I saw an interesting survey while watching the Sunday pundits this morning. The USA Today/Gallup poll was gauging the public’s reaction to Barack Obama getting elected president last Tuesday. The poll found that 67% of the American people felt proud that Obama was elected. And 67% felt optimistic as well. Gee, maybe God DID bless America.
But, wait. You realists are probably wondering about the rest of the public.
It reported 30% said they are pessimistic. And 27% even said they were afraid. I think I can relate to someone being pessimistic. Been there, done that.
More troubling though, is how would all those poor souls become afraid? It’s not as if there were prominent Republican types accusing Obama of being some kind of secret, madras-schooled, Muslim radical. There couldn’t have been good, church-goin’, uninformed pageant divas out there saying he was pallin’ around with terrorists or nasty stuff like that, right? It has nothing to do with the fact that on the Thursday after the election, Rush Limbaugh used the words “Obama” and “fear” together about six times in the five minutes I heard him.
I don’t know. I give up. I don’t have a clue why good authoritarian Americans would be afraid.
I DO know that, according to our favorite conservative with a conscience, John Dean, 25% of our population are Right Wing Authoritarians. His book “Conservatives without Conscience” explains how Right Wing Authoritarian personalities are devoted to their leaders, no matter where they lead them. The RWA personalities remain loyal followers, regardless of facts or conditions that would suggest to everyone else that new leadership is required. RWA folks do not believe that all people are equal, and they would even think totalitarian rule would be a good idea. One other interesting point about RWA personalities is they all consider themselves conservatives.
Not all people who consider themselves conservative are RWA, but half of them are. And they are very vocal and active, which is why it is up to moderates and liberals to be constantly vigilant, and not allow them power over the rest of us.
It’s strangely amusing to think of these loud, militaristic bullies and tough guys being fearful. But, since they are told by their leadership to be afraid, then that’s just what they’ll be. They march lockstep all the way, whether to glory, or to trembling, sputtering confusion. How odd.
The Bush Administration is the greatest ascension of Right Wing Authoritarians in American government. We’ve had them around for many years, but this is their pinnacle. We see RWA personalities from Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Gonzales, down to Libby, DeLay, Abramoff, and Blackwater CEO Erik Prince. And yes, we can’t forget John McCain and Sarah Palin.
We learn from John Dean and Bob Altemeyer, Dean’s source on authoritarian personality research, RWA personalities are revealed by their own answers to questionnaires and surveys. They share a number of characteristics. The Right Wing Authoritarian leaders are social dominators and are typically men. They oppose equality, desire power, cheat to win, and take advantage of “suckers”. They are pitiless, vengeful, manipulative, dishonest, mean-spirited, militant, and nationalistic. Their Right Wing Authoritarian followers are men and women, submissive to authority, aggressive on behalf of authority, conventional, highly religious, mean-spirited, intolerant, narrow-minded, hypocritical, moralistic, dogmatic, and highly self-righteous.
I would add that they seem to share the psychological mechanism of projection. They accuse others of the wrongful or undesirable behavior they themselves act out. There are numerous examples, but one of my favorites is Sarah Palin accusing Obama of being a socialistic “re-distributer of wealth”, while forgetting she bragged about taking oil companies’ tax dollars and re-distributing them through checks mailed out to Alaskans.
This all brings me to share a “special comment” with you. I was going to respond in the comment thread, but I feel this individual is entitled to some of the attention he craves.
I’d like to thank our conservative reader for his thoughtful comment.
You insignificant coackroach! How can you speak of stealing an election when you just won! This anger and irreverant stupid thinking is what keeps you detestable liberals in the hole of dispair. How is it possible that only Republicans steal elections? No, no fraud or misappropriations by the Dems, right? Obama was clean as a whistle regardless of his Chicago politicking and all the shady associations. You better understand the facts as they are my little "roach". Do your homework before you speak. Look at he election maps. The majority of the country is red! You may not like it, but conservatives can actually vote across party lines at times and when they really have indifference for their chosen candidate they stay home. Remember this my little pest: 57,000,000,000 that is the number that voted against the O man. It is a very fine line indeed! You Libs own nothing. The Hill in nervous and for good reason. I see red in 2010!
I’ll try not to let the flattery of his opening sentence go to my head. As a humble gentleman of mature years, I understand my insignificance in the big picture. By reminding him of a cockroach, I wonder if I am being complimented as a tenacious survivor of a great human cataclysm; perhaps something on the scale of the Bush Regime’s wanton destruction of human lives and the Earth’s environment.
But enough about me. Let’s return to our conservative reader’s own words and give them their due consideration. He was kind enough to enlighten us with his clear thinking and his probing sense of history and current events.
Let’s assume this is a question. “How can you speak of stealing an election when you just won!”
We’ve had eight years to practice.
“This anger and irreverant stupid thinking is what keeps you detestable liberals in the hole of dispair.”
Funny, for some reason I don’t feel angry right now. How about all the rest of you liberals out there? Do you think he read those irreverent words at the top of the blog? So Mark Twain WAS a detestable liberal, after all. If only Obama COULD bring some kind of hope to the liberals’ hole of despair. My, how our bleeding hearts suffer so pitifully.
How is it possible that only Republicans steal elections? No, no fraud or misappropriations by the Dems, right?
Good questions. How on Earth can this be possible? Republicans would never steal an election. They couldn’t purge voter registration rolls of thousands of eligible voters in Florida before the 2000 election, right? They wouldn’t crush the will of the majority of American voters by stopping the ballot re-count, would they?
Wasn’t it back in 2003 when Wally O’Dell, the CEO of Diebold, said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year”? It’s not like there was complete Republican control over those electronic voting machines, right? There couldn’t have been any tampering with those easily hacked and altered voting machines. Ohio Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell had no conflict of interest running the election, did he? He knew they didn’t need no stinking paper trail.
SO WHAT if one of the machines counted more votes for Bush than the actual number of voters?
“Obama was clean as a whistle regardless of his Chicago politicking and all the shady associations.”
If you say so.
“You better understand the facts as they are my little "roach". Do your homework before you speak. Look at he election maps. The majority of the country is red!”
Wow! Look at all the red on that map! You got me there, pal. If all those red acres of land had only voted for McCain, things would be different.
“You may not like it, but conservatives can actually vote across party lines at times and when they really have indifference for their chosen candidate they stay home.”
And this is why I dearly love thoughtful intelligent conservatives.
“Remember this my little pest: 57,000,000,000 that is the number that voted against the O man. It is a very fine line indeed!”
Fifty-seven billion, eh? It’s like you have one of those Diebold chips in your head, adding all those extra votes for the Republicans.
“My little pest.” How endearing! I’m beginning to like you, too. I am so happy you stopped by. Really.
“You Libs own nothing. The Hill in nervous and for good reason. I see red in 2010!”
Yeah, we libs own nothing. We’re just a bunch of socialists who share everything, air, water, public lands, parks, even our culture, arts, education, knowledge, experience, ability to think for ourselves, all that stuff you might think is worthless.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re seeing red right now.