Can the Right Spin the Chilean Miners Story?

It will be fascinating to see how Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham struggle to spin the heroic Chilean miner rescue to their political ends.

It's not going to be easy.

It's not going to be easy to characterize the collectivist group dynamics at the heart of the miners' survival as damaging to those essential core values of personal freedom and unfettered pursuit of liberty that have made our nation, or any nation, great.

It's not going to be easy to recast the consensus decision-making and egalitarian group dynamics that allowed these 33 men to harmoniously ration an impossibly meager two-day food supply over their first harrowing 17 days underground as a desecration of the rugged individualism that fuels the crowning achievements of mankind.

It's not going to be easy to rail against the counseling and soothing advice the miners received from professional psychologists while buried half a mile underground for more than two months as further proof of how the namby-pamby welfare state with its self-serving, expansionist appetite undermines the old-fashioned self-reliance so integral to a thriving and healthy society.

And it most certainly will not be easy to frame the insistent cry now coming from the miners and their families for better, safer working conditions as the typical liberal whining for needless government hand-outs and protections against the invigorating challenges of the global marketplace.

Can they pull it off? Can Rush and Glenn and Laura and their fellow travelers on the bullhorn right turn this limelight event to their advantage?

They will certainly try. They almost have to.

For they must be aware that the Chilean miner rescue has captured the world's attention and has people in all corners of the earth, not just talk radio listeners, reflecting on its implications. They must be aware that such attention could, if left unattended, tilt in a very wrong direction.

That the bedraggled miners have emerged from unfathomable depths as living, breathing symbols of something poignant and large is beyond dispute. But symbols of what?

The early returns indicate the miners are widely admired for sticking together, for bolstering each other's spirits, for practicing the Golden Rule in all its glorious ramifications, for sharing food and water and psychological sustenance in the most difficult of situations. Moreover, we are in awe of their display, without any advance preparation or training, of the kind of uncommon strength and fortitude that, to whatever degree it may exist in a single person, is always magnified and improved when practiced as a community.

Yep, it's sure going to take some highly inventive blathering to spin this one to the aims of the Tea Party right.

But you can almost hear it coming, like the low distant rumbling high in the mountain tops of an avalanche beginning to gather force. After all, we live in a through-the-Looking-Glass media environment where "up" can often successfully be promulgated as "down", at least at the level of public opinion polling. In the end, the mass media may, for those citizens unwilling to form their own conclusions, be the final arbiter of the import of this dramatic tale.

There is talk already of the miners selling movie rights to the account of their ordeal. It will be a far better movie with far greater box office appeal if the final version stays close to the script as we now know it.

And this incredible saga will have a far superior finale, one certain to frustrate Glenn and Rush and company, if the proud miners do not fall into squabbling over the impending Hollywood lucre.

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