Heard about a most interesting documentary that will be coming out this summer. Jen Senko made a film documenting the transformation of her father from a almost non-political person into a right-wing nut. For many decades the right wing has claimed their words have no effect on people. This documentary flies right in the face of that assertion as Senko studies the changes in media over the past 30 years:
As issues such as the Keystone Pipeline, environment in general and net neutrality heat up, here comes a study that tells us that the common voter really has little influence on their members of congress. Want to guess who does?
“I expected to find that ordinary Americans had a modest degree of influence over government policy and that mass-based interest groups would serve to promote those interests,” Martin Gilens, a political scientist at Princeton and a co-author of the study, wrote in an email to Al Jazeera.
“What we found instead was that ordinary Americans have virtually no influence over government policy and that mass-based interest groups as a whole do not reliably side with the wishes of the average citizen.”
Co-author Ben Page described an oligarchy as “rule by a small number of wealthy people,” citing the definition of political scientist Jeffrey Winter. But Page cautioned against declaring the country an “oligarchy” just yet.
“Our findings are consistent with the U.S. being an oligarchy but don’t prove that to be so,” Page said, adding that “oligarchy is increasing as economic inequality increases and Congress and the Supreme Court dismantle regulations.”
Additional interview here.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell
The recent phenomena on the right of rewriting history has disturbed me for quite a while. The rewriting of Ronald Reagan’s presidency to make him into a president he never was is bad enough, but the crazy attempt to reshape the founding of the United States as a christian country is beyond the pale. What is really galling is that this false history is then taught in some of the evangelical schools. How can we expect our society to go forward if we do not have as close to a true picture of our past as we can get? Making up history to fit today’s purpose is a disservice to our future.
One of the most egregious I have seen recently is the narrative on abolition pushed by Jim DeMint at the far right tank American Enterprise Institute. Apparently this is a new right wing talking point. Go to Salon and read this short story on the right being as wrong about history as they are about the present.