Watching the Republican National Convention this past Tuesday night, one could not help but be hypnotized into believing President Barack Obama had committed a serious faux paux earlier this year when he supposedly opined that entrepreneurs did very little to create their business on their own, that they did not build it themselves, it was our government which deserves all the credit. Not only was this bogus quote repeated over and over again all night-long Tuesday by every featured speaker, including Ann Romney and chanted all week-long by convention delegates, but it has also been used repeatedly in tens of thousands of television commercials the past several months nationwide and especially in key battleground states. I assume that these commercials most likely are playing continuously on our radio airwaves as well. Even though I am a life-long lover of music, I stopped listening to the radio around 1980 due to its mass commercialism. If only I had a dollar for every time I heard a convention speaker, crowd chant or television commercial mock the president with the phrase “We built it,” I could start my very own business.
The word that comes to mind watching these supposedly intelligent like-minded citizens mindlessly repeating a trumped-up fabrication is lemmings, a small rodent many believe commit mass suicide by following one another to their death trudging over a cliff or into the sea. Over the years, the erroneous belief in the peculiar behavior pattern of this rodent has resulted in the word lemming metaphorically being used to describe people who go along with the group all the while unquestioning popular opinion or belief.
Republican politicians long ago learned that repeatedly telling falsehoods over and over again would eventually convince a great many voters that the lies are in fact truthful. One need only look at how many Americans are still convinced the president is both a Muslim and Kenyan to understand how effective this deceitful logic works. During his Wednesday night address to the convention, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s entire speech was later proven by the media to be filled with numerous fraudulent statements. However, most likely Mr. Ryan will continue to espouse these same fictitious statements repeatedly during the final two months of the presidential campaign.
The practice of telling false statements repeatedly in the hope that the vast majority of the population will soon become convinced of its truthfulness most likely dates back many centuries. Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels was quoted as saying “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” In no way am I implying the Republican Party is even remotely comparable to the Third Reich of Nazi Germany, as nothing can compare to the horrors and atrocities committed by the Hitler regime. However, the Republican candidates for president and vice-president seem to have never heard of lie they have no qualms repeating time and again. I only reference Dr. Goebbels’ quote to illustrate how destructive this practice of telling untruths can become. And remember, a great many Americans and numerous countries were misled into believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction by President George W. Bush and his administration. Ten years later, we still haven’t figured out how to end the Iraqi conflict, a war that was both unwarranted and avoidable and resulted in the deaths of more than 4,400 Americans and an estimate as high as 1.2 million Iraqis.
Anyone who heard President Obama’s entire comment knows this incessant mocking during the Republican National Convention held inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum arena and in television commercials is not accurate. What the president really said was that it was because of government’s investment in infrastructure and education, among other tangible assets, that made it possible for any entrepreneur’s business to be successful, in that if not for roads and bridges built with tax dollars, protection provided by the police and fire departments and an educated workforce, again provided by tax dollars, it would be almost impossible for any business to get its goods built and to market. In addition to tangible assets paid for by tax payers, a great many if not all businesses are partially financed by our government at every level, be it federal, state or local assistance via bailouts, income tax loopholes, small business loans or property tax abatements.
The problem with the president’s comment was that he did not eloquently state it much as Elizabeth Warren did a few months back during her Massachusetts senatorial campaign. And if truth be told, Mitt Romney said very much the same thing ten years ago to Olympic athletes while he was, in his own words, helping “save the Olympic games,” which was due to $1.3 billion in financial assistance from our federal government.
Was I the only one who noticed the irony in the fact that while every Republican speaker disparaged the president with his misquote Tuesday night, but they did so in a sports arena that was built with the financial assistance of tax dollars?
Steven H. Spring