October 21, 2002

Stop Me! Before I Turn It On Again!

I did it. I turned on the television. I know what it does. I know it has the capability of instantly dissolving the brain at 20 paces, but sometimes I just get an irresistible urge and can't help myself. I turn it on.

I guess I was feeling strong, like it couldn't hurt me. Boy was I wrong. I was flipping around and came to C-Span. It was David Horowitz, author of "How to Beat Democrats and Other Subversives," talking presumably about his book and taking questions from college students. I was immediately zoomed into an alternate reality, and I didn't like it there.

Horowitz talked with a kind of swaggering manner, taking swigs off a water bottle, sneering, looking cocky and tough, though not physically so. Physically he looked like a liberal wimp, with a lot of psychological armoring. He rattled off a number of things in a short time with utter assuredness as though they were self-evident truths, and of course no one questioned them. I only saw part of it so I can't really say what the context of this was.

According to Horowitz, the Democratic party is controlled by leftists who took over in 1972 after Tom Hayden organized a riot in Chicago in 1968 that destroyed the Hubert Humphrey wing of the party and turned it over to leftists who still control it. They "have no respect for democratic processes," they use classic fascist political tactics. They are wealthy, $50,000-a-year and up people who have security systems on their homes, live in suburbs and gated communities and push for gun control measures that make single welfare mothers unsafe in the savage inner cities because they can't have guns, which is the only protection they have. The reason Democratic senators like Diane Feinstein oppose conservative judicial appointments is because they are afraid of powerful interest groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. The teachers in America are leftists because there was a purge of conservative teachers. Joseph McCarthy only called before his committee card-carrying Communists who were sworn to allegiance to the Soviet totalitarian slave regime...

Whew! Okay, moving right along I came to the second C-Span channel. Here I find a tormented looking Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of war. Wolfowitz is spinning a bit of logic that says that some day the Saddam Hussein regime will fall anyway, so it would be better for the suffering Iraqi people if it is sooner rather than later, so we should attack them.

In between I saw a plug for an upcoming C-Span show on which George Will would be talking about his life and his books. There he was in a small box on the screen talking, while this announcement was going on. That man has beautiful hair, for a man, especially for a conservative sort of tough-guy man. It said they would be taking questions. I wondered if they would let me ask the question about the theft of Carter's debate prep material that was used to help prepare Reagan for his debate with Carter in 1980. George Will allegedly helped coach Reagan for that debate, using those stolen briefing books, then went on the air as a supposedly objective pundit and said, "Reagan won." I wonder what he would say to a question about that.

After about 15 minutes I'd had my fill of television. Enough for this month. I don't really know Horowitz' work. But if he supports the democratic process, unlike the Bush mob, then I have no quarrel with him. If he opposes fascistic political tactics, like those of the Bush mob, then I have no disagreement about that. This was an alternate reality. Nothing made any sense in terms of the frame of reference I know. It just looked like the shallow, manipulated logic of propaganda, from someone who wants to influence people without really communicating to them. But it's encouraging that the terms he was holding up as positive values, underneath all the fractured history and ideology, were democratic values and opposition to totalitarianism.

I find it hard to believe he really believes in those values, hearing the positions and views he was preaching, but the fact that those were the principles he was espousing ultimately shows that those are the values that resonate with his audience, and I suspect in most audiences. Since those are also the values of most of the people I agree with, people he would label "leftists" and "subversives," then this is a basis for hope. Even the college kids who think of themselves as conservatives, believe passionately in democracy and a free society. Those are values today's Republican party are actively opposing in practice, though using the words to attract followers.

-- By David Cogswell

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