Friday, November 09, 2012

The New America

In spite of my shock and depression over election results, I banged out a short piece titled “Reckoning” the day after the election. It focused on our looming financial disaster and voter ignorance about Obama’s responsibility for it, but there are so many other aspects of this electoral disaster. It showed us so much about what our country has become, and I’ll deal with another part of it here.

Those last three Obama campaign commercials really shook me up. They were appalling, and I thought: “Who would vote for a president whose campaign put these out?” I believed he would be defeated, soundly and deservedly, because Americans were much too decent to approve this sort of thing. They would be as appalled as I was.

But, alas, I was wrong. Obama was reelected.

The commercials were for internet viewers, not for television, and they were detestable. The first featured a young woman with a tattoo on her shoulder saying coyly: “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy . . . Before, I was a girl. Now, I was a woman. I pulled back the curtain and I voted for Barack Obama.”

I thought: “Wow. The Obama campaign is really misreading the American voter. This is going to backfire on them, big-time.”

But I was wrong. Obama reads America better than I do. How depressing - not because I’m inferior in my perception, but because of what America has become. I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was this bad.

The second, put out by, started innocently enough at a nursing home. “A Message From the Greatest Generation” appeared in text. Then five elderly residents appeared and the camera zoomed in on one: “Marie, 97 years old.” She said she was born during World War I and first voted for FDR in 1940. Then she said: “If your voter suppression throughout this beautiful country enables Romney to oust Barack Obama, we will burn this motherfucker down.”

Then another old lady said: “If the Republicans steal this election, I’m going to track down Mitt Romney and give him the world’s biggest cock-punch . . .” Then she paused and looked to her side saying: “What’s the matter sonny? You never heard that phrase ‘cock-punch’? Hah-hah.” Then she grimaced, held out her hand as if to squeeze something and said: “Right in the nut-sack!”

Then an old man said he was a veteran of World War II and that if their offspring let the Republicans steal the election again, they’re going to look down from heaven and watch them have sex.

There was a sick comedic attempt in this second one, but the third was deadly serious and the most shocking.

In it, a series of young girls begged their mothers: “Please, please, please vote for President Obama. Otherwise, your vote is a vote against me.”

If mothers were to vote for Mitt Romney, they would be voting against their own children, the commercial purports. Why? Presumably because Romney would appoint judges not supportive Roe vs Wade - the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision preventing individual states from outlawing abortion. Neither Romney nor Roe are mentioned, but the implication is clear.

Each of the girls depicted, ranging in age from about five-years-old to twenty-something, all beg: “Please make the right choice so that when I grow up, I can still have one.” What each aspires to have, of course, is an abortion. They’re begging their own mothers who didn’t kill them in utero to vote for Obama so they can kill their own babies - who would be their mothers’ grandchildren - when they grow up.

This is what my country has become and it’s why I’m so depressed. I’ve always known there were lots of Americans who think like the people in the commercials, and that their numbers were growing. What I didn’t realize was that they’re already in the majority. America has changed, perhaps irretrievably. The concrete of our Brave New World had set while I wasn’t looking.

My view had always been that when people became cognizant of what we were turning into and why, they would choose to reverse course - but that’s not what last week’s election showed us. Now I realize that most of my countrymen believe it’s wonderful and they want more of it.

The commercials may be repulsive to me, but they’re not to the new majority. They’re not ephemeral zeitgeist. They’re what we are.


Sad Sack said...

Good new for your depression, Tom - it is covered under Obamacare!

Unfortunately ignorance is NOT covered. You need to pop your bubble yourself.

Courtney said...

I wonder if Tom was outraged at Reagan when he joked about voting, and how "it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great."

Why bother mentioning the humorous ad with the old people when Obama had nothing to do with it? Is it the language that has you upset. Were you upset when Cheney was telling people to go fu#* themselves?

As for abortion rights, if the Republicans cling to this one they will never win another election.

And these ads are somehow more offensive than ones like Romney put with outright, in-your-face lies?? Like the claim that the car companies had plans to ship jobs to China?

The world has changed Tom. No more slavery. Women can vote. Now they can make choices. Things are getting with it.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you forgot to put the words "and Improved" between the words "New" and "America".

Texas Transplant said...

The political ads you saw (which I did not) obviously were meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I'll bet more were turned off by them than influenced. A Democrat is a Democrat and will vote for the party symbol every time.

I am depressed too, but we still have a system of checks and balances, and the sun will come up in the east tomorrow morning - God willing.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you are right on the money!

The electorate has spoken....there are more riders in the wagon than pullers.

Don't let the haters get you down. You speak for a great many of us.

Greg in California.

Steve said...

You speak for a great many of us.

But not enough to win an election!

More riders than pullers? Only in the fantasy filled world within the right wing bubble - where facts don't matter and stupid statements like yours are applauded.

Anonymous said...

Of course you didn't see the ad, Tex. It wasn't mean't for you or old farts like Tom. Tom heard about it from a pundit in the bubble and had to search it out so he would have something to rage against.

Alexander from Bartlett said...

I am with you Tom. It is sickening. The educated progressives think they improve something. Generations ago, Lenin called them “useful idiots”. I am afraid the ISS and NEA have accomplished their mission. The youth confuses forward and back.

Naturally we rarely run into move-on ads. We tend to stay away from that alternative reality, fed by alternative energy, forging alternative sciences to justify CO2 taxes, alternative life styles, ur lol.

I was on the other side of the Iron Curtain watching the hopeless decline of the West in late 1970s. Progressives rejoiced. Then all of a sudden the US came back with a vengeance.. Will it this time? Do they still make Thatchers and Reagans any more? Could they emerge from the twitting mob?

Probably the stagnant economy will eventually change a few minds. It may take decades if ever. After all, people are OK with being poor if the neighbors are not any richer.

Sad. This country used to be the last Beacon. No I am not re-emigrating yet, but not building any business any more either. What for?

Turning lights off for now.

Greg Benton said...

Yes, indeed, the vulgarity and moral bankruptcy do invite despair but, for us Christians, despair's not allowed. Our hope lies on another shore beyond this and so, even as we by, grace, labour for the triumph of good over evil.

We do have a precedent in 18th century England, with the movement led by William Wilberforce. He was the strength behind the abolition of slavery in the British Empire (when the 'underground railroad' ran across the border into Canadaa) but also for spearheading a series of laws that were aimed tirelessly against the debauchery and social stink that was so prevalent at the time.
His efforts, with the support of religious societies as well as that of faithful benefactors and parliament.
The result was something of a transformation in the public square that reached a zenith in the Victorian era and declined following the Great War.
Because the British Empire covered one quarter of the world's population, the influence of Wilberforce's spirit can still be found in the great Dominions as well as the more exotic places.
That stench was never really overcome, of course, it just went underground, hidden and where it properly belongs. Now, it has not only oozed up in public policy as well as personal and social behaviour, it has reached the level of an 'epidemic' because of the centrality of the media in this technological 'information' age.
Christ instructs us to 'name' evil when we see it and to repel it with fervour and conviction. Unlike the cowards who lurk in the shadows, we are not 'anonymous' in doing so but are known by faith and the fruit of our works.
You have named the evil for what it is and so has the Church. It is doubtful that our 'civilisation' will return to where it once was, at least in principle, but as Mark Steyn has said in response to the recent election, we can be energised and committed to keeping strong within our families, our villages and towns, and communities.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thank you again, Greg, for your perspective.

"Every square inch of the universe, and every split second in time, is both claimed by God and counter-claimed by . . . " well, by those who put out the filth to which we've been subjected for decades.

The best piece I've seen so far on this whole mess is posted below. It's by Philip Lawler, former editor of "The Pilot," the weekly newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese. He wrote the best summation of the degradation that unfortunate part of our Church fostered during much of the 20th century. He goes into compromises made by Cardinal O'Connell and then worse ones made by Cardinal Cushing in his alliance with the Kennedy family. The title is brilliant as well: "The Faithful Departed."

Here's Lawler's piece from last week:

The beast said...

Wow. Invoking religion..says it all, really, and explains nearly everything.
The height of hypocrisy and fraud.

Go ahead, claim to be a " Christian". But never, ever, forget this mo e simple phrase ----- what would Jesus do?

Would Jesus teach hate and prejudice?
Would Jesus condone the killing of innocent women and children as collateral damage in our drone wars?
Would he preach racism and intolerance?

You all would crucify him again if showed up.
Take a long looking the mirror and stop hiding behind creation myths . Grow up, in other words, and take some f&$@ responsibility for your decisions and choices.

What would Jesus think of all the small minded hate? The limited thinking? The willful ignorance?

Quoting bishops and cardinals is meaningless. So is going to church, if your going to act the opposite of how you are suppose to.

Anonymous said...

Take heart Mr. McGlaughlin

Many young people, Latinos, are fiscally conservative already. They don't consider the government to be a savior or an evil. They consider it a tool and are open to discussions about how and when it should be used.

I don't think the youth are interested in being preached to by religious conservatives. They will form their own moral codes. These morals may not pass the litmus test of the fundamentalists, but this is a matter of personal liberty. They aren't going to jump on the conservative band wagon if it is being drawn by zealots. They aren't interested in adjusting their world view to align with the "flat earth" crowd.

If you want their vote. You need to broaden the tent and make them welcome.

Good luck doing so and keeping the fundamentalists on board.

Jean, San Diego, Ca said...

Tom, I thank God there are people like you and Greg and others who help me maintain my sanity in times like these. It truly helps to know I'm in good company. I think it's strange so many hater's take the time to read and respond to your column. Who could be bothered signing up to receive your posts, reading and devising the most hateful, insulting responses. I'm thinking maybe they're New England residents who are bored and angry. Their liberal lifestyles have left them deteriorating physically and morally bankrupt and usually alone.They anonymously spew venom for one reason,JEALOUSLY! You and millions of conservatives can be proud of their accomplishments and the belief system they've instilled in their children.I will continue to read your insightful column. Thanks again for taking the time.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thank you Jean, for the encouragement to continue. The flak tells me I'm over the target.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thank you, Alexander from Bartlett, for a cogent post. As Greg Benton reminded me, we Christians aren't allowed to despair. Don't know your religious affiliation, if any, but it's not good for anyone.

Yes, I think there are Reagans and Thatchers still out there. However, it may have to get worse before a majority will listen to them.

Business cutbacks will continue because the "progressives" in the Obama Administration don't understand how the economy works, never having run businesses themselves. They're theorists, not doers.

It's going to be a rough ride for a while as they learn the hard way and we have to go along with them.

Mark said...

Is there another Reagan out there? If there were I think liberals would be more pleased than those on the radical right. How would they react today to a President that after seeing the error of his early tax cut reversed course and raised taxes many times? How would conservatives react to his expansion of the Federal Government? To the defecit that skyrocketed under his watch?

"Ronald Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes," historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan's diaries, told NPR. "He knew that it was necessary at times. And so there's a false mythology out there about Reagan as this conservative president who came in and just cut taxes and trimmed federal spending in a dramatic way. It didn't happen that way. It's false."

I know liberals would be pleased with a President signing the largest corporate tax increase in history, as Reagan did.

Face it, Tom. The loud, little faction of radicals that you champion are far removed from moderate conservatism like Reagan's.

Anonymous said...

Easy Mark, let them know gently. Inside the bubble Reagan still exists as someboy who would go along with Norquist's Never-Raise_Taxes, shrank the big bad government, and reduced the defecit.

Alan said...

Nice try, Tom, but we learned the hard way with Bush. We hated going through it, but thanks to Obama we survived.

The Trickle down crap has NEVER worked. Even a stubborn old guy like you has to admit that.

Steve said...

"The flak tells me I'm over the target."
Or over the village of innocent civilians.

Rick said...

What happened Tom? No comment on this old post -

I wonder if Tom was outraged at Reagan when he joked about voting, and how "it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great."

Typical and hide like a little sissy. Stick that head back in the sand Tom. Block your ears and hum.


buttercup said...

These weren't videos put out by the Obama campaign. To imply that they were is dishonest. Of course honesty isn't your strong suit.

As so many conservatives have said to liberals: Love it or Leave It!

Anonymous said...

After all that time claiming that the Polls were skewed and not reliable, maybe conservatives learned something. Maybe they learned that they are not so good examing facts and informational data, and will realize they are making the same mistake with climate change data. But then again, it is very hard to accept something that has been kept from your bubble for so long.

Done said...

Conservatives?liberals? Wtf? Wake up you pathetic sheep!

Oabma is facing impeachment for invading Libya without congressional approval! Justify that liberal. Or, justify Ndaa, you mindless hack. Please explain how Barry SHOULDN'T be impeached for fast and furious. And tell us all how it's ok to drop drone bombs in countries we aren't at war with? In addition, count the dead bodies of innocent women ad children in those same countries. That's your boy obamas handy work. A real,peace prize winner and constitutional scholar! What a f&@$() joke.

You are all helping to seal our fate by playing make belive with fake contrived corporately owned "political" parties.

It's embarrassing. Really.

Thank you for not thinking. Back to the tv I guess? Huh?newsqurr

YoungCatholicConservative said...


I am always surprised by the number of leftists who take time to read and respond to each of your columns with such strong emotions and ad hominem attacks. While I don't think any points of view will ever be changed over internet discussions, I do believe that internet encouragement can go a long way.

Keep writing what you're writing and speaking the truth. As a ripe 21-year-old devout Catholic and Conservative, I find your columns to be refreshing -- in the sense that they continually speak the truth which is so counter-cultural.

I am more than deeply saddened that I will never experience the America that my parents experienced during their 20s, but I am comforted by the fact that we, as Catholics, have a unique opportunity now to be saints. The path is so clear. If nothing else, the Obamanation has unified all U.S. Catholic bishops (on the HHS mandate) and has renewed Catholics' dedication to prayer, fasting, and the sacraments. Ultimately, Heaven is our ideal country not the U.S. ... so it looks like that's the country I'll be striving for as I enter my adult years. I hope to see you there someday.

Thanks for what you do.

OldSaneHippie said...


I am always surprised by the number of radical conservatives who take time to read each of your columns with absolutely noemotions other than mindless agreement. While I don't think any points of view will ever be changed over internet discussions, I do believe that mean spirited rubbish has turned the majority of Americans against the Republican Party.

Keep writing what you're writing and speaking what you want the truth to be. The real truth does not matter. We have our own beliefs within the bubble and we like to keep reality at a distance. As any naive 21-year-old devout Catholic knows, it is great to be able to bleat our approval at any old fantasy. I find your columns to be hilarious -- in the sense that they continually so far removed from reality.
I am more than deeply thrilled that I will never experience the America that was, one with little civil rights and with the strong influence of a church that bases everything on an old book some peiople wrote to control the masses. I am comforted by the fact that we, as sane humans, have a unique opportunity now to be good, decent beings to one another. The path is so clear. If nothing else, Obama has unified all bigots, wackos and unscrupulous money grabbers into a clear cut minority. Ultimately, fantasizing about floating in the clouds playing harps and seeing old loved ones is what keeps many people going. ... we do what we gotta do.

Thanks for what you do - which is turning people away from Republicans.

Rocky2 said...

[Amen, Tom. Sharing this gem which I saw on the web.]

Americans Are Becoming Marks-ists !

Congratulations, all you dumb Americans, Americanos, Amerikans etc.!
The 2012 Presidential election was won by you who put a Mark on a ballot and chose to give up your freedom for "things" offered by God-banning, election-cheating (and now back-stabbing) Marks-ists!
You may not know it, but the Mark you chose can lead you straight to the Mark of the Beast found in the book of Revelation (chapters 13 and 14) - and if you choose that Mark, the same Scripture warns that you will literally (and stupidly) be giving up your eternal soul for more "things."
Meanwhile don't worry, you ingrate Americanimals. You won't have to remove "God" from all 50 of your state constitutions or from your Pledge of Allegiance or your money because God is already removing Himself from YOU!

(Still with me? Check out the coming disasters revealed in Revelation that have your name on them. Also Google "The Background Obama Can't Cover Up.")

Anonymous said...

Let me guess? As a Christian your excited about Israel's impending war because AIPAC has told you so. No matter AIPAC is unethical and unconstituional. And I get that as a submissive you need a master, but the rest of us, those who don't like our country being told what to do by a pissant little freak show in the Mid East desert, and those of us who are sick and tired of our hard earned tax dollars (billions a year) going to Israel!!! You do know that it's unconstitutional as well right? Too bad the people of this country are so easily fooled. How about this. When you can justify our interaction with Israel, under our constitution, let us know.

Till then. I pledge allengience to th USA. NOT Israel. NOT AIPAC.

Wake up America. The Christian hating zionists have convinced the right wing Christians that they like them!

Wow....thanks Tom and all your American hating zionists friends. Betrayal much???

Peter said...

I, like most liberals I know, like to read and listen to media outlets like this one that put out far right opinions. But do those on the far right listen to anything outside their bubble? I tend to doubt it.

I challenge those on the right to spend 3 minutes watching a video that perfectly sums up my post-election feelings, and those of the many progressive folks I know. This will be a dose of reality that may be hard to take....

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton Compared With Barack Obama:

what IS IS & what ISlam IS !

Anonymous said...

Got to be honest Mr. McLaughlin, I have missed you editorials since the November 9 column. I thought that conservatives and Republicans might have a "Dukakis" epiphany after they ran their own failed Massachusetts ideologue Governor. Your incomprehension and misplaced reasoning as to why the Republican Party lost so badly to the Democrats gives me hope that there are many more defeats in their future. Maybe that's what it takes to get a functioning (and necessary) conservative element back into government. You can't drive a car with all gas nor can you drive one with all brakes.