Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Republican Crazy Keeps on Truckin’ 2

As I argued yesterday, there’s little surprise the rightward movement of the political barometer over the past 35 years would push more radical ideas from the fringe inward, but the magnitude and diversity of these ideas is both startling, bemusing and, far too often, dangerous. The latest threat comes from the Christian right, who certainly aren’t new on the scene, but are increasingly playing their own version of victimhood (to a secularized, “satanic” state) to push for what sounds alarmingly like violent revolution. We can hear it in the words of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who recently cautioned, “I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States, where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.” (Salon)

We can hear it in the words of Pastor Robert Jeffress on the eve of the 2012 election when he compared Obama to Hitler and told 600 other pastors that his reelection would bring a Holocaust. Or when Franklin Graham told CNN that “this election could be America’s last call before the return of Jesus,” and afterwards that America was on a “path to destruction.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reacted to the reelection and victory for same sex marriage in four states by warning of a “revolt, a revolution” if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage. (Huff Post)  

More recently it has manifest in the cultivating of a rather bizarre coalition, between the Christian Right and Southern NeoSecessionalists. Frederick Clarkson, author of Eternal Hostility: the Struggle between Theocracy and Democracy, claims that the rhetoric has transformed: ““[S]omething has changed in recent years. Disturbing claims are appearing more frequently, more prominently, and in ways that suggest that they are expressions of deeply held beliefs more than provocative political hyperbole.” He also cites “powerful indications in the writings of some Christian right leaders that elements of their movement have lost confidence in the bright political vision of the United States as the once and future Christian Nation — and that they are desperately seeking alternatives.” And Clarkson further notes that this disruption of the American Dream is leading them to look toward Neo-Confederate movements: “At least some of the historic culture warriors of the Christian Right seem to be considering an ostensibly unlikely coalition with the Neo-Confederate movement. The coalition would lead their followers in religious and political directions in which violence is as likely as the outcomes are uncertain. It is an unlikely coalition, not necessarily because the Christian Right and most Neo-Confederates differ much on issues, but because Christian nationalism is so fundamentally at odds with the notion of fracturing the nation due to a loss of hope and faith in the role of the United States in God’s plan.”

Back in the 60s, Marshall McLuhan predicted that the electronic age would become dominated by a return to faith and mysticism, with people living more as they had before the emergence of the rational Literate Man. His predictions seem more prescient than ever … with facts truly becoming stupid things, along with far too many people that ignore them.

No comments: