across the street to a professional health care provider who believes in the ethics of his/her profession.  In poor neighborhoods where doctors are scarce, what happens if the only doctor has decided to let his/her out-of-touch personal beliefs get in the way of providing contraception?  MORE POOR PEOPLE.

So as this lame duck session thankfully comes to a close, its legacy will be well established.  Lying, hypocritical, male chauvinism is alive and well in Lansing.  But maybe not for long.

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