Last week, the American public was woefully treated to a number of examples of the Right-wing’s delicately trotted line of baseline hysteria taking root in the hearts and minds of its ideologically-charged base.
Unfortunate yet telling instances like the execution of Troy Davis, applause for death at a Republican presidential debate and the disrespectful and grossly hypocritical jeering of a gay U.S. soldier in the aftermath of DADT’s undoing each call to mind the fact that the modern day Right wing – Christian Republicans, mostly – has transformed its conservative agenda from fiscal to social, from political to religious, from freedom to fascism.
And that is a big problem.
Instead of properly invoking the premises of small localized governments, fiscal responsibility and personal freedoms, they use/abuse these notions to thinly veil more sinister “plots” rooted in centuries’ old racism, ideology and bigotry.
Why? Because as it stands they will simply lose on every issue that is really important to Americans – as evident in the 2008 election when a virtually unknown and “inexperienced” black Senator unseated the white, “conservative” status quo.
The Right needs to ride the wave of social manufacturing in order to secure votes; to force non-issues to actually matter in the hearts and minds of voters that otherwise wouldn’t know any better by playing to what they understand best: sensational ignorance.
It already worked, unfortunately, not too long ago. Republicans took a large victory in 2010 running under the banner of fictional socialism, religious fervor and ironically anti-American “American exceptionalism” – movements largely fueled by historically-defunct “Tea Party” nonsense and filled with intolerance for non-Christian religious groups, “alternative lifestyles” and a socially-conservative agenda so skewed that it makes an outright mockery of the original founding ideals that are supposedly so revered by their leadership.
Just listen to what any of the poll-popular Republican presidential candidates are touting these days as talking points in an effort to sway votes in their favor: abortion, birtherism, religion, prayer, immigration, intolerance, denialism, “values,” – each without an inkling of gravitas to have any effect whatsoever on the real issues faced by Americans today.
At a recent fundraiser, President Barack Obama had a few things to say about his “competition,” calling to question the motives behind their (in)actions, asking “has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change…You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.”
According to the President, “that’s not reflective of who we are.”
But is it reflective of who and what we have become? Are we – as a nation – not identified and judged by our loudest and most obnoxious voices?
Is that not why Sarah Palin is so damn popular?
This post can easily become a novel – so I will edit down to one theme for the sake of demonstrating a solitary example: DADT (or, to those not familar with the term, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”) – the U.S. military’s not-so-popular regulations requiring gay men and women in the armed forces to hide their sexual orientation.
Only a few days ago, DADT was officially overturned and the gay/lesbian community is now deemed welcome (on paper, anyway) to join the ranks of brave men and women who are willing to serve their country by defending it; often at the cost of their lives.
Anyone who is truly in “support of the troops” mode would think twice before moving to vilify their actions or call to question their motives.
Yet, the popular consensus throughout the Right wing leadership vying for the presidency is that the abolition of DADT is the wrong move for the country and will somehow magically undermine our defenses by dutifully recognizing – once and for all – that homosexuals are able-bodied citizens with the capacity to love and defend their country just as well as a heterosexual citizen.
Why? Because, that’s why – as the Right wing offers no answers beyond those deeply-rooted in the fundamental trappings of religion, prejudice or gross misinformation.
In a recent debate, candidate Senator Rick Santorum was asked by one Stephen Hill – an active, gay soldier who was deployed to Iraq in 2010 – whether or not he would push to reinstate DADT as President.
Amidst the moaning and booing of a number of Teabagger audience members who simply do not feel comfortable having a gay serviceman fight for their freedoms, Santorum’s response: Yes.
“I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” answered Santorum. “And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to — to — and removing ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.”
Notice how Santorum had no answer as to what the fictitious “special privilege” is. Instead he stammers and quickly moves on to his next talking point; lamenting the injection of one form of “social policy” into the military while not taking issue with injecting his own social policy, since it happens to agree with his constituents’ social, cultural and religious misgivings.
“What we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now,” he added. “And that’s tragic.”
Tragic, yes, that someone with enough social and political clout in this country to run for president would have the bold-faced audacity to wrongly suggest that allowing members of the gay community to serve is somehow condoning sexual debauchery at the front-lines.
As the vast majority of Republican presidential candidates pander to Right wing ideals, they must insist that gays and lesbians who disclose their sexuality – whether intentionally, accidentally or through third-party channels – should be thrown out of the military and should not, in any way, shape or form, represent the United States of America, regardless of their merits.
Because to this particular crowd, the truth is less important than what speaks to their sensibilities.
Welcome to the State of Numb
“Reading the reactions of thoughtful commentators after the stage emptied, talking with conservative policy types and GOP political operatives later last evening and this morning, we know we’re not alone. Most won’t express publicly just how horrified–or at least how demoralized–they are…
“The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: ‘I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!’”
Why has education become a target, and infrastructure investment marred as “socialism?”
Why are working class labor unions being attacked as anti-American, yet cult-ish, pro-religion politicos are winning seats in Congress?
Why do terms like social security, health care and disaster relief hold such a negative stigma? How exactly are food safety inspections, civil rights and child labor laws “unconstitutional?”
When did science become the enemy?
These are just a small handful of talking points pushed by today’s Right wing that pull attention from the real issues facing the nation today – questions and problems that, when presented with all the facts, real Republicans would probably err on the side of Left wing policy.
What educated Republican would not support investing in infrastructure to build a bridge that allowed for capitalist commerce to revive American industry? Who would oppose education investment that would empower future generations of Americans to lead the world in innovation and create more private-sector jobs?
Who, then, would lobby against securing our nation’s future through funding alternative energy programs that would not only put more Americans to work but free us from conducting business with hostile, “freedom-hating” nations?
These are all issues of which the new Republican party – fueled by religious and social doctrines that have little-to-nothing to do with modern day issues – sidestep in order to conjure up votes for their side. It pretends that each is somehow a mask for demonic secularism and/or Marxist propaganda (whether they actually believe it or not) and instead suggests that, as a means to solve all problems, some Americans are more equal than others.
As former President Bill Clinton recently pointed out, Republican hopefuls have to at least pretend to support regressive policy in order to be seen as a leader of the new conservative movement. When audiences at the recent GOP debates booed Stephen Hill because he was gay and cheered for the both the deaths of executed prisoners and the uninsured, the Republican presidential hopefuls remained silent; whether they agreed or not – whether crazy or not – in the hopes of securing the party’s nomination.
Placating and pandering, the new Republican party looks to create a veritable army of voters that rallies behind a faux-fundamentalist flag – armed to force the country into subservient regression that serves only the party’s seven-figure-plus benefactors while keeping American society in a docile state of numbness; an entire country of Christian “Values Voters” brainwashed by our supposed “exceptionalism” without even the vaguest sense of history or accountability.
Or, as we all know them: The Tea Party.
Blindsided by sensationalism and charismatic evangelicals, Republican voters are being asked – no, convinced – to transition from informed opinions to baseless “faith” – a transition that went largely unnoticed over the past few decades and has perhaps peaked during the Obama administration.
This alteration of popular thinking has allowed the powers-that-be to manufacture a society of its own choosing and force a “new conservatism” on the country.
These are the trappings of a ruling class determined by any means necessary to create villains where there are none in order to secure its own future.
- Joe Ascanio
Based out of Greater New York, Joe Ascanio is a full time web designer, developer and marketing guy working in the online technology marketplace. OneWhiteDuck.com is a semi-personal blog devoted to opinionated rantings over current events, politics and pop culture as they relate to our modern-day society.