Tag Archives: enlightenment

dangerously tapping into deepseated fear and loathing

Healthcare by itself is an important and emotional issue, there is more to the deep rage people are unleashing at townhall meetings and elsewhere.

Maybe not all, but a lot — in fact, what I would guess to be the vast majority — of the rage is fueled by reaction to the last election.

Quite simply, a lot of white racists cannot handle the fact that the era of exclusively white presidents is over. Gone forever.

And these people often — usually — are not exactly reaping the vast rewards the economy lavishes on those who encourage them. They might not have progressed as far as others up the social economic ladder.

But one thing they could always tell themselves used to be that at least, just by the grace of god and the hue of their skin, they were better than whole groups of others. Others who were just as marked with inferiority by the hue of their skin as these “hard working real Americans” were marked with clear, uncontestable superiority by the lighter hue of theirs.

But then came “The One.”

They have been trying to mock and delegitimize him since before the election. As their efforts at mocking and challenging the validity of his very presidency have brought on defeat and derision, not to mention laughter and ridicule, they have grown angrier.

For the most extreme of them, it is simply impossible for President Barack Hussein Obama to exist in their world. One of them must be destroyed.

Either their world view and sense of self — their very psyche — goes or Obama does. The two cannot coexist. Thankfully, most will adjust, if only the least amount necessary. But I’m afraid that some will not be able to cope.

Those who encourage the lunatics to turn to violence must bear their share of the responsibility for what happens. And there will be some in the corporate media who ask the tough questions, as a few already have been.

But most will be shocked — shocked!! — that violence could have ever resulted from their words or those of their colleagues…

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It’s okay to call for the Taliban to kill a soldier taken hostage if you’re a rightwinger

No, really. Retired Lt Col Ralph Peters says so on Fox News.

Think Progress has the story:

I want to be clear. If, when the facts are in, we find out that through some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I’m with him. But, if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime, I don’t care how hard it sounds, as far as I’m concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.

And, fresh off declaring they have an exclusive monopoly on the Real America, our uber patriotic friends at redstate.com are ranting about taxation without representation and wringing their hands about the possible consequences of the Obama administration’s near pitch perfect reprise of the intolerable Acts perpetrated on the colonials by Great Britain:

Congress is Taxation Without Representation
It isn’t irrevocably broken, but it’s well on its way.
Posted by Warner Todd Huston (Profile)
Monday, July 20th at 4:59AM EDT
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We are speeding headlong toward a time when our Congress will have become just like Mad King George’s Parliament, that body from which in 1776 the American colonists separated with the rallying cry of “no taxation without representation.” Our national government is fast becoming just as unrepresentative of the people as far off Briton [sic] was when we went to war to become the United States of America.

Does that seem like a hyperbolic statement to you? At first blush, it might. But a considered look at the direction in which we are quickly heading will prove that, compared to the British Parliament that raised the ire of our forefathers so long ago, today’s Congress shows many signs of the same, oppressive, haughty, disinterested politicians that considered their national government more important than the local’s interests and needs.

Representation is the key word, here. What does it mean?

The poster uses the word “uppity” “haughty” at least four times in the post.

He then goes on to decry, as posters and commenters at redstate.com are in the habit of doing, the 17th amendment, the one entitled “Popular Election of Senators” and that begins “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof…”

He prefers the previous method by which senators were selected by state legislatures. Much more democratic, y’see?

Then we have our friendly neighborhood rightwing Cassandra, Glenn Beck, wringing his completely blood free hands about boiling cauldrons of rightwing hate stirred up by those durn lib’ruls.

But, remember, they are the patriots. They are the Real Americans. When they call for the Taliban to execute a captured soldier, it’s for the soldier’s own good.

When they say the current administration’s policies is just a hair’s breadth away from revolutionary era British oppression, they are speaking for the good of democracy.

When they call for taking the election out of the hands of the people, they are actually just trying to increase democracy.

When they blame lib’ruls for extremist rightwing paranoia, they are just hating the sin of liberalism while hoping for the redemption of the Dirty Fucking Hippie sinners.

It’s a rightwing thing. If you don’t understand, you’re just an overeducated elitist snob and a fake American.

You need to STFU while the real Americans start fixing the mess Obama has thrown us into over the last eight months and restore the tranquil utopia we all remember so fondly under the reign of Bush the Lesser.

If you have the stomach for it, read the comments in the redstate.com posts I link to. They’re even crazier — and, so, more patriotic and real American — than the original posts. Reading them is enlightening and disillusioning at the same time.

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Erick Erickson, Presbyterian, tells some Catholics they’re not actually Catholic

I know one trait of right wing authoritarians is that they are both utterly clueless concerning other people’s worldviews and utterly without a fragment of doubt concerning their own rectitude and worthiness, but this is shocking even for a rightwing blowhard like redstate.com’s Erickson.

In Which A Presbyterian Defends the Pope

Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Sunday, July 12th at 9:49AM EDT
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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend says Obama represents Catholic Americans better than the Pope.

Now, I may just be a good PCA Presbyterian headed out the door to church this morning, but I’ve got to make a few points on this.

1. I don’t know that a Kennedy knows anything about the Catholic church in reality. Sure, they know they are supposed to show up and go through the routine, but just because someone goes to church does not make them a Catholic, let alone a Christian.

2. Saying Obama represents Catholic Americans better than the Pope is like expressing shock over Richard Nixon becoming President because no one you know voted for him.

3. Does anyone really think a lady whose family is more known for rehab, rape, and Mary Jo Kopeckne than anything else can opine credibly on this issue?

I thought not.

Oh, one more — if the Pope praised abortion rights, tomorrow Newsweek and Ms. Townsend would be supporting him for President.

In order to provide the full context, that is, literally, the entire post, including the title. That title is written in the style of subtitle of a text from the 15th or 16th century, another period when people of different religions were particularly fond of telling each other how wrong they were, particularly this guy.

I’ve written before that I’m not Catholic, but where does this guy get off?

I especially like this line: “but just because someone goes to church does not make them a Catholic, let alone a Christian.” What’s with the “let alone a Christian” phrase?

If someone is Catholic, they are, by definition, Christian. This line seems to separate the two into different categories.

This is, yet again, another example of the unreflective arrogance and tone deafness that is proving such a success for the Republican party.

Update: can you believe this pearl of wisdom from a frequent commenter?

The Catholic Church is a little like the Republican Party.
mbecker908 Sunday, July 12th at 11:44AM EDT (link)
No discipline.

In any rational theological world the Kennedy family – along with every elected Democrat who professes to be a Catholic – would be summarily excommunicated.

Update II: You knew it wouldn’t be long before something like this was dredged up:

When you’re the Antichrist, even the Pope has to meet with you…
bs Sunday, July 12th at 12:39PM EDT

Or this:

I think what she said was a hate crime against Catholics
[W]ould she say Obama is a better Muslim Leader than Mohammed?
Doc Holliday Sunday, July 12th at 12:40PM EDT

Update III: It’s funny that, for all their ranting about “cafeteria Catholics,” stem cells and “the sanctity of life,” no one brings up the church’s opposition to the death penalty.

You see, according to the rightwing authoritarians at redstate.com and elsewhere, you’re a cafeteria Catholic if you support the right to choose or stem cell research, but if you deviate from the church’s teachings on the death penalty, you’re just exercising your free will.

Another case of do as I say and not as I do. It’s all right for some to ignore Catholic doctrine regarding death penalty and still be real Catholics while at the same time condemning others who deviate from other aspects of church doctrine.

If you don’t understand the logic or if it seems, y’know, like bullshit, then you’re just an over educated elite snob and probably a fake Catholic. After all, who’s a bigger authority on real and fake Catholics than Erick Erickson and all the other hypocritical rightwing authoritarians?

Update IV: another redstate.com”card-carrying Calvinist Presbyterian,” the one who called Obama the “Antichrist” in the comment quoted above, concern trolls for those poor Catholics.

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The US is *not* a christian nation

This post is in honor of Blog Against Theocracy 2009.

Obama recently drew some heat for saying that we’re no longer just a christian nation. I would have said we never were, but I’m glad he at least acknowledged this much.

We’ll probably never stop hearing conservatives and republicans, as well as some moderates, liberals and democrats, claiming that “this is a christian nation.” But that doesn’t mean they’re right. Of course, they’re very, very wrong.

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Why the big deal? Because there’s an insidious “but some animals are more equal than others” tone to this assertion, especially since it usually comes, and comes most shrilly, from people on the authoritarian rightwing side of the room.

I’m not catholic, in fact, I’m second generation lapsed catholic. But I was baptized and while I have no end of criticisms for the catholic church, there’s a certain brand of catholic bashing that comes from conservative protestants that really riles me. It’s not that I feel some need to defend the dogma or theology of catholicism.

No. It’s a reaction to perceived anti catholic bias, by which I mean ancient anti immigrant, bigotry. The Know-Nothings and the KKK were often as much anti catholic as racist. Al Smith lost in his bid for the presidency because enough “real Amer’cuns” believed he was a slave to Rome. Kennedy had to practically genuflect to protestant ministers to allay the same fear. I’ve actually heard people these days claim catholics aren’t christian.

This is a round about way of saying that the notion of America as a “christian nation” was not too long ago much more narrowly interpreted. It was a way to exclude certain groups of people who were not considered real Americans. And, when I hear people on the right loudly and belligerently assert that “we’re a christian nation,” I hear echoes of that same tone.

It’s a way to exclude not only people of other faiths, but also people who don’t believe in any religion. It’s a subtle way to ascribe to them – to me and so many others – second class citizenship, as if to say “we’ll tolerate your presence, at least just barely, but you’d better keep quiet if you know what’s good for you.”

Well, screw that. America is not and never was a christian nation. The founders were mostly deists who had the wisdom to keep government free from religion, basing our constitution instead on enlightenment ideals regarding humanity and equal rights for all.

So, the next time you hear someone casually state that we’re a christian nation, think about the undertones of such an assertion. The fact that someone like Pat Buchanan gets so worked up* when challenged on the issue says a lot about how important it is to contend.

* I know I’ve seen video of Buchanan totally losing it when some other guest on a cable chat show contends otherwise, but haven’t been able to find it. If anyone knows of a link…

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