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Ugly America

Ugly America: How the Far Right uses Fear, Hate, and Faux-Franchised Patriotism to Sell the Message of the 1% to 23%

That we have the kind of crass, horrific incivility in our polarized politics, and our Right-intimidated media, is not surprising.  What is sad, shocking, and somber, is the conduct of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans who do the bidding of the 1% even when it contradicts their own self-interest and their personal moral compass.

Polarized partisans booed the press for asking the obvious question to Herman Cain about the charges of sexual harassment that keep mounting.

Does this mean that these hard-Right, purportedly “God-fearing” moral people endorse sexual harassment in the workplace?

Maybe not, but, for one blind moment, they are willing to endulge the paranoia of the bogeyman Left Wing media conspiracy over their own day-to-day personal ethics.

They have lots of help in ginning themselves up to this hypocrisy, though.  Hours of listening to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh can do that to you.  The tribal chieftain of the Simpletons, that stogy-smoking schlemiel Rush Limbaugh, deploys his full arsenal of sarcasm and slander to diminish the claims of Cain’s accusers. When it was said that many of them might go public as a group, Limbaugh’s sermon to the simple was:

“I did ask yesterday, what’s the big deal with the panel here?” Limbaugh said. “Do they want to synchronize their menstrual periods? Why appear together? What, does it give added weight?”

It was the topper to his previous comment on the first accuser to go public, Sharon Bialek. He mocked her name last Monday by pronouncing it “Buy-A-Lick,” followed by a slurping sound, suggesting that she puts out oral sex for favors, which is what she accused Cain of seeking out.

He then espoused another Neandertal notion that apparently is shared by the largely male, largely white Republican party:

“I tell you, you women, why don’t you just make it official, put on some burqas?” he concluded. “And I’ll guaran-damn-tee you nobody’ll touch you. You put on a burqa, and everybody’ll leave you alone, if that’s what you want.”

All this in spite of the fact that the women who accused Mr. Cain publicly are both registered Republicans. Ms. Bialek actually has attended Tea Party events. The desperation comes from her hard-to-assail position: The statute of limitations expired. She has no legal recourse to sue Mr. Cain.  Ms. Allred, the attorney who represented her, is a a showboat, to be sure, but took no fee to represent Ms. Bialek.

Ms. Bialek’s legal difficulties were used by the Right media stream to try to discredit her.  Yet they stem from much of the same woes that many average Americans face. A costly custody battle. The death of her mother and the cost of medical care for her elderly father drove the family into bankruptcy.

There may be a book deal in there somewhere, but it would be of fairly limited value given the rather large track record of political failure that was Mr. Cain prior to the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity building him up into a political sideshow act for 2012.

Mr. Cain was not shamed by his Moral Majority friends. Instead, Fox News painted this as a Liberal media conspiracy to “get” Cain. Cain flopped like a dead fish from Romney to Perry to the “Democrat Machine” that was out to get him.  His poor explanation for his behavior alone should set out huge red flags for the religious Right who dominate the active membership of the party.

Cain’s comeuppance? He has been thusly rewarded by Republican partisans with $9M in additional donations since the scandal broke.

The same thing happened when Joe “You Lie” Wilson shouted out at President Obama’s  State of the Union speech. That wholly inappropriate outburst translated into $2.1M in fundraising from donors largely out of the state of South Carolina. [1]

Cain’s callousness about the Occupy Wall Street movement’s key laments, that the system is increasingly tilting so hard to favor the rich that the other 99% are being marginalized, was met with huge applause:

“I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! … It is not a person’s fault if they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed.”

This, in spite of the fact that hundreds of thousands of college students have emerged into one of the worst job markets since the Great Depression.  This, in spite of the fact that millions more lost their jobs to companies now posting record profits. Many of those companies CEOs were given huge bonuses for dumping their payroll and slashing employment.

Candidate Cain’s “Princess Nancy” remark, during last week’s debate met with cheers. A potential sitting President lacks the decorum to treat the Democratic minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, with some minimal level of respect to pander to the jeering partisan crowd.

Right-wing author and talking head Ann Coulter is filled with anti-Liberal vitriol.  Perhaps the by-product of some evil experiment where Archie Bunker’s brain was fused with Miss America, the titles of her books have devolved from “Slander’ and “Treason” to this year’s “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.”

Her hate speech knows no bounds.  A few poisonous passages from the diva of destructive defamatory demagoguery:

  •  On 9/11: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” That was bad enough to get her canned at the ultra-conservative National Review.
  • Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.
  • On Herman Cain: “”Our blacks are so much better than their blacks”
  • “As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” in reference to Coulter’s post-9/11 remark that Muslims ought to ride “flying carpets” rather than airplanes.
  • “Then there are the 22 million Americans on food stamps. And of course there are the 39 million greedy geezers collecting Social Security. The Greatest Generation rewarded itself with a pretty big meal.”
  • “Conservatives believe man was created in God’s image, while liberals believe they are gods. All of the behavioral tics of the liberals proceed from their godless belief that they can murder the unborn because they, the liberals, are themselves gods. They try to forcibly create “equality” through affirmative action and wealth redistribution because they are gods. They flat-out lie, with no higher power to constrain them, because they are gods. They adore pornography and the mechanization of sex because man is just an animal, and they are gods. They revere the U.N. and not the U.S. because they aren’t Americans — they are gods.”

The GOP as a whole engages in the subtleties of rhetoric that separates. As Wikipedia notes:

“Democrat Party” is a political epithet used in the United States instead of “Democratic Party” when talking about the Democratic Party.[2] The term has been used in negative or hostile fashion by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since 1940.

The term came back into vogue with Lee Attwater and his minion Karl Rove. The term “Democratic,” which is proper, suggests that the party is the guardian of Democratic principals. More often than not, it tends to be. The Party has usually represented the will of the working person, women, minorities, and progressive change in American society.

Henrick Hertzberg in “The New Yorker” says it best:

“There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. “Democrat Party” is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but “Democrat Party” is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams “rat.” [3]

Dehumanizing political opposition in the eyes of a less educated portion of an electorate is a slippery slope that provides a political party with frightening power.   When you are able to twist the belief systems of rational, normal people into condoning or participating in socially deviant or genocidal destruction of other members of society with whom they disagree on political, moral or religious grounds, you open the door to a devolution of America that could be far worse than the Civil War.

The Germans, Cambodians, and Rwandans, among many, have witnessed the horror of  the end-game of political hate rhetoric: The senseless extermination of millions of human beings.  What starts with a Reifenstahl or an Ann Coulter never ends well.

Free speech is protected by our Constitution. Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are free to say whatever they want, and I would die defending the right for anyone to speak.  That is always the justification for the saying, but what about the listening?

What does it say about us when we buy books by people who outright espouse hate of our fellow citizens?

What does it say about you when you set aside your beliefs in the protection of everyone in the workplace because some yahoo on Fox News told you that five women whom they spend more time covering than other stations are part of a “Liberal media conspiracy” even though most of them are card-carrying Republicans.

What does it say about  all of us when people donate millions to the political campaign of a white Southerner who supported flying the symbol of white separatism and slavery, the Confederate Flag, and called our first black president a liar during a globally-televised address to the American people?

Fox News isn’t the problem. Ann Coulter isn’t the problem. Rush Limbaugh isn’t the problem.  People who listen to them, who give them ratings and credibility are the problem.

Bring civility back to this country before we slide into the abyss any further. Turn off Fox News. Don’t listen to Rush. Demand civility in the people you send to Congress, and want to put in the White House.

My shiny two.

About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian and short filmmaker who blogs for Truth2Power, the Huffington Post, and the Daily KOS, among others.

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