Thursday, November 19, 2009

Republicans Promise "Holy War"

In today's LA Times (1), Orrin Hatch (R-Cigna) promises "holy war" to halt the healthcare bill. A couple of days ago, Rush told his listeners they were in a "war without bullets". Beck told his listeners that they were the teenage girl and the government was Roman Polanski. One presumes he didn't mean that the government was going to make visionary, innovative films. No, he meant the government is going to rape you.

Holy war. "War without bullets". "Whites of their eyes". That repugnant Dachau poster. "I'm a proud right-wing terrorist". The rampant racism of the Birther clowns. Am I crazy or is anyone else noticing a pattern here?

The right loves to equivocate. They love to claim that the left were just as bad to Bush, the Democrats were just as hyperbolic and obstructionist. Both claims are untrue, of course, but they're par for the course on the right. What is new is the increasing level of militancy in the rhetoric; subtle (and sometimes overt) allusions to violence. The left, who were routinely accused of being unpatriotic for criticising Bush (who the right pretend to have always been against now) didn't go anything like this far. Perhaps a few posters in the underdepths of the webway posted violent fantasies but in the left as a whole, it didn't happen. And yet, after less than a year out of power, the right are coming within a hairsbreadth of actually inciting assassination.

Look, let's be honest. Obama is a black guy and there are enough unreconstructed racists in the USA that there was always a chance that one of them would take a shot at him. The Secret Service says that threats to the president have quadrupled since Obama took office. The right would have us believe that's just because normal Americans are angry at the president for, well, something (they seem unable to decide what their complaint is) and you can guarantee that, if some nut takes a shot at Obama, they'll do the same dance of deniability: A brief, insincere denunciation of the violence and then straight back to hatred and near-enough justification of that same violence. The same way they did with Scott Roder. The same way they did with the Town Hall lunatics. Since this president took office, they have stopped at nothing to paint him as illegitimate, dangerous, even alien. They've done everything but outright say that, since the president is such a monster, you might as well take a shot at him.

Oh, I know I'm not supposed to say that. You're not supposed to talk about the distinct possibility that some maniac will absorb the violent rhetoric tacitly encouraged by the right and act upon it. But the rhetoric is there and it is violent (Sean Hannity's site a while back had a survey asking it's readers what kind of revolution they'd prefer). And there is a distinct possibility that someone will act upon it. The Secret Service are dedicated to their jobs but they're only human and it only takes a moment for a maniac to get lucky. And if he does, the right will soothe themselves with the thought that the left would have been just as bad to Bush.
I'm not sure what can be done about this. The yappers like Beck and Limbaugh have already made a big noise about their First Amendment rights and you can be certain that if anyone even asks them quietly to dial it back, they'll ramp it up even further. And the 20% crowd will follow them right over that cliff. Just... notice how extreme, how violent the rhetoric has become and realise that these people cannot be negotiated or compromised with. As far as they are concerned, the proper order of the universe is to have Republicans, white Republicans (not all of the criticism is racial but the racial factor is certainly adding heat to it) in charge of everything. Anything else is abomination and must be brought to an end by any means necessary. And I mean any means, the word is an absolute here. If the worst happens, the yappers will make a pretence of their sorrow... and then they'll be straight back to attacking with exactly the same tactics, exactly the same vitriol and the 20%, their followers will quietly toast the shooter with beer. The right these days loves to talk about having a fifth column of communists in the Whitehouse. That's crap, naturally, but it occurs that you may have a literal fifth column of would-be domestic terrorists and a much larger faction that would apologise and cover for them.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What The Hell, Maine?

I was going to use today's column to have some fun poking Rush Limbaugh over the sycophantic "interview" he preached on Fox news. But then, I heard that same-sex marriage has been overturned in Maine. Maine of all places. There are three areas that any bookie would have expected same-sex marriage to be uncontroversial: Southern California, Washington DC and New England. Well, Prop H8 took away same-sex marriage in Cali and left the couples that got married in that brief period it was legal (including my friend Buffy of The Gaytheist Agenda and her partner) in a kind of limbo. DC passed Ref 71 which, as I read the law, gives same-sex couples everything except the word "marriage". I can live with that, that's the same arrangement we have here in Britain. And then came the other result.

Et tu, Maine?

Let me get this straight: New England is one of the more reliably liberal areas of the country, the rest of New England has legalised same-sex marriage or something equivelent and 58% voted to decriminalise pot. Were all the potheads freakin' stoned and thought their "yes" meant they were affirming gay rights? Because the numbers I'm seeing (58% for decriminalising pot, 52% for screwing over gay people) means that at least some of the stoners must have voted for this abomination. Did we all take a big dose of hypocracy today, kiddies? Were you guys so high that you couldn't distinguish lies from facts? Could you not have waiting until after voting to take a half-dozen bong hits?

And don't think I'm exclusively picking on the stoners either. Everyone who voted for this absurdity needs to get clocked with a clue-by-four. I mean, you look at any open forum on gay marriage and lo, doth the bullshit wax forth. We've heard everything from teaching your kids sodomy (horseshit) to some weird guy on HuffPo who seemed to be under the impression that gay people could have offspring genetically engineered to actually be the biological children of two men or two women (which won't be a problem for at least twenty years and genetic engineering on that level was banned under Clinton anyway) to teaching your kids that gay people exist. I hate to tell that last group but they're going to find out sometime. It's weird how obsessed these people are with the sex act. They act like kids knowing gay people exist means having to explain the technicalities of gay sex to them. What's wrong with "some boys love other boys"?

And let's not even get started on the moral atrocity of putting human rights to the whims of the popular vote in the first place. Have we not got the message yet that the PoliSci fiction of the informed voter carefully weighing the issues is bullshit? The average voter is not very intelligent, actively distrustful of intelligence, distrustful of change, petty and cruel. No, I'm not a big believer in democracy, I've met too many humans. If you put the option of doing the right thing to the plebians, the plebians will usually vote against it. I back democracy not because it's a good option but because it's the least bad option. If it had been left to the popular vote, slavery would have continued much longer and interracial marriage might still be illegal. And 52% of Maine voters just voted to make it illegal for gay people to have the same chance at happiness (or permanency, depending on your experiance of marriage) as straight people. Stop letting the people decide human rights, the people are frickin' morons! They believe bullshit! The ridiculously monikered NOM puts out bullshit that churches will be forced to marry gay couples and over half the public laps it up! OM NOM NOM! Gay marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage? How the fuck does that work? Do you even understand what "sanctity" means or the fact that, for most of human history, marriage was the transfer of property? And don't give me that bullshit about your religious beliefs. My religious beliefs aren't being passed into law and mine don't involve violating the fucking Constitution. Yes, the state has a vested interest in promoting families, no arguement there. But did it ever occur to your brain-trists that A) gay people form familes too and B) no families are going to break up because the gay couple down the block are suddenly the married gay couple down the block.

I often wonder if gay people aren't being far too civil about this. The movement is trying to win their rights with lawsuits and public opinion. And don't misunderstand me, that's very laudable, very civilised and noble. But the public are morons and your SCOTUS is dominated by conservatives, at least two of whom don't give a shit about the law. There is something in the human psyche that seems resistant to treating something as a right unless it's forcibly torn from teh fist of the opressor. So I often wonder if the gay rights movement wouldn't have gotten further if there'd been a bit more forceful expression involved. The most conservative estimate of the gay population is about three million and an accurate estimate is probably three or four times that so let's have a Million Queer March on the Whitehouse. Let's put a few pink triangles on poles and set fire to them, just to make the comparison obvious to the terminally dense. Ellen is apparently going to be a judge on American Idol but let's get RuPaul on Monday Night Football, let's have Chris Kanyon doing play by play on Monday Night RAW. They think marriage is a step too far, let's go a mile too far, let's shove gay people down their throats until they're so sick of the subject that everyone grows the fuck up. Forget the lawsuit, let's have some fucking riots.

Cheeses fucking christ on toast; Maine, for fuck's sake!