Just who is the so-called "God" of the Tea Partiers? And what is their vision of our nation?
What can lead them to publicly declare the following?
I refuse to remain silent. ... I will call them socialists or statists or fascists, or communists as the definitions apply (I’m capable of that), I will call them traitors to a free America, and I will do it to their faces. I will embarrass them before their friends ... I will organize against them. I will make it my mission to destroy their ability to affect anyone in the public arena. I refuse to ever give up on these final goals Amended directly into the Constitution by the methods laid out by the Amendment clause:
To forbid all government ownership of money or assets, thereby criminalizing socialism, statism, communism (and yes, crony-capitalism).
Most importanty, I absolutely refuse to hand over the hearts and minds of my children to the State. I will be God-damned and gone to Hell before that happens.
[Bold mine, italics his]
I never thought we would come to a day when Reason must be defended. By a 22 year old.
A day when intellectualism and factual debate has been attacked with such viciousness that blatant lies and misinformation are taken for truth. When humanity's unique ability to love and consciously choose to go against the grain and do the greatest good has been arrested by ignorance and fear.
What follows is a polemic, a diatribe, the angry self-righteousness of a soon-to-be college graduate who, for the life of him, cannot figure out why we tolerate the status quo.
As a student of history for my four years in college, I cannot sit by and watch as far right hate builds. As Turkana's Rec Listed diary, This Is The Moment. There Won't Be Another makes clear: the world we know today is not the world we will know in 50 years. I will not sit by and fitter my precious time away laughing at the far-right anymore.
If you read this any other way, so be it. Fair warning.
The Tea Bagger mentality is only the latest expression of hyper nationalism in this country. The problem the Tea Baggers have is the same other hyper nationalists have faced: their ideas fail to sync with reality. But, their ideas usually are not "their ideas," meaning, whoever they are getting their information from is fudging the data at point of entry. At some point these people have to internalize what they are being told and truly believe this garbage coming from their media. Therefore, while they may not have started this narrative of a socialist take over of America, they are now responsible for its continuance.
For the Tea Baggers, the world that has been constructed for them begins and ends with the Constitution, which, apparently, has a clause stating that capitalism is the only economy we are allowed to have. I've looked, Michael Moore has looked, and I am sure that you have looked for it.
It isn't there.
The so called political philosophers of the far right also do not share the same concept of nationalism as the rest of us. They, at all public appearances, seem to believe in democracy only when their candidate "wins." The far right also attempts to rewrite history to convince us that this nation is Christian, even though our Constitution clearly states otherwise.
They are lying.
The simple fact of the matter is that we live in an entirely different reality than many on the far-right.
Part I: What, then is reality?
(And who am I to lay claim to knowing what reality is?)
Reality is acknowledging that the earth is billions of years old, that mankind evolved out of a long line of creatures, and that we are the only species that can effectively communicate ideas to each other. Yes, other primates, dolphins, whales, and a wide variety of other animals have intelligence, but we are the only ones who can communicate these ideas with such enormous ability as to alter entire ecosystems and climates. Humanity is the only species that can perform an immeasurable number of reality-altering actions without the second most thought.
By the time of the historical age we were fully conscious of our differences with other beings. We then began to believe that we are superior to all others, with total authority to own and destroy any and all species. We have the right to "conquer" their habitats and destroy them so that only ourselves and our chosen (and enemy species, such as rats) species can live there. We assert dominance over each other, as well, because power is addictive. Even Christianity lost its way when it formally met with Constantine at Nicaea. No longer would Christians offer themselves to their executioners and be at the receiving end of hate. Once it followed the teachings of Christ, but now it had assumed the position of dominance and intolerance.
Reality is accepting, by course of life experience, that the "art" of science is the best way for mankind to make inquiry about our Earth. Science is not just for describing the physical world, but as many recognize, the study of history, anthropology, and sociology (among others) are just as worthy as the study of biology, chemistry, or physics. There is a reason why billions of people around the world are involved in these professions. There are teams of researchers studying a number of problems so large, that I would dare say a 100 years ago only a few people could imagine it. The simple reason they are involved in professions which require the scientific method is because the scientific method works. And to make things better, the scientific community is highly democratic, with ideas routinely being called to account for wont of evidence. The narratives at the forefront of many of our scientific disciplines are not accepted to make scientists sound smart, but because they have been refined and are always being pushed forward as things are accepted. This isn't to say that scientists do not make mistakes, however. After all, scientists are people too.
That is why we study the social sciences in addition to the physical sciences.
The study of humanity and our history is very far advanced. What we do not know, we are pursuing. What we have found, overall, is that societies are most happy when at peace. Humanity is considered to be in a golden age when we embrace knowledge, innovation, and tolerance. Parents and citizens choose to promote the arts and education for all so our children have a better tomorrow. Humanity is also most content when wealth is equitably shared, when no one goes hungry, or suffers. Strangely, in fact, most religions of the world promote the same ideal.
It is perhaps not strange, then, that the ones who proclaim their faith the loudest are exactly the ones not following their faith's teachings. Wearing your religion on your sleeve and worrying about other peoples faith, in your vision of God, is what leads to religious intolerance. The real struggle is within, to hold yourself within the bounds of cultural decency, and do God's work.
It is only recently that humanity has been able, on a large scale, to have access to advanced education, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression. This has allowed for an unprecedented march of democracy and social justice, the likes of which had rarely been seen before on such scale. Along with democracy came liberalism, which, in its highest forms embraces equality for all mankind. Democracy, fueled by liberalism, brought about change.
Leftists of the world now would probably agree with the following:
Hate is not a human ideal. Superiority is not a democratic ideal. Eradication should be reserved for real cancer and disease, not people. Evil is soiling the one and only home that we occupy by chance.
Part II: Their God is not my God.
Although I cannot prove God's existence, I believe in one because the passion for helping the poor, the downtrodden, the sick, respecting the elderly and parents, and being kind to your neighbor are wonderful ideals. If you believe the narrative, humanity was left with dominion over the earth, and that God would be back for it one day.
This is how I choose to see it: the Earth is part of the creative genius of God. And we were left to take care of it. And, it is the only planet we know of with life. Do you think that God would rather come back and see that we have kept his tapestry of life alive and created peace and happiness; or, would he rather come back and see his planet raped and turned into a garbage pit devoid of creatures, filled with humans building monuments to their egos, whilst the least of them are worked to death? I think He would rather return to the former.
So we better take care of our home. These ideals are the best religion has to offer in aide to humanity's mission on this planet. Although you don't need religion to share these ideals, I choose to hold on to a religious belief because it brings me comfort, but doesn't force me to make irrational decisions. Why people still hold on to the worst of religion, I am not entirely sure. Compassion, love, and safety are the feelings I think that most humans would like to feel.
Our ability to act on our feelings makes it imperative that we take care of this planet, so that our children have a safe, clean, and healthy place to grow up. So that the other species on this planet have the ability to pursue their lives and evolutionary tract. For the only thing separating humans from any other organism is a chain of accidental genetic mutations.
I don't envision God as a bored deity who has nothing better to do than meddle, and supposedly destructively so, in the affairs of one species on one tiny speck of dust in the universe. Worse, waiting for a deity to intervene and cause the end of the world (and save you and your friends) when there is no real proof of his existence is rather foolish. No, my God doesn't play favorites.
My God created the earth and everything in it. We just so happen to be the only species on this rock that has the ability to change the entire globe. That means we have a great responsibility to make sure that God's experiment commonly known as Earth not just survives, but thrives.
And what of the far right's God?
The far right's God is the antithesis of my idea of God. The "God" they claim to worship is angry, vengeful, and blood thirsty one day; intolerant, sexist, and punitive the next; and on Christmas is the bearer of Peace and Joy for all God's children. But, come New Year, that "God" is gone and the Old Testament-Book of Revelations splicing fear-monger-in-chief is trotted back out to keep us in line.
"Pastors" such as John Hagee preach to a captive audience of a coming nuclear exchange in the Middle East, of a pact with Israel that goes beyond mere diplomacy to a holy alliance. This holy alliance has no positive use for the Palestinians or the Islamic world and Hagee constantly promotes a militarist facilitation of the end times by using our nation to bomb Iran.
Their "God" will defeat a coalition of Muslims lead by the Russians and Jesus will save everyone in his church. They don't believe in separation of church and state, until they use up the state for their insanely suicidal religious Crusade.
Some even believe that "God" gave the United States of America the Constitution as a heavenly mandate.
(Never mind the fact that the document has been amended some 17 times in addition to the Bill of Rights.)
The danger of believing that the Constitution is divinely ordered lies not with the belief that we should endure by the Constitution as long as possible, but with the exceptionalism that it breeds. American exceptionalism is so profound that it is one of the few nations who can launch a war of aggression and sell it to its own people as "Operation Iraqi Freedom." It is one of the only nations where you can find people who believe that the rest of human history is nothing but history, that the worst could never happen here.
History is not dead. Those who claim it to be dead wish us to repeat the past. Democracy is not the end game of the elite, it never has, and may never be. Have you forgotten your history? Have you not watched Moore's Capitalism?
Reason and reality dictate that the Constitution since the time of its inception has been no more than an agreement among men. White men. It is not the second coming of the Ten Commandments.
Part III: Their "nation" is not my nation.
Their nation only errs when liberals are in control and amends itself when they are in control. Their nation never declines when under their rule. Their nation is a land of freedom, where any man can become rich. Their nation will function with a bare bones government, with super low taxes. It would be a libertarian paradise, filled with happiness for all who seek it. Their nation's shadows are filled with strangers, evil-doers, and leftist traitors. Liberals are not fellow citizens; liberalism is a disease, a blight, a creeping darkness that must be purged.
Their nation is a fairy tale.
The United States of America is a country, a unique one, but a nation like any other none the less. It is made up of individuals who just so happen to agree that the way to a successful future is to debate policy and the direction of the country to suit their interests. There is nothing magical about the Constitution that makes Americans any better than any other human being on the planet. There is nothing holy about America's past or present.
The United States of America is a representative democracy. The Constitution of the United States of America sets up one of the most level government playing fields known to man (in its present form.) We are free to speak, act, and say as we please as long as we don't harm others. This freedom allows us to decide our own futures. Liberals just so happen to believe that society can identify and solve problems together, using our democracy as the tool by which to decide the course of action. That we all live in a giant community, but that democracy begins at home by practicing what we preach. That each one of us is a fellow citizen who can contribute to making this place a better one for all of us.
And that is exactly what the far right has a problem with.
Part IV: What is the far right?
The American far right, as I see it, is a loose patchwork of hyper nationalists, Christian supremacists, and, mostly white, supremacists who believe so strongly that America is just, good, and divine that they are willing to listen to anyone who will tell them just that. The far right, which certainly includes the Birthers, certain Truthers (the left has them too), New World Order conspiracy theorists, as well as members of the Tea Party and Glenn Beck's 9/12 movement, live within their own echo chamber. When accused of being in an analogous left-wing chamber, we can respond with: "At least we don't live in a world of fear."
The far right media, which includes almost everything owned or touched by Rupert Murdoch, is highly integrated. Their echo chamber has to echo and self promote because that is the only way it can survive. The message is clear: Progressives are a cancer that must be eradicated. Liberals are destroying America. Liberalism, social justice, and environmentalism are a plot to take over the world and bring about the anti-Christ embodied by the NWO. The vast religious hard right media is very similar, painting pictures of Apocalypse if peace is ever achieved, of an America that has lost the path of God's, as illuminated in the Constitution and the free markets it set up.
The free market has become central to the cult of their mythological state. They cannot imagine the United States without the free market. It is the only system that our system tells us can ever work. Nor can many other people imagine us without it, because it is the only economic model that we have known. However, the idea of what the free market is has been so distorted that what we are hearing from the right is this:
The Free Market is enshrined into our nation's history and must never be altered. The Free Market only works when the nation does not tax and spend, but rather when the nation steps aside. Everything I earn is from my own labor, no one elses, ever. Everything I have is mine, and only mine. I owe nothing to anyone besides myself and my family (unless they are gay, liberal, or not "Christian")
Who is telling them these lies?
The uber wealthy. The top 5%, and especially 1%, are the ones who call most of the shots these days. Their power is well documented. We can try to pretend that the massive wealth disparity in this country has nothing to do with our current situation, but that would be idiotic. We have classes in this country. Apparently, the only PC one to pronounce is the "middle" class because everyone these days is "middle" class. If we admit to having a "middle" class, then there must be an upper class. And that class is further broken down into a top 1% that literally own more wealth that entire nations. They have power.
Do you think they want the people who are losing their homes and businesses to find out?
Let's not pretend this isn't happening anymore, please.
They believe these lies?
Take a look at Red State. Take a look at any of these hard right websites. There are members who obviously do not want to share this country with anyone who believes something contrary them. That is a direct violation of our Bill of Rights. They call us evil. Do they need to be more clear?
To say that they are not dangerous is to, in the truest sense of the term, naively ignore their own warnings.
Part V: What is to be done?
The only thing that should be done.
We must harness the power of the liberal narrative. We must extol the virtue of love, compassion, kindness, and yes: social justice.
We must once again take up the banner of the working class, the middle class, and all those who play by the rules. We should focus on putting Americans back to work, back to restoring America and her natural environment. So that we all can live out a decent human existence if we so choose.
We need to be positive and hammer home that the free market does not supersede the Constitution.
We are all Americans, and if the upper 5% need to be taxed in order to provide the necessary funds to put people back into homes, keep schools open, provide healthy food for our children, and end the abusive practices of the for profit health industry, then so be it.
We need to be positive and hammer home that the free market does not supersede the health of our only home, Earth.
We must uphold the scientific method as valid and true, we must encourage our best and brightest to be devoted to a better future. And we must expose the hypocrisy of people who deny Anthropogenic Climate Change data, but who, somehow, at the very same time, daily entrust their lives to the science that tells them that their 50 story office building will not collapse.
We need to be positive and hammer home that the Constitution permits our freedom of political expression.
We need to be positive and hammer home that we have a right to life.
We must be positive.
We must be passionate members of our communities.
Wherever we choose to lead our lives in happiness.
We must also be the ones with the ideas to halt the current madness. People need hope. We have the historical examples to build off of to put this nation back on a healthy course. Only then will we be able to win votes from the politically apathetic who may be vulnerable to the hard right's strong narrative.
Let us have the courage to proclaim: "Never again!" to the far right corporatist machine which seeks to rape, pillage, and destroy this planet, and all the abundant life on her, in the name of profits.
We must tell the people that we will no longer allow them to be treated like chattel, like some pawns in a game of chess. We will not go silently into the night.
We cannot allow right wing, corporate propagandiststo sway another great nation away from democracy and down the road to despair, hate, and destruction for the financial gain of the few.
For their message is clear: they do not want to co exist anymore. They want to eradicate us.
We can not allow the radical right to drag us into oblivion without a fight.