Magical Thinking and Magical Speaking

Because The Paula Gordon Show is part of "the media" we are on the receiving end of many books and lots of email ... from the full political spectrum. Unsurprisingly, the volume, in weight and decibels, has ratcheted up since the first of October.

Magical Thinking enables one to believe (really, really believe) that if a condition or outcome is highly desired and is supported by some chain of reasoning (no matter how specious, illogical, unlikely or unnatural), that condition will be achieved. The current administration's economic, military, health, energy and environmental policies are examples. As we've watched, listened to and read about the McPalin campaign, we've come to acknowledge that the next step after Magical Thinking (drumroll) Magical Speaking. "If I say it, it's true."

Of course, Magical Speaking has been around for quite some time. It's a faith story which flies in the face of facts, usually managing to insult the facts and us in the process. It leads to what James Carse calls a "belief system" and Dr. Joseph Goebbels called a government. And, it is very powerful. Until, of course, reality intrudes. No open arms and welcoming "huzzahs" from the Iraqi, no self-funding war, no instant democracy in the Middle East, no habeas corpus, no health care, no retirement accounts and no gosh-darn rapture.

And this is the point. With all the mass media attention to the current campaign, it's easy to forget how Bush-Agnew-Nixon-Gingrich-Reagan-Cunningham(Duke)-Limbaugh-Coulter-Corsi-North-Abramoff-McConnell-Fox-and-now-McPalin-et-al used Magical Speaking to drive the Republican takeover and attempted destruction of our government and of our country.

It's easy to forget that much of this takeover occurred out of sight, bypassing the mass media and ignored by them. This form of Magical Speaking takes place on talk-radio, the internet, think-tanks, classrooms and strange colleges, bars and churches. The Magical Speaking books, mailings and emails we receive are deceitful, vicious and ubiquitous. For many, many people this is the world they inhabit, the only one they know. It is their belief system, their truth, their reich. And they were a major force in electing George Bush twice, abetted by voter-fraud (twice) and the United States Supreme Court (once). Reality has seriously diminished their numbers but their leaders are still raking in the bucks and still chanting that Magical Speak'.

Here's one chain of reasoning which supports Magical Speaking. As a Republican, one is entitled to: 1) Lie. 2) Distort. 3) Cheat. 4) Steal. 5) Pander. 6) Bully. 7) See # 1 and repeat. As a Republican, one need not: grow up, take responsibility, play nice or by the rules. Most of us would punish a child (even a grandchild) engaging in any of the above. Yet, Republicans have been getting away with all of this and more. Repeatedly and shamelessly.

For the dozen years we've been broadcasting our program, we've been at the receiving end of the wrong-wing propaganda machine, full bore. These are the guys who pimp for the baddest of the bad, specialists in catering to the religiosity of the entire conservative movement. Seeing what feeds the wrong-wing Beast has been a powerful learning experience. One principal food-source is Magical Speaking, otherwise known as propaganda. Another is money. Don't be deceived by reported campaign fund-raising. Huge unreported economic resources are committed to maintaining a very profitable (for the funders) status quo. For some, Magical Speaking comes naturally. Mrs. Palin is probably one of those. Others have to be paid.

Their abhorrence of democracy is bound together with the profitable fear and ugliness they smear across the public square.

We, too, have to take some of the responsibility for the decades of abuse. We thought we were getting rich? Ooops. Living happily ever after? Okay, a bit of Magical Thinking. Now Republicans have emptied the coffers of all the rest of us on whom they prey and they've found new mouthpieces -- McBush or McPalin, doesn't really matter -- to tell us it's our fault and demand back the little we've gleaned from the fields they have devastated.

The antidote? First, a Democratic landslide on November 4 that repudiates 30 years of #1-7 and demonstrates proof-positive that the American people -- in John Dean's words -- hate to be suckered. Then the serious work begins. We'll have to figure out how to enjoy it ... without Magical Speaking.
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Listen to a host of people who document all of the above -- from _The Wrecking Crew_'s Thomas Frank to _The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumseld_'s Jonathan Mahler -- and more, in the wealth of "Conversations" we have for you at