Thursday, June 02, 2005

Michael: American Hate-Based Politics

History has proven again and again that the skillful demonization of a despised and feared group of outsiders, or a fifth column of insiders, is a great means of consolidating authority over a society and ensuring obedience. The Nazis used the Jews primarily, but also homosexuals, and gypsies, and to a lesser extent anyone who wasn’t properly Aryan as the bogeymen of their political psychodrama. The Stalinists used the petit bourgeoisie and the Kulaks. The Red Chinese used intellectuals, professionals and, ironically in hindsight, capitalist-roaders. But never has there been an odder, more cobbled together, and highly selective out-group and unlikely set of internal traitors than those presented for the voter’s wrath and revilement by the modern GOP.

The cast of cretins includes welfare mothers (‘queens’ in New Speak); drug dealers and their reliably criminal users; sexual deviants of all sorts; homosexuals and lesbians (though arguably they are just a stop on the slippery slope to pedophilia and bestiality in the GOP’s eyes, especially the ones who try to marry each other); unwed mothers, unless they are lesbians, in which case they should cannot be wed and should become nuns; anyone seeking an abortion; the doctors who perform those abortions, or who allow people to die with dignity (Euthabortionists); immigrants (especially of the Mexican [meaning any brown skinned] variety; foreigners in general (but especially those with brown skin and Qurans); anyone who might use violence or property destruction as a political tool (terrorists, especially Muslims, especially Arabs, and especially Environmentalists or Animal Rights activists, but NOT right-wing nationalists or racists); intellectuals are suspect unless they work for a Right wing think-tank or Christian college; intellectuals who appear in the print, audio, or video media and question Right wing orthodoxy are the worst of the internal enemies and form the corporate enemy – the Liberal Media Establishment. Where it is established is a topic that is not an acceptable subject of inquiry.

Recent additions to the internal enemies list are traitorous whistle-blowers in the diplomatic, executive, or intelligence services. All are jealous and disappointed hacks who have documented major flaws and errors in policy to embarrass and weaken the United States in eyes of our enemies. Worst of all internal enemies are the dastardly and cowardly men and women who claim to have served our country in our glorious armed forces and have come back with tales of war crimes, human rights abuses, environmental nightmares, ill-health, mental breakdowns, and any other sort of counter-revolutionary folderol. Shame on them. They have been given the opportunity to put their lives on the line for poverty wages, lacking proper protective equipment (apparently, dead soldiers were cheaper than armor until recently) and, damn it, they should be grateful, not shooting their mouths off and asking for expensive medical treatments, asking questions of their superiors, or asking for ‘conscientious coward’ status.

If you were to gauge the greatest danger to America by GOP rhetoric, it wouldn’t be who you might expect, like Ossama bin Laden, whom we have had ‘on the run’ for almost 4 years now (you’d think a sick old man would have gotten tired by now from all that running). No, America’s enemies are poor lesbian Latina immigrant mothers on WIC, pregnant and headed for an abortion clinic, with an illicit Klonopin addiction, who have converted to Islam, are members of Earth First! and/or PETA, hold Ph.D.s in media studies from Berkeley, are officers working in any of the Defense intelligence agencies with the dirt on the Bush Administration, and the will to use it.

The left isn’t entirely free of this sort of nonsense, either. The bogeymen of the left are foreign workers who are taking our jobs (not untrue, but enmity toward working people anywhere isn’t an answer); Christians who are intent on overthrowing our Constitution (very few Christians are that extreme in their politics – many are outraged about a few issues, but most wouldn’t dream of supporting a revolution of any sort – the beliefs of many would put them in the Democratic party but for a few wedge issues); political operatives skulking about and rigging elections (I’ve seen little direct evidence of actual voter fraud, though the resistance to auditable electronic elections by the GOP is very suspect), and big corporations out to dominate our lives and our government (well, even paranoiacs have enemies – I think corporations are out of control, any economic force that big is bound to have a very distorting effect on public life if not carefully and vigorously held in check).

We must be careful not accede to the Siren’s song of the politics of fear and hatred, or we too could find ourselves too far down the radical road to find our way back. We can only lead the GOP back from the edge by setting a positive example, not by emulating their poor one, no matter how successful it may be.


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