Friday, November 9, 2012

Myths can become Realities

Long ago I faced the stark reality that I would never be a professional singer.  I do, however, love to sing.  One of my favorite diversions is to participate in what is sometimes known as  “pick-n-grinnin” sessions wherein musicians get together, play their instruments and sing.  On numerous occasions I have sung at such events and I have enjoyed it to the fullest. 

Many of my friends have witnessed these sessions as well as when I have been invited to sing with country and western groups in public places.  There are friends of mine who in all honesty would be willing to take the stand in a court of law and under oath testify they have witnessed me playing a guitar. 

Now, I would pay a substantial amount of money if I had the ability to play a guitar--I would love to be able to do so.  Unfortunately, I cannot play one lick. 

That’s a good example of a myth which has become reality in the minds of some people.  There are numerous other myths which have grown up politically.  One which comes to mind, and in which I have participated, is the occasion of legalizing the lottery.  Thousands of people took a paralyzed oath that the public had been promised all of the money from the lottery would go to finance public education.  However, no statewide official or anyone else made that promise.  There was not even the promise that all of the funds from the lottery would be dedicated to public education.  The fact of the matter is, at the time the lottery was passed, it would not have furnished more than 1/14th of the amount bi-annually appropriated to education.

Another political myth was one perpetrated by the George Bush campaign ridiculing Al Gore, claiming he represented he had invented the internet.  Al Gore made no such claim.  It was Mr. Gore’s claim that he supported and assisted in the creation of the internet.  In fact, the internet was invented by a government laboratory and developed over a long period of time with federal funding.  Nonetheless, the Bush campaign went on to make this one of the central talking points of the campaign, proceeding to ridicule Gore for taking credit and being braggadocios about accomplishments he had not fostered.

Yet another myth which was created by money and advertisement was the belief John Kerry was not a legitimate war hero of the Vietnam War.  A group known as the Swift Boat group was able, through massive expenditures, to persuade a significant part of the American population that John Kerry had not in fact been in a fire fight and wounded in Vietnam.  Unfortunately, no mention was ever made of the fact in such ads that the other fellow, Mr. Bush, managed through the connections of his father, to avoid even having to go to Vietnam. 

A recent myth put forth by the Romney campaign is that the president said “You didn't build that”-- referring to businesses.  Reading the full text of Obama's remarks one sees that he was referring to the American system of government and the infrastructure created by our national government which helps to create an environment for business.

Almost every great fortune made in the U.S. was helped by our government.  Check your history.

One of the earliest great fortunes in our country was created by the group who laid the Trans-Continental Rail Road.  They capitalized for one million dollars.  Not a cent of the million was spent on rails or cross ties, however.  Rather, the entire million was spent persuading Congress to authorize one section of government land be gifted for each mile of rail laid.  The project made the group rich and brought great economic prosperity to our nation.

Mr. Jobs could never have created the I-Pad and related technology without the internet--which, of course, was the same internet that was created through years of government research in a government lab.

Former President George W. Bush managed to borrow $200,000 from some of his dad’s friends and invested in the Texas Rangers.  They gave him a great title--and thereafter the citizens of the city of Arlington voted a massive bond issue to create a state-of-the-art baseball stadium known as Ranger Stadium.  This fact immediately boosted the value of the Texas Rangers, allowing former President Bush to reap multiple millions from his $200,000 investment.  Based on this gratuitous situation, he was lauded as an outstanding businessman—yet another myth.

Generally, most political myths are not deep, dark secrets--nor are they deeply buried and relatively easy to disprove.  If only thinking participants in our Democratic system of government would take the time to study, research or even read a daily newspaper, they would be able to find out the truth for themselves.  I don’t know if others enjoy “play-like government” --as for myself, I prefer reality.

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