An open letter to folks in New York and Hollywood.

If you wore a Ronald Reagan t-shirt around town, would your friends and the people you work with think it was cool? What about a Sarah Palin t-shirt? What if you donned one of those before you headed out to work? Would the folks milling around the water cooler or the craft service table give you a wink and a big thumbs up?

Not so much? Hmmm.

Well, what would happen if you put on a t-shirt featuring a cool graphic photo of Barack Obama? What about Al Gore? How ’bout Che Guevara?

That would be not only a popular political statement, but a hell of a fashion statement too.

The question is, why?

Why would a t-shirt featuring a conservative politician earn you a collective eye roll (or worse), but you’d get only compliments with a t-shirt featuring a politician that was liberal (or worse). After all, you’re in a highly populated area. You’d think there would be some diversity of opinion.

I hate to tell you this. But as much as you fancy yourself a free-thinking, open-minded, inclusive human being, you’ve actually been brainwashed. I know, I know. That’s a strong term. But you’re definitely part of a very large herd where you live. No where else, except perhaps college campuses, did people vote in such lopsided numbers for Barack Obama than in New York and the Hollywood/West LA/Santa Monica corridor. In Manhattan, Obama got 85% of the vote, McCain 13%. In West Hollywood, 88% voted Obama, 11% McCain.

Those weren’t voters. They were sheep. Baaah. Baaah.

What? You don’t think a smart person like you could be brainwashed? Tell that to the Germans.

The fact is, people who are brainwashed don’t know they’re brainwashed. Some eventually snap out of it. But it’s usually too late. It’s like sleepwalking. You don’t know you’ve been doing it until you wake up in the kitchen eating cat food with no pants on.

See, here’s how it happened. You moved to New York or Hollywood. You started meeting really cool people and their equally cool friends. These folks knew what was hip. They filled you in on all the trendy clubs, shopping areas, lounges, parties, coffee shops, restaurants, and yes, politicians. You talked with these cool people about politics because that’s the cool thing to do. But talking is not debating. Agreeing with and reinforcing opinions is not exactly considering another point of view. Heck why even think about the opinions of a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobes out there in Jesusland, right?

You got swept up in a whirlwind of groupthink and you didn’t even know it. And the thing is, even if you disagreed with these cool people at first, you couldn’t say anything. After all, that wouldn’t be cool. You were silenced, then swayed. The whole time you thought you were growing intellectually, you were actually growing wool. Baaah. Baaah.

Of course, it wasn’t just the cool people playing mind games with you. It was the cool shows, the cool magazines, the cool newspapers, the cool everything. You were bombarded from all sides. You had no choice but to vote for the candidate “everybody” thought was cool. Policies and ideas be damned.

Here’s a little test for you. If you’re reading this article and it’s really, really pissing you off, guess what? Brainwashed.

Now, I’m not trying to say everyone who voted for Obama was brainwashed. It’s just that when you live in places like New York, Hollywood, and most college campuses, you’re living in a very insulated world. A closed society. That does not lead to true open-mindedness. Quite the opposite.

You could say, “Well, there are heavy conservative areas that voted in huge percentages for McCain.” You’d be wrong though. Let’s look at Dallas County (home of George and Laura Bush). The people there voted 57% to 41% for Obama. What about the state of Arizona (home of that old guy on the other ticket)? People there voted 54% to 44% for McCain. Unlike New York and Hollywood, those are reasonable numbers.

Still don’t think you’re brainwashed? Okay. Prove it.

Here’s what you do. Scrub your mind with soap. Watch a different news channel once in a while. Turn the radio to a different station now and then. Read a different website, magazine, or newspaper. Talk to some of the uncool conservative people, if you can find any. Try to understand why they think the way they do. And try not to call them names. Instead, listen. You don’t have to agree with them. Just try to know where they’re coming from. Believe it or not, it could change the way you think and vote. It might even change the kind of t-shirt you wear.

More musings at http://letsthinkaboutthat.blogspot.com