This is an example of how the American people love sensationalism more than facts. Facing reality is never easy because it is often diametrically opposed to ones beliefs, and at times just plain ugly. Three people and one issue have dominated much of the news for much of the month and the truth is somewhere in between the headlines and the facts. For writers, readership is what counts. Because it is the result of each reader’s personal interest and less about the facts of a story, sensationalism is used as a tool by many of us who hope to be read. Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani, President Obama, and the Keystone XL pipeline have received attention by multiple writers in hundreds of publications. Here we’ll look at the headlines and attempt to uncover the truth.
Let’s begin with the last because it was prominent today. President Obama promised to veto the Keystone XL pipeline if Republicans passed it in the House and Senate; he kept that promise on Tuesday. His reasons were consistent with his promise; it is unnecessary, will not create jobs, and is environmentally dangerous. I have read both sides of the issue, and I agree with him. Tar Sands oil has the capability of far more destruction than sweet crude, and our refineries cannot process it into useful petroleum for the United States. So why do Republicans and some Democrats support its construction? Votes in their next election attempt. Temporary jobs while the pipeline is in its construction phase may add votes to their final tally.
Jeb Bush has been praised and criticized by members of his own party in the last several weeks. It is highly probable that he will declare his intention to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016 within the next couple of months. His criticism is fair from a purely political point of view, but for the American public he is a breath of fresh air from conservatives; he shuns extremism.
Mr. Bush has learned how to achieve prominence from voters not from his father, but from Ronald Reagan. Reagan may not have been the greatest president of all time, but he was one of the great politicians. Although Bush has amassed an impressive fund raising team, he never forgets that in 1980 George H.W. Bush lost the Republican nomination to Ronald Reagan because of one single action. Reagan was aware that the majority who actually elect a president are working class citizens.
During a primary event in Chicago, both Bush and Reagan were invited to receptions attended by senior corporate executives. Bush eagerly accepted; Reagan declined. Later Reagan told politicos that he wanted to separate himself from wealthy corporations and align himself with the majority of our nation’s voters. History tells the rest.
Finally we come to what should be a non-story. A week ago former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a statement that he doubted that President Obama loved the United States; at least in the same way he did. Both anger and agreement by politicians Democratic and Republican alike filled the pages of news publications across the nation. Although Giuliani is insignificant as a member of the GOP, he was having his moment of fame, one he hasn’t had since 9/11; and he wasn’t letting go.
Some Republicans denounced Giuliani’s remarks, and others agreed that Mr. Obama had Marxist tendencies. The latter group was correct; but that’s not the story. Key words provoke emotion which is frequently not based on fact. The philosophies of Karl Marx are not un-American; quite the opposite. Simply put, he believed that all citizens of a nation should prosper from economic success. He inspired movements in the 60’s and 70’s which helped change the direction our nation had chosen to follow. His principles were those of our founding fathers and because our government has failed to follow their guidelines, we now have irreversible income inequality.
The problem with Giuliani is that he is not a well-educated man and has no understanding of history. He is the male Sarah Palin, waving the flag and spouting slogans which have no basis in reality.
This is the difficult road writers have in the 21st century. We want to be read, and we want to create controversy, for that is the core of Americanism. No one is right all of the time, but in our past dissent resulted in creating the greatest nation in the world. It will be difficult, but we may be able to attain that status once more.
Commentary by James Turnage