Myth-making and Our Election Year Narratives

Most pundits have been wrong in their forecasts‘«™ and in their interpretations

By Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: February 8, 2008

Myth-making and Our Election Year Narratives

In this election, there should be but one issue on the table: what will be the relationship between the president and the people and laws of the United States? Within the context of 2008, this means asking the contenders: Does the United States ‘«Ű does the U.S. president ‘«Ű have the right to wage permanent preemptive war against any and all
nations and do the nation's laws apply to the executive branch of government?

Currently, under the guise of "the war on terror" this administration has given itself the right to attack, invade and/or occupy any nation on earth, for any reason. This has resulted in the creation of secret government ‘«Ű with no checks and balances ‘«Ű and without the consent of the people.

Rather than the media pressing the candidates on this topic, pundits and pollsters have transformed themselves into modern soothsayers and omnipotent cultural interpreters on the meaning of who voted for whom ‘«Ű by age, race, ethnicity, education, class and gender. As a result, they've become mythmakers, drawing conclusions about how different peoples think, what they believe and how they vote ‘«Ű often pitting one group against another, etc. What has not gone unnoticed is that most of these pundits have been wrong in their forecasts‘«™ and in their interpretations.

This is happening at a time when this never-ending war has given this president and all future presidents special "war-time" powers that have resulted in the loss of Constitutional rights, such as the loss of privacy; the right to free speech; freedom of assembly; a fair trial; habeas corpus; the right not to be unlawfully detained or tortured; the right not to be spied on the right to freely associate with anyone; and the right to freely travel ‘«Ű without being on secret government watch lists.

The bedrock principles of this society have been completely upended, including and especially the precept of innocent until proven guilty ‘«Ű and yet ‘«Ű the candidates are not being questioned about this. Under the precept of "you're with us or you're against us," this administration has created this "us against them" mentality and environment. All this is predicated on fear, hate & blame. This has created a scramble to define who is "us" vs. who is "them." So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that currently, it is Arabs/Muslims‘«™ and Mexicans who are on the outs. These groups are nowadays not simply seen as "others," but also as "enemies." At best, they [Mexicans] are seen as subservient populations.

As the political rhetoric is turned up ‘«Ű especially in the fall election ‘«Ű the "us" category ‘«Ű fanned by hate radio ‘«Ű will shrink to the point where only right wing white Christians will fit in this category and only right wing white male Christian candidates will be viewed as acceptable presidential candidates. (This is why Mitt Romney will never win the office of the president, even in 2012 ‘«Ű because Mormons are not part of the "us" category).

Despite this, the mainstream media would rather focus on topics of pantsuits, likeability, appearances, their hectic schedule, their vocal chords, their electability, instantaneous polls and the fundraising prowess of the candidates.

This election should be about the candidates explaining their positions on the notion of the United States as a "nation of laws"‘«™ and about these politics of dehumanization. It should be about the future of the nation and the future of humanity. It should be about
their positions on transparent government and about a government with checks and balances.

Utilizing this lens, virtually all Republican candidates, except Ron Paul, would be disqualified. McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, envisions being in Iraq for 100 years, and like his ultranationalist anti-immigrant brethren from the GOP, the primary campaign has seen him, Romney and Mike Huckabee shift radically to the right on the
issue of immigration. While Paul is the only Republican who is not a war-monger, his views on civil rights are suspect and his stand on immigration is little different than Lou Dobbs.

What about the Democratic contenders?

On top of their views on the legality of the Iraq War and the so-called "war on terror," they should clearly define their positions in regards to this administration's assault on the Constitution. They should explain how they will reverse that assault and how they will roll back the illegal powers that have been amassed by this administration. That's how all candidates should be judged; all else is but a distraction.

(c) Column of the Americas 2008

About Roberto Rodriguez:
The writer can be reached at or 520-743-0376.
Column of the Americas - PO BOX 85476 - Tucson, AZ 85754

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