Americans have very short memories. As humans, we tend to recall unpleasant events as less heinous than they actually were. This mechanism, provided by our Creator, protects us from constant torment by horrible pasts. When recognized for its proper purpose, it’s a healthy defensive shield. But some will attempt to abuse this tendency for destructive purposes. Abusers of children and rapists will often attempt to overwrite memories of their horrific crimes with words of love and caring or convince their victims that the endless pain they suffer is nothing more than misperception.
Historical revisionists are joined today by media storytellers. Some are news anchors and journalists who rewrite historical facts in order to hypnotize the ignorant and uninformed with a distorted myth, hoping to overwrite actual experiences until the myth becomes de facto reality.
One example of this technique is the constant reference by network media to the John F. Kennedy administration as Camelot. Women can be certain that those years were nothing akin to Camelot for Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline, who was publicly humiliated by her promiscuous husband. Neither was the Kennedy term a fairytale for children who had to learn, drop, duck and cover in nuclear attack drills, and to think twice about eating freshly-fallen snow for fear that it might be radioactive.
Despite the long dark cloud of gloom and doom that hung over the country and the persistent turmoil over the Viet Nam war, many Americans have somewhat fond memories of Lyndon Johnson, despite his overtly racist view of African Americans. While LBJ is credited for signing the Civil Rights Act, most Congressional Democrats including 18 senators opposed the bill, while 80% of Republicans favored it.
Recent PBS television specials that chronicle the period, among them the dubiously titled, JKF & LBJ: A Time of Greatness, provide reason for suspicion that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution used by Johnson to justify the Viet Nam war, may have been a bogus invention enabling LBJ to portray himself tough on communism. It’s worth mentioning that PBS Managing Editor, Bill Moyers, was Johnson’s White House Press Secretary.
By far, the longest and most frustrating 15-month period of modern American history overlapped the last year of Jimmy Carter’s administration. In 1979, the most powerful nation on earth was held captive along with 51 kidnapped Americans, by Iranian thugs. Carter’s feckless mismanagement of the hostage crisis mercifully ended his presidency.
President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and America was soon back on top. Over the next twelve years, our military and economic strength revived. The Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall came crashing down. But then, Americans got sleepy once again.
In 1992, we were told a fictional story about “a man from Hope” (who was actually from Hot Springs) and we endured eight agonizing years of scandal, corruption, lies and incompetence. Corpses began turning up in strange and mysterious places where the Clintons had previously been. School shootings and terrorist attacks were increasing in number.
When the World Trade Towers were attacked, President George W. Bush sent terrorists hiding in caves of Afghanistan and underground holes in Iraq. The U.S. economy was recovering from Bill Clintons reckless spending sprees, but the mortgage industry was in terrible trouble. Democrats blocked attempts by the Bush administration to overhaul the mortgage industry and stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from hemorrhaging cash. Eventually we found out why, when Democrat Senators Evan Bayh and Chris Dodd were caught manipulating banking rules for their own benefit. The damage done by their reckless practices and policies cost homeowners trillions of dollars in lost value and created the recession we now suffer under. Neither was held accountable.
Once again in 2008, ambiguous dreams of “hope” and “change” carried voters back to Slumberville. The past eight Obama years have brought us more scandal, corruption, death and despair than even the Clinton years. We have an administration that not only refuses to enforce our laws, but actively promotes crime by rewarding sanctuary cities that harbor criminal aliens. Our military is weak, our economy is collapsing, our culture is diseased, and we are told another fairytale.
An unmistakable pattern appears over the past election cycles. When we elect presidents who promote good policies and inspire people, the nation thrives. When we elect people who embrace unjust policies and encourage retaliation and self-centeredness, the nation suffers. Principles and character make the difference.
Pundits and critics caricature the two candidates and muddy the distinctions between them. They make sport of a candidate’s personal appearance, choice of words and scrutinize insignificant traits and actions. While some of this may be entertaining, such pettiness undermines the importance of the choice we must make in November. Whenever we choose personality over principle, we all lose.
For the first time in American history, we have a presidential candidate who is known to have committed numerous felonies prior to the election, and who has put classified national security information at risk. She has repeatedly lied to Congress and to the public, and admitted that her mind “short-circuited.” There is no question that the principles she espouses would cause enormous additional damage to the nation.
In public conversations and in private, we hear friends and neighbors talk about why they don’t like this candidate or that one, or casually sweep away rational decision-making with the monotonous old, lesser-of-two-evils pretext. Meanwhile, partisan media hypnotists sing lullabies of fiction and fallacy to the masses hoping they won’t wake up before the November election. Stay awake and choose to make America great again.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.