We are all used to seeing and hearing of the policies and intentions of the far-right, and sadly it has become all too common to hear some of these policies repeated in a mainstream environment. It is bad enough that there are moves within law and order, asylum policy, pension and healthcare provision and benefits payments to become less exclusive, however to see the same rules being applied to education is chilling in the extreme. Creationism I have come across, the movement to promote it in the US has had an effect on the smaller Christian fundamentalist community over here who have begun lobbying for it to be taught in schools. Intelligent design was the next step, attempting to pervert scientific theory to back up a doctrine that has precious little factual basis and even less relevance.

There is no surprise that such religious fervour comes from the U.S. one of the most fundamentalist nations on the planet, just as one would not be surprised to hear Islamic views of a more conservative nature come from Saudi Arabia or Iran. I have heard much criticism from the Western world as to how the Islamic states and the Islamic faith discriminate against women. Much of this comes from what appear to be poor and selective readings of Islam or simply the interpretation of extremism as the norm rather than the exception.

Never has the hypocrisy seemed so acute as when I found out from National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People about LB1024 in Omaha, Nebraska which is a law to divide up school areas whose implementation will be very likely to reflect racial boundaries. It is again no surprise that a staunchly conservative and reactionary state such as Nebraska should be the first to run with such a plan but it is astonishing that this has not been thrown out by the legislature at some level. There is a word in Afrikaans that is familiar to most people that best describes racial segregation. The word is apartheid. However Nebraska’s record on segregation has not been exemplary. The U.S. Court of Appeals in 1975 found that Omaha Public Schools were segregated and therefore in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Subsequently Omaha Public Schools operate under a federal court order to desegregate until 1984 and continue to work on desegregation plans including bussing until 1999.

Of course whilst our education systems on the whole have done some work over the last 20 years to instill in us a degree of tolerance of the race of others the pressure to continue this tolerance in later life is rarely reflected. Some deference is made to equality in so far as it is enshrined in law that if you are caught exhibiting discrimination in public you can be liable to censure, however so much of our society continues to enshrine discrimination and fractionalisation. The demonisation of communists, trade unionists, homosexuals, asylum seekers and muslims to name a few over the last 20 years only goes to show how little tolerance society is prepared to show.

It does however concern me that there should need to be a National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, it seems to play perfectly into the hands of the right-wing who will claim that if you had a society representing the white community that there would be uproar. Whilst they may feel they have a point this argument can be easily countered by the accusation that white people do not need such an organisation because mainstream society works for their advancement anyway. This is only partially true of course and herein lies part of the problem, because there are a great many white people for whom society does not work in fact because there are precious few groups to represent the poor and the dispossessed who do not constitute a minority interest for the politically correct to lobby. I understand why a group like the NAACP exists, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable because it’s very raison d’etre acts as a constant reminder to us in society that we have continued to fail to address centuries of inequality and whether it be on grounds of creed, colour, gender or financial circumstance discrimination in our society is not only alive and well but in fact thriving. As somone on the political left I feel that assistance and empowerment should be as colour blind as the society we are hoping to create.

I cannot see the USA changing whilst bigots like Bill O’Reilly are allowed to spout lies masquerading as news on mainstream television. O’Reilly is an especially billious imbecile who thinks nothing of throwing his toys out of the pram if anyone should dare express a view that differs from his extreme right-wing ones on his program. In the case of Jeremy Glick, signatory to a US anti-war petition and son of a Port Authority worker killed in the 11th September bombings, O’Reilly thought nothing of bringing his father and mother into the debate, despite knowing of course neither of them, he presumtuously claimed that Glick’s father would not agree with his far-left views. Glick managed to retain his composure far more than O’Reilly and most non-brainwashed people would have said that the factual moral high-ground belonged unequivocally to him. After the program the producer and assistant producer told Glick to vacate the building because O’Reilly was liable to get violent if he ran into him. The next day O’Reilly was allowed to issue a sucession of lies pertaining to be a representation of Glick’s views with no right to reply.

This is not news, this is not even reasoned commmentary, this is simply a vehicle for fascism.

If you think that such a partisan news station cannot have any real impact on a democratic society I suggest you look a little closer at the facts. In 2000 when the US presidential election hung in the balance at 2am it was George Bush’s first cousin John Ellis, in charge of Fox News election night coverage who decided to go with the story that Bush had won the state of Florida. Shortly afterwards NBC/CBS and ABC all followed suit and predicted the Bush victory. Events over the following weeks have proven that there was no factual basis for Ellis’ assertion, the Associated Press stance at the time was that it was still too close to make any call, however the implications of Ellis’ actions couldn’t be more profound. In classic propagandist mode the perception, wrongly, became that Bush had won the election and therefore people were less inclined to question when the result was superimposed on them later.

Add to this the results of a recent survey in the US:

  • 33% of Fox viewers says WMDs were found in Iraq (11% of PBS viewers thought this was the case)
  • 67% of Fox viewers thought links had been found between Iraq and Al Queda (16% of PBS viewers thought this was the case)

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.” – George Orwell.

The trouble is there seem to be many groups who believe that the way around this is to protest outside Fox News offices saying ‘Down with this sort of thing.’ The vast majority of Americans just go on taking their medicine oblivious to there being any problem. Fox News is no more likely to give up partisan reporting than Bush and the right-wing fanatics to follow him will want to give up political power. And one serves the other. If you want the situation to change you and me are going to have to do something about it.

It is not just the US that is experiencing this stranglehold on objectivity, the inexhorable rise of the British Conservative party backed up by the Murdoch press is almost a mirror image of the US situation in 2000. The reason the rise of the British Conservatives is so remarkable is that they are garnering support without actually putting forward any policies. This is the most dangerous sort of political movement because it provides the same sort of political blank cheque that was given to Thatcher in 1979 and Reagan in 1980. And look at the shit that got us in!

Song Of The Day ~ Macy Gray – Do Something

Original Comments:

Inquisitor made this comment,
Damn good article. Good to see that this site is still kicking where it ought to hurt.
-Redbaron responds- Thanks Inquisitor I appreciate that. Who knows, one day if we keep plugging away…-

comment added :: 3rd July 2006, 15:38 GMT+01 :: http://the-heretic.blogspot.com/