Blatant lies can paralyze. Maybe because they are so embarrassing, maybe because they insult our intelligence so much that we know if we face them, we may well explode. Today I exploded.
I’m not the kind of person to get much right-wing propoganda, but every once in a while someone tries to convert me. Recently I met a woman who is trying to do just that; she’s joined the Tea Party and, no doubt, wants me to join her. She sometimes sends along pieces of literature that I at first called fantasies, but that’s too polite. Let’s face it. These fantasies are really lies in the hands of abusers who use the lies to manipulate us into working in their intrests instead of our interests.
Here’s what I got today, as part of a piece complaining about taxes and the national debt:
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
Now, of course, this came in a font about the size of my toaster with accompanying threats about standing up and “being” an American.
I’ll leave the tax lie alone for now, as well as the middle class. And I have no idea why they want to take moms out of the workforce, but a hundred years ago more than likely the “kids” were with “Mom” on the factory floor, not at home. Federal child labor laws were a few years away.
But the national debt lie? We can’t let them get away with that. There’s been a national debt since day one. The first thing the newly hatched federal government did was assume the state debts from the Revolutionary War. In 1800 the debt had climbed to $82, 976, 294. And a hundred years ago? The closest thing I found with a quick search was July 1 of 1910. In 1910 the national debt was $2,652,665,838. That’s not anywhere close to “absolutely no national debt.”
If we do nothing else, we have to take every opportunity we can through any means we can find to call out the lies, no matter who is throwing them at us. I have tried to convince myself no one could be ignorant enough to believe this stuff, but I was wrong. Time to talk back.