While flipping through the channels a few days ago, I noticed a title flash across the bottom of the screen of Fox News, asking me, after they were done giving their "fair and balanced" report, to consider answering the following question: "Is the Obama presidency still relevant?"
This question was posed after a segment covering the latest CNN/ORC poll showing Obama leading by 6 points among voters. A huge chasm between reality and an alternate possible universe ripped itself open in front of me as I tried to figure out the intention of such a bizarre statement on a news station. I came up with something like: "Don't like the poll? Don't worry, the man in office is a big fraud anyway, and is probably rigging the system and the rest of the mainstream media to win! Just don't pay attention to that thing in the Oval Office."
It's hardly news that Fox is ideologically-driven to build a reality-show-like audience with stuff that is "made up." It doesn't just report the news. However, this "news" segment is a major indicator of our fractured society.
Part of society, it seems, has broken away and disconnected with this dimension to a parallel universe. It is floating into an abyss that warps even the coherent, time-worn tools of basic logic. Incrementally, small groups of the American electorate have coagulated into one amorphous, opaque blob, held together by irate passions, half-baked opinions, political power grabs, and a distain for anything that has developed socially or politically in the past 50 years. Over this past decade, this blob has begun to fracture from mainstream America, choosing newer, more convenient points of authority on religion, societal norms and standards, and science.
These new authorities differ greatly from the other landmass of the American electorate, and indeed, most of the advanced, industrialized world. You know … the world that respects these advancements as hard-fought-and-won political and social breakthroughs and achievements that form the baseline of our common understanding of humanity and the world? Where is this ever-growing blob of nonsense headed?
This parallel universe in which the blob grows and feeds looks deceptively the same to us. It exists inside the minds of those who fall prey to its power of simplistic persuasion. It is a collective psychosis that is slowly gobbling up and corrupting the political, cultural, and social institutions that are stitched together to form the agreed-upon fabric of American society. It's a psychotic evolution into a destructive beast that is unfamiliar to a modern society of 2012.
It is an America where 30%-34% of Republicans and 17% of the general population think that President Obama is a Muslim; an America where he can paradoxically exist as both a "crony capitalist" and a socialist. It's where Barack Obama's presidency is destroying America and yet it is framed as "irrelevant." In fact, the president isn't even American. We actually need one of those to do all of this "really big stuff," like fix our economy. It's where 47% of Ohio Republicans aren't quite sure if the president killed Osama bin Laden, and 15% believe it was actually Mitt Romney who did so. It's an America where campaigns vehemently denounce fact checking.
This American blob is run by a party that tokenizes its minuscule base of minorities by showcasing the relatively few leaders it can find to compensate an 89% white voting base. They proudly call this "diversity." Criticisms of a diversity deficit are thereby negated by this stimulating, visual effect of a window dressing parade to insulate it from true inclusion. In fact, the dimension of reality of having 0% of the black vote is glossed over, and voter suppression at the polls is reasoned as protecting the rule of law, not suppressing democratic rights.
It's an America where, instead of voting, blacks should demand a paycheck instead of food stamps and not take away the hard-earned money of blue collar, factory-working whites. Past events like the Southern Strategy, voter suppression techniques, the anti-civil rights legislation movements of the 1960s, and the continued and persistent exclusion of minorities through vitriolic or mean-spirited, short-sighted, divisive and antidemocratic policies don't exist. The lopsided support deficit seems to exist because competitors pander to, use, and abuse their huge minority base for political gain by offering policy candies, playing mommy with a simple "of course you can!" attitude. It's definitely NOT their "us" versus "them" ideology. Clearly, someone else is to blame.
Also, women who use birth control are sluts, gays are nothing more than "steamy whore$," women have little ninjas inside their uteruses to fight off rape sperm, and minorities are simply welfare queens. The Muslims are invading and itching to impose Sharia law on the United States, and suppression of the freedom to worship is justifiably proposed.
This is a foreign world in which critical thinking skills are posited as evil and liberally-indoctrinating. Agreed upon societal consensuses established generations ago are subject to dismantling and destruction (read: abortion rights, the supremacy of evolution, climate change, equal voting rights, pollution regulations, the separation of religion from influencing the public domain, etc.). An America where some are insulated from criticism because intolerance is confusingly redefined as rejecting intolerant views, and the tools of logic are bent and thrown back at you. Where false equivalencies reign because the other side does it, too. This very idea of fairness and equality in laying blame is conveniently used to silence and slice apart the blob's enemies.
This blob believes in an America where invisible feelings and belief systems of some overwhelmingly try supplant the rational process and written documents upon which this country was founded. In fact, there is a state-sanctioned religion.
Most interestingly in this exercise, we find a grand struggle over the supremacy to define an "American" and find the original intent of America's founders. These ideals are monopolized by radicals who carve out enclaves of their own authenticity. They then condemn and humiliate those who disagree or challenge their asserted monopoly on this "authority."
It is a strange place where men easily know the difference between good and evil, parsing out and defining who constitutes a traitor and who is a patriot. The very nature of Americanness is redefined, restricted, and exclusive. Goodbye, Kant; goodbye, Madison. So long, Jefferson! It was nice knowing you, Locke.
This is an America where one side can live in an alternate, parallel universe marred by a collective mob-like psychosis, and the rest of us in the dimension of the sane human mind.
A world where this blob of passionate anger and resentment is entitled to its own facts and warped, ideologically informed realities. "Winner-take-all" is the neandrathalic inclination, and words like "moderate" and "compromise" are anathema to its existence.
It is a nation where a party has totally capitulated to an increasingly radicalized, illogical leadership, base, and internal divisions. It has proven itself incompetent and unworthy to steward the great American project.
Perhaps the Moses-like promises of Mitt Romney can put us back on the path of righteousness if only we will just vote for him this November. After all, he envisions the halcyon days of, "an America where all things were possible." How magical.
We don't even have to wait for November, though. Romney doesn't need to save us from this disjointed hellish distortion of reality to believe in everything and anything being possible again. We are already living in that world.