Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Conservative Mind - Where Ugly is Beautiful

       


It's official. I have become a hater. I've really tried not to let it happen. I've watched the "other side" become meaner and meaner as the decades have gone on. I thought the Republicans couldn't get any more venal and self-serving after impeaching Bill Clinton but I was wrong. That was child's play. They were only cutting their teeth on Clinton, practicing for their Academy Award-winning role as Obama loathers. Yes, they called Bill terrible names and published the sordid details of his sex life on the internet for all the world to see (for the good of the country, you know....yeah). But, to be fair, Clinton knew they were after him and gave them the ammunition to shoot him with so although I thought it was terrible for America, what they did, he had to take some of the blame.

So, then we had eight years of Bush and those oh-so-fiscally-prudent Republicans spent money like it was going out of style. Wars, entitlements, Wall Street, tax cuts - deficits be damned! And by the time it was over, the economy was in shambles and we had become a nation that took its principles and threw them out the window like so many dirty diapers. Gleefully, we went to war in Iraq for no reason, although we were already at war in Afghanistan. I guess we just wanted to get back at Muslims after 911 no matter whether they were the right ones or not. We tortured and imprisoned whomever we pleased without bringing charges. Who worries about a little thing like evidence - 911! And, of course, we did all this with our volunteer army because we didn't have the guts to reinstate the draft and make everyone contribute to the cause of "keeping America safe". We sent the same guys (incidentally, when a Hoosier says guys, it is genderless) back over and over again. Big surprise that they are committing suicide in record numbers after 5, 6, 7 tours in a war zone and we only just now passed a tiny bit of funding to try to help....and even that was damned hard to get through our dysfunctional Congress.

As we usually do, we elected a Democrat, Barack Obama, to put our house back in order....and he has. But who could have foreseen the kind of destructive, hateful, vicious tear the Republicans would go on in response to a black president. It's been as if they believed all monitors were off their words and their behavior. "Wag the dog" was bad enough with Clinton, the implication being that he was too caught up in sexual peccadilloes to mind the country but with Obama, they just come right out and say it: traitor...socialist....communist....Muslim...non-American...America hater...Hitler.  There's is nothing they can think up that is too bad to call this president, or his wife, nothing. They are like a car with the gas pedal stuck and no brakes....full speed ahead. "Hey," says Rudy to King of the Birthers, Donald Trump, "listen to this...I can up the ante on that!"

Vacations, pointing, words used or not used, Michelle encouraging school kids to exercise and eat healthier, tan suits, going or not going to funerals, golfing.....nothing is too mundane (and no matter how many presidents have done the same) to elicit outrage from the right.

They lie with impunity. Rudy says Obama has never said America is exceptional...except, yes, he has. There is video evidence if anyone cares to look and listen but of course, they don't. They just go right on, with Fox News and the poisonous right-wing web sites parroting the accusations...and even doubling down on them. For the most part, Republican politicians sit on their hands or shrug as if to say, "well, maybe".

Their most recent meme is that Obama has done "nothing" about ISIS. What a feckless president he is. Now the King of Jordan, there is a president! Forget that Jordan is following US! America is the major contributor of planes, money, bombs, intelligence, drones, helicopters and missiles in the war against ISIS. Remind Republicans of that and they just ignore you and repeat that he has done nothing or even if he has done a little something, he's done it using the wrong words, by God! They so wish we had a strong leader like Putin. Or, yeah, BiBi Netanyahu....that's their latest hero, to the point of inviting him to speak to a joint session of Congress without conferring with our own president, a disrespectful gesture never done before, because it's all about sidetracking the diplomatic talks with Iran regarding their nuclear weapons program, which will end in March in any case, but they can't wait that long because, geez, what if Obama pulled it off! BiBi is, of course, up for re-election soon so it isn't just about Iran but the Republicans mucking around in another country's choice of leaders....because, you know, screwing up our own elections isn't enough.

So I have watched my country getting farther and farther off the path of what I always thought America stood for. I've watched hatefulness and ignorance take over an entire party. I've watched them with their fiscal cliffs and sequesters and government shutdowns and threatened defaults and credit downgrades and filibusters. I've watched them throw cheap little hissy fits as their supporters egged them on. I thought they might step up and try to govern when they won in 2014 but so far, we've gotten more of the same. This Friday at midnight, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of money if Republicans can't find a way to fund it. Seriously, with terrorist threats around every corner, they are going to let the Department of Homeland Security go broke? Really?

I've watched, heart-broken, as we've gotten more and more vicious. Muslims? Nuke'em! Young refugees? Scare'em first, then send'em home? Kids who came here as children, went to school here, know no other country and are contributing to this one? Deport'em. Unions? Bust'em! Uninsured Americans? Tough shit! Minimum wage workers who can't afford to feed their families? Who cares? Young black males getting shot and/or incarcerated in record numbers. Ah, they're thugs, it's what they deserve.

Take science out of schools and put God back in. Don't let gays get married. Don't let minority and poor people vote. Don't let women control their own health and families. Don't let towns and landowners control their own destinies. No, you can't ban fracking, no you can't refuse to let oil companies pour poisons in your rivers, no you can't deny a pipeline going through your property. Apaches, we know we gave you that land but you know what, we're re-taking it and giving it to the mining companies.

I used to enjoy the back and forth of debating with my conservative friends but no more. It's like debating with someone in an alternate universe - an alternate universe where up is down and good is bad and ugly is beautiful.