In Tennessee Williams’s play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Big Daddy lectures his son Brick on mendacity and how it affects their everyday lives. Not the big blatant lie, but the little white ones that are used to mask the truth or hide the intent of the protagonist.
Newt Gingrich is a master of this art of deception. He has been a professor of history, so he well knows how to practice revisionism to suit his particular agenda needs. Yesterday he gave the commencement speech at Liberty University where he blatantly endorsed the racist and homophobic policies of the late Jerry Falwell, telling the graduates to ignore separation of church and state in public schools. More on Falwell in another column.
Since Gingrich is a totally amoral man I find it loathsome that he wraps himself in the cloak of morality. It is, in fact, how he got to power in the House. Let’s not underestimate him. He is a brilliant ideologue and tactician. He knows how to twist words so that they seem true. He needs to be monitored by a truth squad at all times, and that won’t come from the press. No one in the media will call him on his lies because they fear that their future access will dry up. Therefore, it’s up to you and me to call him on his lies and to embarass the media at the same time.
Here’s an example of how Gingrich manipulates the discussion. This morning on Meet the Press he was debating Sen. Dodd on Iraq. Somehow he was able to introduce the analogy of WWII into the debate stating “We won WWII in 4 years” as though it were gospel. He mentioned it more than once. He also knows that the statement is misleading (mendacious). It is to begin with a comparison of apples and oranges. He deliberatley omits why WWII was fought, or how it started, or what efforts it took by a host of allied governments to bring the war to a successful end. These are inconvenient truths to a revisionist historian. So are the Marshall Plan and Nato. Most people alive here today don’t even remember the war because they are either too young or were not born yet.
That’s just one example. there are scores more. Every time he opens his mouth he should be called on his misstatements. It’s up to us to do it. The mainstream media wont.
In order to accomplish this we must become more active. When an article by or about him appears in your local paper, you should write letters to the editor debunking him. If he is on one of the cable or network news shows you should contact them about his lies. If he is on CSPAN you should call him and challenge him.
The Republicans have been doing this for years and getting away with it. They need to take a dose of their own medicine. Who knows? If we can marginalize the entire slate of their candidates we may actually be able to take our country back with plenty of votes to spare.
Remember-if you’re not part of the solution, you’re a BIG part of the problem.