Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
A Gallup poll headlined on September 17th, “Seven in 10 Dissatisfied With Way U.S. Is Being Governed”, and reported that 71% said they were “Dissatisfied” and that 28% said they were “Satisfied,” with the U.S. Government. The question, as it had been posed, was “On the whole, would you say you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed?”
At the height of Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, when this question was asked during 21-24 September 1973, the until-then all-time-lowest level of satisfaction with the Government was recorded, 26% (compared with 28% who are “Satisfied” today); but, at that time, only 66% said they were outright “Dissatisfied”; so, at that time, a larger percentage than now, were on the fence, about this question. (Thus, 71% are “Dissatisfied” today, whereas only 66% were, back in 1973.) Subsequently, the figure of only 26% who were “Satisfied,” wasn’t reached again until the very end of George W. Bush’s Presidency and the peak of the 2008 economic crash, when, yet again, 26% were “Satisfied”; but, in that instance, an until-then all-time-record high 72% declared themselves “Dissatisfied” with their Government. So, that was the all-time-worst finding, up to that moment in time. But, then, things got even worse:
After a few months of hope, immediately following Barack Obama’s election as President to replace the by-then-widely-despised Bush, even lower levels of satisfaction were soon reached: late in 2011, it was 19% “Satisfied” and a full 81% who were “Dissatisfied”; and, late in 2013, it was, yet again, 81% “Dissatisfied,” but an all-time-record-low of 18%, who were “Satisfied.” So: that’s the worst finding, up to and including, the current one.
The period from 1985-2002 experienced a remarkably stable 55% to 59% of Americans who were “Satisfied,” and 37% to 39% who were “Dissatisfied.” But, then, the big plunge came. After exposure of the big lie, that Saddam Hussein had WMD which George W. Bush constantly repeated and consciously lied about and said necessitated invading Iraq, seeped out to have been a lie, gradually entering into the public’s consciousness from a press that was extremely reluctant to report the fact (and with assisting cover-up from a see-no-evil Congress), the lie became silently known, but only in retrospect, by Americans, to have been a lie, after all. And that 2002 level of 59% “Satisfied” thus sank year-by-year down to reach the 26% figure in the Bush-Presidency’s final months. Americans’ extreme disappointment with the U.S. Government during Obama’s Presidency has produced a new normal, of extreme dissatisfaction, with the U.S. Government — exceptionally poor ratings that continue (though not quite as bad as Obama’s) till the present time.
Gallup’s latest report, on September 17th, attributes the current high disapproval, to Congress, mainly: “Americans’ assessments of the job Congress is doing is significantly related to changes in their views of how the nation is being governed, as would be expected. As views of Congress have gone up or (mostly) down, so have views of the way the nation is being governed.”
However, that view could be a misrepresentation of the reality, if Americans have been becoming increasingly disillusioned with the condition of American ‘democracy’ and been starting to doubt the truthfulness of the entire American Establishment — President, Congress, newsmedia, etc. Gallup’s own data have consistently been showing this disenchantment with America’s Establishment, to have been actually occurring.
On June 14th, I headlined “Gallup Finds Stunning Decline in Americans’ Respect for U.S. Government”, and reported that “The federal government” scored the very lowest of 15 named U.S. “Business and Industry Sector Ratings,” which covered not only “Business and Industry Sector” entities such as “Education,” “Banking,” “Accounting,” and “Farm and agriculture,” but also “The federal government,” which was scored at the very bottom, with a net approval-rating of around -30%. The entity at the far-opposite end, the very top, was the “Restaurant industry,” with a net +59% approval-rating. However, something was actually higher even than that: Gallup’s listing of “Business and Industry Sectors” excluded “Military” as being a category, even though it’s one of the biggest business and industry sectors of all. But the military was, in fact, extremely popular. If Gallup was excluding that category under the presumption that Americans would think of that sector as being subsumed within “The federal government” (the lowest-rated “sector” of all) which paid the bills for that entire military sector, then Gallup was woefully wrong, as even Gallup actually knew. On July 27th, Gallup reported: “Americans have given the military the highest confidence rating of any institution in American society for nearly two decades.” “The military” scored actually higher than any other of the listed 17 “institutions” — and here all of them were, in the order that Gallup presents them:
“Confidence in Institutions”:
The church or organized religion, 41%
The Supreme Court, 40%
Organized labor, 28%
Big business, 21%
The public schools, 36%
The military, 72%
The presidency, 32%
The medical system, 37%
Television news, 24%
The police, 57%
The criminal justice system, 27%
Small business, 70%
News on the internet [such as you’re now reading], 16%
Health Maintenance Organizations or HMOs, 19%
Clearly, the 72% score for “The military” dwarfs everything except the 70% score for “Small business.” (Presumably, the American public considered “Restaurant industry” to be a part of that category.)
A few months earlier, on April 26th, I had headlined “POLL: Americans Support Military-Industrial Complex Above All Else”, and reported that:
A new Morning Consult/POLITICO survey, published on 26 April, indicates that most American voters support the military-industrial complex more than they support any other recipient of U.S. federal government spending. The military-industrial complex includes almost all federal contractors, the top ten of which, in the ranking of the “Top 100 Contractors of the U.S. federal government”, are all military suppliers: 1: Lockheed Martin. 2: Boeing. 3: General Dynamics. 4: Raytheon. 5: Northrop Grumman. 6: McKesson. 7: United Technologies. 8: L-3. 9: Bechtel. 10: BAE. Those ten firms would be the likeliest main beneficiaries from today’s America’s extremely pro-military-industrial-complex public, which is clearly revealed in this poll.
2,032 American voters were asked in the poll a list of objectives that might be so important as to justify “the government must shut down.” Only one single objective was close to being supported by an absolute majority of the respondents, so that the government’s going to shut-down would, in those respondents’ view, be justified for Congress to do in order to achieve that given objective, which was stated as: “Increase funding for defense and homeland security.”
So, Americans respect America’s weapons-producers above any other “Sector” or “Institution.” Americans are, quite evidently, in love with all those recipients of federal money who are in the killing-and-being-killed “Sector” or “Institution,” but despise “The federal government” itself (which pays for them). It’s as if “The military” were viewed as being not at all a part of “The federal government.” Obviously, there’s a whole lot of lying going on, and it’s VERY effective. What should be at the very bottom, is instead at the very top.
I headlined, 16 February 2016, “How Corruption Cripples America’s Military”, and documented that the U.S. military is the world’s most wasteful (corrupt — actually extremely corrupt). But, of course, Americans clearly don’t know this. They think the opposite. The ‘news’media don’t tell them nearly as much about the military’s corruption as about the waving flags and military honors. However, William J. Astore, a non-staff contributing writer at the Democratic Party’s The Nation, headlined on 16 December 2016, “Trump’s Cabinet Is a Coup Waiting to Happen”, and he explained how, in the U.S. military, competency does not determine a general’s rise to the top ranks, but corruption does, and Astore gave as examples, the Republican Trump’s appointees such as James Mattis and John Kelly, and said:
Americans, who strongly admire their military, like to think that its most senior leaders rise on merit. This is not, however, the way the military promotion system actually works. Officers who reach the rank of general have usually been identified and sponsored at a young age, often when they are still company-grade officers in their mid-twenties. They are, in a word, groomed. Their careers are carefully “curated.”
And, then, they retire to become board members at firms such as Lockheed Martin, whose products they had so successfully marketed while they had been in uniform.
So, this is what happens in a country where marketing has become more important than what’s marketed. It’s called soft fascism, and maybe is producing ultimately a soft coup in America.
This is a natural outcome for a country that has actually been a dictatorship since at least 1981. It’s simply becoming a bit more of that. But the American people aren’t being informed of it — they know that something’s wrong (as is clearly shown by those extremely low approval-ratings for “The federal government”), but the only ‘explanations’ they know for it are ‘illegal immigrants’, or ‘the Jews’, or ‘the Blacks’, or ‘the liberals’, or ‘the conservatives’, or — maybe (if the military-industrial complex will have its way to the very end) — ‘the Russians’, or ‘Iran’. What’s most important for Americans to know (things such as this) is unfortunately also what’s most important for America’s ‘news’media to hide. Thus, the American people are sleepwalking into catastrophe. And we’ve been doing it for decades now. We’re going farther and farther down, and wondering “Are we going down to the top of an abyss?” Is that what’s at the end of this? Or: will we (somehow) wake up in time to prevent it from happening?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.