To some extent, we're looking at a few of the same struggles here in Canada that you are facing in the United States. However, we are not in an election year right now, so a lot of us up here are watching how the wind blows in the USA right now, to see what's going to become of our biggest trade partner, and our closest neighbour.
Sometimes it seems so futile. It feels like progressives in the USA and North America are fighting a horribly lopsided uphill battle to win hearts and minds, but who are we really fighting against? The people we're fighting against believe that what they're doing is right, but why? How do the myths about government remain propagated?
It's extremely complicated, which makes it hard to talk about in any meaningful way. Are huge corporations to blame? Yes. Are the wealthy owners of those corporations who outsource and downsize to maintain the bottom line to blame? Yes. Is the media to blame? Yes. Are we to blame? Yes.
Wait... what? We need to stop, slow down and look at what's being fed to us. These discussion boards are a good example. We're so busy jumping on every little mistake that a candidate makes (moaning about an Obama misstep and crowing over a Romney misstep) that we're missing the big picture. The small things like what the pundits on Fox think, or Rush Limbaugh's latest calamity are the birdie.
And we're watching the birdie.
In the mean time, corporations are buying and selling our lives using politicians as puppets. We can't even have a meaningful discussion without some of the basic assumptions we've been working with changing drastically. For example:
The government should be run like a business. A successful businessman would be a successful president and lead to a successful country. Except... no.
The right can argue until they're blue in the face that the problem with government is that it's not run more like a business, but that will never make it true. But this is one of the basic assumptions in many discussions. It needs to be broken down, and we need to be able to actively and intelligently say "No. And here's why..."
Taxes are socialist, and lower taxes will allow "job creators" to create jobs. But... also no.
When taxes on corporations and the rich are essentially gone, and there are still no jobs, the fix is in. In countries with far higher tax rates, there are effective and functioning social safety nets. This one goes hand in hand with the profit assumption from the first example. Are social programs profitable? Of course not. Should they be? Of course not.
The Tea Party and many of the regressive policies of the current crop of republicans are in place to break down the relationships between people and encourage everyone to look out for number one. The social contract is breaking down entirely. Everyone's out for their own interests, even if those interests are at the expense of the common good or society at large. Devotees of Ayn Rand are pouring toxic sludge into the mental environment, and we need to work our absolute hardest to clean it out.
Sorry, this was long, rambling, and possible incoherent and directionless. I just needed to get some of this off my chest. We can't allow ourselves to be distracted by the birdies that are going to always be shoved in our faces. Educate yourself. Make sure that everything you say is backed up in fact. As you know, reality has a strong left-wing bias!
Now, I know people throw "Orwellian" around a lot, and half of them have absolutely no idea what it means. And what they're usually missing is the bit of speech from O'Brien near the end of the novel. Big Brother and The Party don't want power as a means to an end, they want power as the end.
The GOP has completely trained their followers that power is the end, not the means. It's far more important that their guy is in the White House instead of the other guy, even if they -hate- their guy.
My in-laws live in Houston (I'm Canadian). I was in Houston just before W got elected for the second time. I had the opportunity to ask a bunch of people why they'd be voting for W. Most of them -hated- W, but their answer was always the same: It's better than the alternative. They didn't mean Kerry, of course, they just meant "the other guy." It could have been a cross between Jesus and Einstein, but if he had a D after his name, better to have our guy in there.
This is the defining quotation from 1984:
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?
It has nothing to do with constant surveillance or freedom of speech or starting false wars. Those are all just symptoms. Those are just the ACTIONS that are taken in order to reach the GOAL, which is power.