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The Unconscious Message Sent By the Left

Commentary by Greg Lewis / TheRant.US
December 8, 2004

Among the things that were brought to light during the recent Presidential campaign was what I would term the "unconscious message" that the Democrats sent to Americans. This unconscious message was a function of, primarily, two things: The impact of standard-bearers — including Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, and Whoopi Goldberg, among many others — who, because of their high profile, came to represent what the Democrat Party stood for to many Americans; and some of the tactics which the Democrats allowed to be employed in the name of electing their candidate. Indeed, while many high-profile Democratic spokespeople might have gotten the Democratic "message" out, they also sent subliminal messages which arguably negated the conscious messages they intended to convey.

Most Americans are now able to separate the public personae of actors, musicians, comedians, filmmakers, and other artists, from the "real" people who project those personae in their artistic work. Susan Sarandon is a perfect example. La Sarandon is a consummate actor. She frequently brings a wonderful depth of emotional, even spiritual, understanding to the characters she portrays on screen. She's appeared in some 60 films, and many of her performances are seriously memorable. No one is arguing that Sarandon can't act, nor that the American public is not willing to buy tickets to her films. Even such blatantly political films (examples on request) as she has largely chosen to appear in recently are often worth the price of admission, for the performances if not for the underlying message.

Where I think both artists such as Ms. Sarandon and the Democrats who seem to welcome her as a spokesperson for their party's positions and candidates make their mistake is in not understanding that Americans have become increasingly canny in their ability to separate performance from reality. It's when you get Susan Sarandon on a stage hawking the liberal message and pimping a Democratic candidate and, in general, just being a leftist honk on pretty much any issue you care to name that you run into problems.

Not without good reason have Americans come to associate Hollywood with the kind of behavior and values that simply run counter to those that they themselves hold and want to inculcate in their children. Hollywood stands for "sex and drugs and rock and roll" (to quote lyrics from a song by Ian Drury and the Blockheads — to comment on the group's choice of names is hardly necessary), and, whether or not it's accurate, many Americans tend to discount what comes out of celebrities' mouths in real life precisely for this reason, even as they will accept them on the silver screen or in other venues simply because they are, in many cases, just really good at what they do and they have an appeal that is undeniable.

And clearly the Democrats began to realize, as the campaign wore on, that being associated with a painfully unpresentable and obviously unhinged dweeb such as Michael Moore was not doing their cause any good whatsoever. Even if you want to talk about "preaching to the converted," the audience with whom Moore's message resonated (the $100 million gross of "Fahrenheit 9/11" notwithstanding) very likely was not made up largely of responsible voters. And the influence on the election's outcome of the people to whom the film's message was anathema had to be, in my opinion, far greater than that on those who found in Moore's message a rallying cry.

Even the shenanigans of such an august and revered figure as Dan Rather had to send the subliminal message that Democrat partisans (and Rather was, if nothing else, outed as a shameless Dem honk in this campaign) would not hesitate to resort to blatant lies, including presenting forged documents to support their attacks on George W. Bush, in order to further their cause. While there may have been some staunch lefties who believed, as Rather claimed was appropriate, that the "truth" of the story transcended the fact that the evidence for it was trumped up, far more Americans got the message that the Democrats and their staunch supporters would stop at nothing in their attempts to regain their rapidly diminishing political and cultural influence.

And so there's a kind of poetic justice achieved in the outcome of this year's Presidential election. The Democrats, bringing to bear all the heavy hitters of the entertainment world they could muster for Kerry's cause, at the same time unconsciously made it clear to an increasingly knowledgeable American public — a public that has had it up to here with people who trample on the flag and the values it represents — that they were decidedly not of the right political and moral persuasion to represent the hearts and souls and minds of the people they sought to govern.


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