Ted Cruz revealed, last week, that he, himself, would be signing up for health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare. Yes, the same Ted Cruz who compared Obamacare to Nazism and said: “I intend to speak about defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.”
“But…but…but,” many of us sputtered as our rational brains short-circuited on their way to complete implosion, “ his whole reason for political existence is demagoguing on repealing Obamacare because he says it’s the most evilest thing ever! How can this much hypocrisy fit into the universe??? AAARRRGGGGGG!!!!”
But by now our minds shouldn’t be blown at all. For the millions who have disappeared down the right-wing media rabbit hole, it’s just another day in bizarro world.
One of the built-in features of the “Fox/Talk Radio Effect,” that Tea Partiers like Cruz benefit from and help perpetuate is cognitive dissonance (on steroids), which means that contradictory notions can be held in the brain without any need being felt to reconcile them using one’s critical faculties. It also means never having to say, “God, what an incredibly repugnant hypocrite I am!”
Recall the woman with Graves’ disease featured in the NYTimes article from last September who was thrilled that her daughter and herself were able to get covered through the Affordable Care Act. She gushed: “I’m tickled to death with it…It’s helped me out a bunch.” And then she comes around with the cognitive sucker punch, when in her next breath she says of President Obama, “Nobody don’t care for nobody no more, and I think he’s got a lot to do with that…”
Um, excuse me, what? So the guy who put his political butt on the line to get you the disease treatment you desperately need and also healthcare for your daughter (along with 16 million other Americans) is responsible for a culture of uncaring, but the Republicans who tooth-and-nail opposed the lifesaving law and who still want to repeal it, even as good news keeps rolling in, are epitomes of empathy?
A benefit of buying into the right-wing media cult is you are given license to embrace extreme ideological positions that provide instant psychological gratification and catharsis. And — as a bonus — you are never expected to actually adhere to inconvenient principles implied by those positions that would bring unpleasant consequences to you personally.
So you can take full advantage of the thing your favorite pundit denounces as pure evil as long as you maintain Cognitive Dissonance enough to keep your real-world experience from popping the bubble of extremist ideological delusion. And be sure to keep on repeating those echo chamber approved talking points! — even when they contradict your direct experience.
There’s always a rhetorical maneuver or rationalization on hand to release bubble-dwellers from personal accountability. Fox-style propaganda exists to malign and demonize external situations, people, and institutions with fingers ever pointing outward. Self-reflection and adherence to intellectual consistency are not on the to-do list.
That’s how Fox-addled seniors can keep straight faces while hoisting signs at Tea Party rallies that demand, “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare.”
The summation: “FREEDOM” means I claim the right to do whatever I damn well please, no matter how riddled with contradictions, while blaming and flaming others as treasonous and vile. Self-absorbed righteousness becomes its own twisted reward.
Their “religious” and “patriotic” “principles” boil down to: It’s fine for me but to hell with thee.