The history of social conservatism in America is, in large part, a shameful and disgraceful one. It was social conservatives that demanded the protection of slavery in the new Constitution. It was social conservatives who helped tear America apart prior to the Civil War by their fanatical opposition to anything that would restrict slavery’s expansion. Social conservatives were the core of the viciously anti-immigrant Know Nothings in the 1850s. It was social conservatives who flocked to the Confederate cause during the war, and it was social conservatives who maintained the monstrous Jim Crow system of neo-slavery in the Deep South (and elsewhere).
Social conservatives formed the post-Civil War southern church movement, based on the sentiment that the wrong side had won the Civil War. Social conservatives have, at various times, opposed votes for women, votes for African-Americans, the abolition of child labor, the end of segregation, tolerance of Jews, equality for gays, equal pay for women, biracial marriage, unions, minimum wage laws, workplace safety standards, health care for the poor, reproductive rights (including the right to birth control), the teaching of science in science classes, and environmental protection. Social conservatives were the core of the Klan revival in the 1920s. They were the howling supporters of the lynch mobs from the 1890s to the 1960s. They were Joe McCarthy’s worshippers. They were the George Wallace fans and the core of the White Backlash. They loved Jesse Helms.
In short, on almost every issue, they have taken the most morally bankrupt stance. They are the enemies of rational thought, the enemies of science, and believers in a religiosity that borders on irrational fanaticism. Many are hoping for the literal end of the world and the physical destruction of the vast majority of the human race. The modern Republican Party has cynically used these people, but it has not let them actually govern.
Until now. The nomination of Sarah Palin, pushed by the most brutally radical sections of the Republican Party, represents the triumph of the Kristol-Coulter-Limbaugh-Hannity branch of the Republican Party, what I like to call the Timothy McVeigh wing of the Republicans. Palin is the final product of the long and vile history of American social conservatism. She represents the final insult to the rest of the American people, and as such, it is her malign influence that has the Republicans on the brink of a well-deserved defeat. Everything about the way Palin has been marketed is a slap in the face to every rational man or woman in America.
We were told that being the mayor of a tiny Alaska town (one in which the city manager did the actual work) represented “executive experience”.
We were told that proximity to Russia= foreign affairs experience.
We were told that Palin is the “foremost energy expert in America”, a grotesque, laughable falsehood.
Palin believes in demons and witchcraft. Her church believes Alaska will be the End Times sanctuary. Her church believes all Jews will either be converted or exterminated soon. She thinks the Bible is literally true. She believes in “spiritual warfare”. Her views are so extreme that even most Christians are appalled by them. Yet we were not allowed to question her.
Palin and her husband have played footsie with a group of traitorous Alaskan secessionists, a group founded by a man so hatefully anti-American as to beggar belief.
Palin considers the John Birch Society to be too liberal and considers progressive income taxation to be “socialism”.
She has an understanding of American government comparable to that of a fourth grader.
She knows nothing about any national or international issue. She is a half-educated ignoramus who thinks dinosaurs and humans lived together and that the earth is 7,000 years old. She is willing to block abortions even for the physically and emotionally shattered victims of rapists, and for 13 year old girls molested and impregnated by their own fathers.
She cannot give a coherent answer to any serious question and, alone in modern political history, she has never been allowed to give a press conference. Her medical records were also embargoed for no apparent reason.
Her administration in Alaska has been fraught with corruption and petty favoritism for her friends and supporters.
Oh, and she lies. Incessantly. Insistently. Repeatedly. About everything. She throws every smear and slander against her opponents gleefully, revealing an ugliness of spirit that is repulsive. And her hypocrisy knows no bounds whatsoever, as she crows about being against earmarks while governing a state that gets more federal dollars per capita than any other.
In short, she is the sum total and epitome of everything modern American social conservatism stands for—Christianism instead of Christianity, proud ignorance, right wing fanaticism, bigotry of the most vicious kind, contempt for science, contempt for reason, contempt for our democratic republic, and nauseating, self-righteous hypocrisy and moral fraud. She is wildly popular among the small minority of Americans that the social conservatives, despite their lying propaganda to the contrary, actually are. To the rest of us, she is an insult to our intelligence and our common sense. She, more than any other factor, has helped expose the Republican Party for the intellectually bankrupt shell that it has become. And after her defeat tomorrow, the Republicans will say that they lost because they weren’t conservative enough, and that they should have let Sarah be Sarah.
And the Palinization of the Republican Party will accelerate, as will the irrelevance of the party itself.
A nation’s people can only be insulted for so long. After repeated assaults on their intellects and sensibilities, they will rise up in huge numbers and thunder out, as our great nominee did in August, the following declaration of independence:
And tomorrow, their voices will be heard loudly and clearly.
Yes. We. Can.