Tag Archives: paranoia

Bigotry and hatred as a political weapon

Rick Santorum

Faith, Family, and Freedom? As long as it's a white Christian heterosexual family.

Rick Santorum today urged Mitt Romney to use the gay marriage “controversy” as a “potent weapon” against Obama in the upcoming election.  Santorum says Obama is the one who is out of touch with what America “values”.

If it’s Rick Santorum who is IN touch with what America values…we’re screwed.  If ranting and raving against homosexuality and gay rights is what represents American values…we’re screwed.  If advocating for women to be treated as they were 200 years ago represents American values…we’re screwed.  You can’t build a democracy on a foundation of hate, but that’s what SO many on the Republican right seem to be trying to do. 

It’s not just the gay marriage issue.  It’s bigotry and hatred in general that might as well be the core platform of the Republican party.   Just look at some of the “core” Republican issues over the last decade, as the party swings ever further to the (very radical) right. 

  • Gay rights - Summed up very nicely in a nutshell by Santorum’s comments today.  Gays and lesbians aren’t people in the eyes of the radical right.  Constitution be damned, they’re not to be treated like other human beings.  They’re to be used as a “political weapon”, nothing more.
  • Race – Republicans have managed to lock down the South, helped in no small part by a not-so-transparent use of racism as a political tool.  It even has a very well-established name…the Republicans’ Southern Strategy, a large part of which is based on exploiting racial fears among white southerners.
  • Religion -  Promoting fear and intolerance of Islam, or ANY other religion other than mainstream Christianity has also obviously become a key part of the Republican platform.   Again, Santorum himself could be a poster child for using religious hate as a “potent weapon” in his politics.  Republicans have counted on the “values voters” in the last several election cycles, whipping up paranoia among evangelicals (aka…wackos) about some imagined conspiracy to trample on their religious rights or remove religion from Americans’ every day lives. 

Using bigotry, hatred, and promotion of fear has certainly be a winning political hand for Republicans.  God knows there are enough folks in America who share those views, and blindly follow any idiot who is bold enough to come out and actually campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance. 

But how long can such a strategy last?   I keep hoping that Americans will see the light and realize you CANNOT build a nation based on hate.  I keep hoping that Republicans’ exploitation of racial, religious, or sexual preference issues is a short-term blip, a trend that can’t last in the long run.  But then you see complete wackos like Rick Santorum get a shocking amount of support in the Republican campaign, and it makes you realize just how much fear, paranoia, and bigotry there is out there. 

I’m sure that Biden’s unintentional forcing of Obama’s hand on the gay marriage issue wasn’t something that Obama wanted to touch from a political perspective.  That indeed is why I’ve been disappointed by Obama on many fronts, his lack of conviction on issues such as this, ones where he should be leading the “anti-hatred” bandwagon.   But now that it’s out there, now that Obama has been forced to back gay marriage, I hope he seizes the opportunity. I hope he RELISHES a discussion on gay rights in America. He SHOULD be using the issue as an issue where he can shame Republicans for their platform of hatred.

Given Obama’s wishy-washy nature on tough issues like this though, I’m not holding my breath.

Right-wing Fear and Paranoia

Barack Obama

Yes, America, it's true. Your president, the leader of the free world...is a black man. Right-wingers can point to baseless conspiracy theories all they want. They can completely distort the facts in an effort to discredit Obama's leadership. But at the end of the day, for many of these folks, what it all really boils down to is that they have a (GASP!) black man as their president.

MSNBC this morning has a story about the incredible rise in the militia groups since Obama was elected in 2008.  Militia groups, hate groups, what MSNBC calls “patriot” groups (HAH!) all have  experienced dramatic increases in numbers.  The story cites the “fear of a black president” as one reason for the initial rise, and “increasing fear of a Obama re-election” as a reason numbers continue to rise.

What…the…HELL…do folks have to justify that “fear” of Obama, or a continued Obama presidency?  What do Repubs and conservatives in general have to complain about with regard to Obama?  Obama inherited the worst economy, the worst recession, since the Great Depression.  Despite woes continuing in Europe and elsewhere….the American economy is turning around.  The American auto industry was saved, thanks to the decision to ignore the ignorant public who vehemently opposed the auto industry bailouts.  Obama made a daring decision to go after Bin Laden on foreign soil, something you KNOW conservative hawks would be CROWING about…if it weren’t a black, democratic president that made the call.    Obama pushed through a health care bill that the (ignorant) public hated, but like the auto bailout, public opinion is turning.  Even REPUBLICANS can’t ignore the facts forever, and the facts are that ObamaCare provides health insurance coverage for 25 million more Americans, AND non-partisan analysis shows it will SAVE money over the next 10 years.

So what is it, right-wing nuts?  What do you REALLY have to complain about?  You’ve got many on the right calling this the “worst presidency” in the history of the Nation, despite the obvious successes Obama has had.  When the contraception “debate” bubbled up over the last few weeks, you had Newt Gingrich saying that the MOMENT Obama is re-elected, he will “declare war on the Catholic Church”.  You’ve got these right-wing, hate-mongering wackos noted in the MSNBC story who are “fearful” of what a continued Obama presidency would do.

OK, Repubs, PLEASE tell me how America has seemingly fallen apart under Obama’s reign, in your eyes.  Do you have ANY actual facts to support that opinion?  Right-wing religious wackos…PLEASE tell me how Obama has undermined religious freedom in ANY way.   Gun-totin’, militia wackos…PLEASE tell me how Obama’s presidency is bringing about the end of civilization as we know it. 

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how overboard the Right has gone in terms of the obvious hate, fear, and paranoia.  When folks like Rush Limbaugh are spewing hateful messages day in and day out, when you have Fox “News” banging the drums of hate for all things “liberal”, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the right-wing wackos have (again) simply ignored reality and made up their own little conspiracy stories regarding Obama.

I also guess I shouldn’t be surprised that 3 years into a Obama presidency, you STILL have wackos like Sheriff Joe Arpaio who are insisting Obama has a fake birth certificate, and really isn’t a U.S. citizen.  After all, Obama is (GASP!!)…Black!!  Yes, it’s true!! We have a BLACK president!!  I have NO DOUBT that for a VERY large number of folks involved in the hate or militia groups, that it’s simply a matter of good ol’ fashioned bigotry.  I have NO DOUBT that for a VERY large number of the Republican electorate who have a “problem” with Obama, that the “problem” stems more from Obama’s skin color than what he’s actually done as president.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at all the right-wing fear and paranoia.  But I’m definitely disappointed where these folks have taken American civility, decency, and respect for your fellow-man.