You end up with a sincere belief that greedy corporations, Republicans, the Tea Party, and the rest of the reactionary reprobates who oppose Obama’s policies must be isolated from society and crushed for the common good. This mental plunge has plenty of repulsive examples. Observe this quote from a recent tax cut debate on Twitter: “Nazi fascist conservative cockroaches like you will be extinct — the sooner the better … You’re fat too.”
Building up and maintaining an illusion of such a magnitude requires participation of the media, education, and entertainment industries in a coordinated, long-term propaganda campaign.
Once the illusion reaches a critical mass, those afflicted by it become immune to facts, numbers, or rational arguments. Confronting them with logic will only cause more resentment, name-calling, and sometimes violence.
New technologies and the rise of digital social networking and communication have opened up new opportunities to play the game on an even broader scale.
From the start, the Obama campaign was able to deploy new media in ways that make Obama’s six million fake followers on Twitter seem like small change. It paid software developers to create a sophisticated system of data mining that allowed them to manipulate voters’ individual pet issues, and to run daily computer simulations in response to slipping polls so as to boost turnout where it most mattered.
But Obama’s tech-savvy aura is also a prop for yet another illusion: it leads you to believe that it envelopes some advanced, futuristic, 21st century content, while it’s only a shell full of rattling old clichés dating to the first half of the 20th century. In that sense, Obama is like a car salesman peddling a sleek 2012 Alfa Romeo that runs on a Soviet-made 23hp engine from a 1961 Zaporozhets.
Obama’s “tax cuts for the middle class” game reached Twitter in the form of a #My2K hashtag, with the president asking his followers to imagine what they could get with an extra $2,000, and then to tweet Congress to make sure they get what they want. A few days later, Obama upped the ante with an announcement that he would personally “take Twitter questions” using the same hashtag.
Since we have a Twitter account, we also posted some questions to the president:
If My2K is mine, to whom does the rest belong?
What exactly is the “middle class”?
If My2K is so good, why not make it My4K?
Can I get My2K in gallons of gasoline now before the check loses 30% of its value by April?
Since the dollar will soon be worthless, should I convert My2K to rubles?
You once said that focusing on making a buck shows poverty of ambition. How is focusing on My2K different?
How much of my other taxes will go toward Sandra Flukes’ $3K/year government-subsidized condoms?