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An overseas BI30 viewer posted a comment on one of my YouTube videos that kept nagging at me as deserving a good answer. Here is that question:

“There was a time when we cheered your Presidents and waved American flags whenever they came to visit overseas. There was a time when we admired America for your freedom and shook your hand in Friendship. What happened?”

The short answer is of course, “George Bush”, but that doesn’t explain how someone like him could even BECOME President in the first place or why we would allow him to do all the damage he has done.

The second short answer is “9/11”, a singular event that frighted a naive and sheltered populace to the point they were willing to accept just about anything in exchange for the promise of keeping them safe. Add to that an Administration that played “the fear card” like a violin, keeping the populace in fear, claiming they were the only ones that could protect them so long as you keep them in power.

But that response is likewise inadequate because it doesn’t explain “how” they were able to turn reality on its’ ear to where only THEY could keep us “safe” despite a string of failures, lack of progress, and all the evidence to the contrary.

I thought about his question for a long while and I’ll admit that the answer eludes me a bit. If I had to point to any *one* thing, it is the astounding success of a 30 year campaign by the Republican Party to turn words like “Liberal” and “Democrat” into pejoratives, that Democrats are “wimps” and Liberals “want to give all your money away to lazy people living on welfare.” And in an age where the political memory of most of the population is shorter than the lifespan of a gnat, people forget that every major war we’ve ever won was won by a Democrat and lost by a Republican. They don’t realize that 70% of our 231 years of National Debt was racked up by just the last three Republican Presidents (Reagan, Bush-1 and Junior).

I receive email chain letters from Republican friends all the time. They like to complain about “non-existent problems” served with snappy simple answers that would fit in a fortune cookie. Or they like to spread fictitious “feel-good” flag-waving patriotic stories that allows them feel good about themselves for supporting the very people that created these disasters in the first place.

I’ve responded to these emails, corrected and debunked them till I’m blue in the face, and still they keep coming, lessons unlearned, because as long as someone tells them what they want to hear, they’ll keep listening. This is the success of Fox “News”. They don’t dig too deep into stories because they may just find out they’re wrong. So they concoct phony problems, prattle off an absurdly simple quicky answer, and the Conservative gets their fix of “feel good” propaganda.

It’s VERY intoxicating and difficult to sell “truth” to someone that prefers to live in denial.

I know it’s not what you want to hear and hopefully this helps at least partly answer your question. I’m afraid a more in-depth answer would fill a book. I ask others to provide added insight in the comments. – Mugsy.

UPDATE: Think Progress has a very good example of people believing what they want to hear despite facts and evidence to the contrary:

“Petraeus Falsely Claims That Six Months Ago, ‘No One Would Have Forecast’ Anbar’s Success”

Despite this, you will still hear the media repeating Petraeus’ false claim that Bush’s “surge” is responsible for the progress in Anbar.