From the beginning of the saga of the oil leak due to the blunders on the Deepwater drilling vessel I have thought of a particular old joke. I think of it every time Thad Allen tells us lies, every time President Obama tells us lies, and every time BP CEO Tony Hayward told us lies. When they told us the lies about their so called estimates of the oil flow right after the explosion how many functioning brain cells did it take to know they were lying? Then they stepped up the amount in increments over time. All the while in the background experts from the very start were telling us the truth and not being acknowledged. We have now gone from no oil is leaking to an astounding ocean killing estimate of 1.47 million gallons/day to 2.52 million gallons/day which may go on for months. That is between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day. We know now the White House had this information from the beginning and knew this would be an unprecedented and devastating environmental disaster. Maybe they were thinking of the trauma the people on the Gulf Coast have already gone through and felt they could not handle all of this information at once. The problem with that theory is the people of the Gulf Coast know better than anyone not to believe what the government tells them. Who doesn’t know not to believe what an oil company says?
Here is the old joke:
A man is going to go vacation for a couple of weeks and he asks his neighbor to look after his house. The neighbor waters the plants, takes care of the pets, and watches the house. After a couple of days the man gets a phone call from his neighbor watching the house. The neighbor says, “I’ve got some bad news, your cat’s dead.” The man was very upset and in shock. He asks the neighbor why he would just break it to him in such a blunt way while he was on vacation and his whole vacation is ruined. So the next year when he was getting ready to go on vacation he says, “I’m going on vacation again. I want you to watch the house and take care of everything. If anything happens, don’t just bluntly tell me, you have to give it to me in small installments. I don‘t want any phone calls where you just call me up and say, “Your cat is dead.” Instead, you should have said, “Your cat went up on the roof.” Then, called me back later and said, “And, I called the fire department to get your cat off the roof.” And then you can say, “Your cat accidentally fell off the roof and he is at the veterinarian’s office.” And then you can say, “They’re doing everything for him they can, but it doesn’t look good.” And then, you could have called me and said, “Your cat’s dead”. That way I could have prepared myself rather than being so shocked. After the man was on vacation for a few days he gets a phone call from his neighbor, “I’ve got news for you. Your mother’s on the roof.”
The government has given us the bad news about the oil disaster in the Gulf the way the man in the joke wants it, he wants it given to him gradually without the full truth. We deserve to be treated like adults and given the full blunt truth. I have to wonder if perhaps they are feeding us information on the intellectual level of the Tea Party mentality because when they don’t give us the whole truth they are making a statement about who they think we are as a country? Do they think we are fragile, can’t handle the truth, will start a revolution, or is this purely for protection of political and corporate asses? Were they thinking we wouldn’t notice? Since we know we are pretty much living in a plutocratic country is the political system so geared towards protecting corporations that the lie machine is turned on for them anytime they commit an egregious act against the people of this country? The government has gotten away with these lies so many times in the past, but now we generally call their bluff and they are outed. If this disaster had happened in the 1960s or 1970s most of us would have believed them and those who did not would have been seen as being non-patriotic. What does it say about how our government functions? What does it say about who is really in charge of our government? Why would the President make an announcement that we were opening up off shore drilling when he knew MMS, the regulatory agency was a corrupt mess to begin with?
We have had the truth about much of what goes on held back from us for many decades. In fact they keep it from us by using what I call the “national security interest” card. If they don’t want the people of the United States to know about lies the government has told us they simply make the information classified. If it is really bad they keep it classified for decades after the incident. This is not new, what is new is the ability to disseminate information quickly so huge numbers of the population know we are being lied to. This is changing our society is profound ways. On both sides of our polarized political spectrum we are skeptical about everything we are told, we read between the lines, we are afraid of what we don’t know, and now know when they make choices for us as a country the motives are generally not morally and ethically sound. This leads to paranoia and crazy theories. They have not changed, this is how our country has conducted itself for a long time. How we react to this is dependent on who we are as an individual psychologically and within the systems we as a human beings live in intellectually, socially, faith based, and, politically. We as a people have changed and the system we live in is not working for us anymore.
Propaganda was for decades the opiate of the people in the United States. Propaganda is still being believed, it just isn’t the government’s, this is how certain groups are trying to gain control. The Tea Party represents a segment of the population that continues to have a need for that opiate substitute of propaganda. Those who can’t think for themselves will always have these needs. The types of people who are in the Tea Party movement are not new, we just had not heard much from them before our country was dumbed down so much. They have been profiled for recruitment by organizations who understand their psychology and are used by these organizations often to their own detriment. Their new source for their favorite drug now is not the government propaganda as it has been in the past, it is anti-government propaganda. These are very interesting times.