Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Ugliness of Intolerance – The Right Wing Sedition

I thought that my last blog was appropriate to the discussion of the day and time. But, I no sooner posted it, and slept only one night on it, that I awoke to a new and even more radical accusation from the Right-Wing juggernaut. President Obama is “indoctrinating” school children in his “socialist” agenda and children should be kept home when the President visits a school this coming week.

I can’t post fast enough to keep up with this stuff. And, obviously, my vocabulary isn’t big enough. I can’t think of the words that describe how foolish this idea is. It is rubbish, but that doesn’t quite explain how extreme it is. It is balderdash, but that doesn’t do it either. It is nonsense, twaddle, drivel, claptrap, baloney, garbage and tripe, but those words are not sufficient to explain how absolutely far the right-wing had to reach to pull this accusation out of their ass. The only word, and even it fails in its breadth of meaning to describe the accusation, is bullshit. I guess I could add that it is “total” bullshit.

Any occasional reader of this blog may know that I drove from California to Indiana this past July for a family reunion. On the way to Indiana, starting near the eastern border of Nevada, I attempted to find a radio station that suited my taste. I was amazed at how many stations that were not devoted to music, mostly country music, carried right-wing talk shows; usually Rush Limbaugh but other Limbaugh wanna-bes too. They permeate the airwaves throughout the mid-West. Is it any wonder that the drivel from Limbaugh is so prevalent? Is it any wonder that he has influenced so many beliefs across the country?

I’ve said to family members that they should turn these shows off, but I’ve had little effect on their listening habits. I sound, I know, like I’m preaching. But, I noticed the influence of the constant right-wing gibberish at our family reunion. Although the Right-Wing does not overtly admit to it, the real basis for the demagoguery is racism. Take the use of the word “nigger,” for example, which I hear occasionally mixed in with comments heard from Right-Wing demagogues. I never heard my Dad, oldest sister who I adored, Joan (we pronounced Jo-Ann), my older brother, Durward, or Joan’s husband, Elvin, who greatly influenced me, say that word. These people were our childhood role models and teachers, so it is somewhat perplexing that I hear it in our family. Where does the use of the word come from?

Whenever that word was spoken in the presence of Dad, I felt his discomfort, embarrassment and uneasiness at it being vocalized although he never said anything aloud. I came to know that his disagreement with any viewpoint was made more by his silence than spoken word. I grew up with the idea planted in my mind, from Dad’s example, that I should respect people of other races and treat them as equals; that indeed they are equals.

Perhaps it is after we leave the presence of our youthful role models that we learn prejudice. Reflecting back after spending years in and around Asia and living in California, it has been a challenge to overcome prejudices of my experiences after childhood and the influence of those I associated with while traveling the world. I think, and hope, that I have managed to succeed in that endeavor. The proof, I believe, is in my reaction to the right-wing harangue in that I find it disgraceful.

And even disgraceful is not a strong enough word. The only word that I can think of that satisfies my description of the right-wing behavior is sedition; sedition against the United States of America, established order, resistance to lawful authority (carrying guns to public meetings) and rebellion against the state. Agitation, subversion, rabble-rousing and troublemaking are all synonyms of sedition and they describe the current Right-Wing behavior. Those who promote this behavior all have everything to gain from doing it; higher ratings, personal wealth and personal power and this includes the corporations who give them a platform, such as FOX Cable and Clear Channel and their many advertisers and the politicians who shout it. Those who follow the rhetoric and who have come to believe it have everything to lose, such as good government, good polices and stable, beneficial lives.

Any reasonable person who studies President Obama’s policies and the actions he’s taken to-date should be able to see that he is, in no way, a socialist. His appointment of Timothy Geithner and his reappointment of Ben Bernanke should be proof of his economic views and in direct opposition to socialism. President Obama believes in capitalism and free enterprise. His opposition to the greed of industry, his family life and his faith should say to any reasonable person that he is a devoted family man and a follower of Christian tenants, as he claims to. And, any reasonable person who listens to what he says and how he tempers himself in his policies should conclude that he is intelligent and pragmatic and tolerant. I see no indication of socialism or, worse, extreme fascism in his character. His is as American as I am, through and through. Yet, we hear constant accusations to the contrary from his accusers.

The intensity of the Right-Wing assault is akin to McCarthyism; that of publically accusing a person, President Obama, of anti-American behavior without any basis in fact. In fact, it is the assault that is anti-American.

I wish I didn’t see the inevitable conclusion that we are headed for. I expect dissension within families, eventually splitting families apart because beliefs are stronger than facts. We seem to be incapable of stepping back to take a good look at our own beliefs and changing our minds. We seem incapable of taking a united stand against the rhetoric and demagoguery from a personal or a professional position, whether as a politician, newspaper editor, television or radio producer or corporate marketing executive. I expect violence because some people being persuaded by the Right-Wing demagogues will take extreme measures into their own hands; believing they are doing it in the name of their country. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I wish it were not so, but it is.

The other very sad conclusion that is inevitable is the failure of the United States of America. There will never be any solid proof that the Right-Wing instigated a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that is, never the less, what will happen. If President Obama, with all the problems his administration has inherited, fails – we all go down. Why would we not take a stand against the spreading ignorance?


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