Today I watched the political spin machine attempting to bring down a powerful leader.
And it all happened at a 4th of July parade in the town of Ely, Nevada. (That's pronounced ee-lee, Nevăda, for those of you who have never heard of the place.) Ely is a town of about 5000 people. …And, as far as national politics is concerned, doesn't matter much most of the time.
But, the second most politically powerful man in United States politics is our State's Senator, Harry Reid – who just happens to be the Senate Majority Leader. And it also just so happens that the phrase “Elect Anyone Butt Harry Reid” originated here (not something to be proud of – but Fox News ran with it on national news – so that's Ely's claim to fame).
I was just expecting another small-town participatory semi-spectacle parade down our main street – nothing special. There were some fire trucks, some old cars, some cheerleaders, and few candidates looking for votes – in other words just a good excuse to get together with the rest of the people in town.
So, it surprised me when I saw a professional camera team. Don't get me wrong. It was just a camera man and a sound man. But we don't have that here. They had to come in from hundreds of miles away.
On top of that, this professional camera man was shooting towards the sun. This just didn't make sense. Anyone who gets paid to operate a $20,000 plus camera knows better than to stand on the wrong side of the street.
But it all started to make sense when candidate against Harry Reid for U.S. Senate, Sharron Angle, came parading down the street. That's when a handful of spectators started cheering – next to the microphone.
Oh, now I get it. The camera man must have known where the cheering crowd would be, and couldn't go over to the other side of the street to get a better picture.
My guess is that we will either see this footage on Fox “News” or a Sharron Angle campaign ad. (But I guess there isn't really that much of a difference between the two.)
Senator Harry Reid has made a number of enemies over the course of his career.
By supporting utility scale solar power here in Nevada – and opposing coal-fired power, he has alienated himself from the coal industry.
By stopping the nuclear waste dump in Nevada, he has alienated the nuclear industry.
By stating the obvious (back in 2006); that we had lost in Iraq, he has alienated the military/industrial complex.
By being a key player in health care reform, he has alienated the health insurance companies, the corporate hospitals, and the drug companies.
By being a key player in the reform of Wall Street, he has alienated the big banks.
And by speaking out about global warming and the BP oil spill, he has alienated the big oil companies.
With that many powerful enemies, Senator Reid has a real challenge getting his message out. All of those industries have a lot of advertising power. Which means don't expect to hear the truth about Harry Reid on the “for profit” mass media news networks. Moreover, a number of those “news” providers are owned by people with investments in coal, nuclear, oil, military, health “care,” and of course the big banks.
This is the inertia I often speak of.
When money starts flowing in a certain direction, those on the receiving end don't want things to change – no matter how wrong it is.
These greedy, uncaring fools would rather the nation fail than do the right thing. They are not conservatives. They just don't want things to change because they want more money. And they are more than willing to make up stories about how popular Sharron Angle is to keep that money flowing in their direction.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe Harry Reid is a saint. No one can be a saint in today's political circus of big money controlled politics. But there are far worse Senators in other states – total sell-outs that make Senator Reid look like one of the few Senators left with the will to vote once in a while with their conscience.
I met Senator Harry Reid once here in Ely. It was back when he chose to fight the coal-fired power plants here. ...Now; whatever your opinion about coal – whether you are for or against coal power; you must realize that the money (for Harry Reid) would have been with coal. They have billions, and have spread it around in Congress for decades.
Just before that meeting in Ely, Senator Reid decided to go against big coal money, and decided to promote solar power. You may not agree with his decision. But you have to admit he made that decision because he truly believed that it was the right one. I am convinced Senator Reid doesn't always make decisions based upon how much campaign money it will get him. This is rare in today's politics.
In spite of what you have been told, Senator Reid does have a conscience. I saw it in him that day.
Our political system is broken. He has to live with that every day. And he still has a conscience. We need more of that. We don't need less government. We need a government that functions. And to get that, we need elected representatives that are willing to stand up to corruption.
Don't be surprised when the “for profit” news media tries to convince us that up is down, right is wrong, and those who stand up for us are the bad guys. That's what they're getting paid to do.
Selling out will always pay better than speaking truth to power.
...And if we don't realize that, it will only get worse.
Sharron Angle wants to privatize Social Security.
Doesn't anyone remember what happened to our 401K's?
(Sorry about the ad, but this was the quote I wanted you to hear.)
In contrast, here's Harry Reid (back in 2008):