At Philly dot com, Chris Kelly considers how straw men (straw persons? straw crows? straw scarecrows? strawcrows?) are created and used to distract us from what’s happening.
Even the most specious arguments are granted legitimacy simply for having been made. Every opinion, however uninformed, is seen as inherently valuable. No argument is too preposterous or dishonest to share. If you are shameless enough to stand up and say it, someone is bound to agree and pass it along.
It’s how Rush Limbaugh, who recently signed a $300 million contract to build and destroy legions of straw men every day, can claim he is a spokesman for the working class. It’s how Sarah Palin can be talked about as a serious candidate for president, and how a weepy basket case like Glenn Beck can be held up as the “only sane voice in the media.”
It’s how so-called conservatives can insist that the Wall Street bankers who crashed the economy should keep their astronomical bonuses, but unionized public employees should give up their hard-won pensions. It’s how President Obama can tap General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to help “reform” the corporate tax structure, even as the New York Times reveals that GE – with worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year – paid zero U.S. taxes.