One of the easiest adjustments to make as we re-work our psyches to fit the pre- and misconceptions of the New American Oligarchy is the one where we have to re-write history. This has become such a common tactic of the corporate media that it almost goes without saying but it can still come as a surprise when you’re not expecting it.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his party maintain that Washington policy plays a limited role in entrepreneurial success, and is often more of a hindrance than a help.
In pushing that theme this week, though, some of the speakers have left out part of the story.
In a convention floor speech Tuesday night, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin boasted that people rushed into her state in the Great Land Run of 1889 with only their own grit to thank, and no help from the federal government.
“And in 1897, eight years after the land run, a handful of adventurous pioneers risked their own money – not the federal government’s money – to drill Oklahoma’s first oil well, the Nellie Johnstone,” she told conventioneers.
However, Fallin’s characterization omitted major chunks of federal government involvement, including the Dawes Act of 1887 and other measures that forced Indian tribes onto reservations, freeing “open” surplus lands for white settlers. Oil later was found on some of that land. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided the method by which the land was distributed to settlers.
This is known as “history by omission”: not actually a lie, all you need do is leave out the part of the truth you’d rather people didn’t know. Of course the tricky part is understanding what parts should be left out and why – take for an instance, Gov Fallin’s little ruse.
Take that “we built it” theme. Sure, they’re lying about a selectively-edited phrase for political advantage. But why this particular phrase? Because the President was defending government’s role in building America’s infrastructure, educating its children, and improving its technology.
They don’t want those things anymore. The argument fell on deaf ears because GOP isn’t really the “party of business.” It’s the the party of mega-business, of globalized multinational corporations. Those corporations don’t need America any more. They don’t need its roads, they don’t need its technology, and they certainly don’t need its educated middle-class workforce.
Actually, they do need most of the things on that list – Eskow’s just being sarcastic – but they only want them when they themselves need them to increase profits, at which point they would like to have them done free. Which they usually are so you may be wondering what’s the big deal? Why all the drama?
What you need to remember is that in the NAO, only the oligarchy can be allowed an acknowledged responsibility for any positive development. Whatever they are not responsible for must either a) not exist or b) be bad. If the credit for a positive goes to any entity other than the oligarchy, it must be crushed ruthlessly.
Like the oligarchy, you don’t have to worry about re-writing history coming back on you as long as you make sure that your re-writes exonerate/glorify the corporate rich and denigrate everyone else.