It started almost 50 years ago, when even I was a kid. The assassination of JFK shook people’s faith in stability, but it took the Warren Commission report to shake their faith in government. The book-length report put out by that commission was so obviously nonsense that about 2/3 of America didn’t even believe it. Considering that the folks of Middle America of the 60s would be considered ultra-patriotic and right-wing today, that’s pretty damning.
And by now, the U.S. Government has so little credibility left that it’s hard to understand how anyone still believes what they have to say. That’s borne out by the statistics. According to the Gallup Poll people, “49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens” (emphasis ours). Pew Research says that 86% of us are either frustrated or angry with the Federal government.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is tapping into this anger; the protests are spreading all around the world, and the supposed “filthy hippies” at the core are being joined by plenty of ordinary citizens who have simply had enough. On the other side of the political spectrum, you have the Tea Party, which is essentially the same frightened anger at what the government has become. Our politics are such that the two groups seem to loathe each other, even though they’re fighting the same common enemy in many ways.
When government gets too big and scary, what does it look like? Maybe the FBI recording your calls to radio talk shows or investigating your Twitter feed. Perhaps the government taking a peek inside your car whenever it likes. Maybe just making fake maple syrup a Federal crime (so what are you in prison for, pal?). Or perhaps suspending the First Amendment, as we’ve seen this week.
I deliberately listed stuff that most people wouldn’t know about yet, just to get your attention, because we’re already used to (and we put up with) things like X-ray scanning and “enhanced pat-downs” from the TSA, and we’re going to have to get used to the same kind of security at football games soon, and eventually perhaps we’ll have to go through metal detectors to get on a city bus. Unless we change things.
The Federal government is big enough and rich enough to do what it wants, and when it wants to lie, it lies big. This is called propaganda, and it is another name for “repeated official lying in order to get a majority of the public to believe what we want them to”.
As just the simplest example, take the government’s repeated canard that “there’s no medical uses for marijuana” despite them providing it to patients, patenting it, and acknowledging medical uses for marijuana. Lies don’t get much more bald-faced than that.
Remember, they’re wasting our money on this nonsense.