It's been a LOOOONG while since I posted here, but I had a personal/political experience that I thought might interest the community.
As any of you who are "friends" with me will attest, since leaving Virginia politics for the private sector, I've remained prolific in my political postings on Facebook. My goal there has been twofold: 1. promoting progressive politics and, 2. engaging across party lines to refute the egregious excesses of conservatism.
Well, my days "engaging across party lines" ended today. Click below and I'll explain why I'm done, and why this in itself is a victory for the forces of bigotry and greed swarming this nation under the name of "conservatism".
Crosspost at BlueVirginia
CONSERVATISM AND OUR DIVIDED NATION
It was the election of 2000 that really snapped me into politics. I couldn't believe the injustice of the situation. I couldn't believe that for all of the patent lies told, half the country seemed happy to believe them.
In 2004, I found an article called "What is conservatism?" and that gave me what I needed: an understanding of precisely the ancient totalitarianism under which our nation had fallen sway:
Q: What is conservatism?At the heart of it, Conservatism isn't about "family values" or "rugged individualism", it's about greed and power - it is the usurpation and subjugation of civil power by moneyed interests.
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.
Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.
From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy. These people and their allies are the conservatives.The only power in the world strong enough to oppose the aristocracy of corporate oligarchs is democratically-elected government as the founding fathers intended. Corporate power, over the course of the past 30 years has set brother against brother, set the American working classes against each other, and critically, set lower-income, less-educated whites against those who could best help them achieve the American dream for themselves and their families.
The reason we see attacks against blacks, Hispanics, gays, atheists, liberals, and all the rest, is so that working folks will not join with their natural allies to empower government in opposition to rising oligarchy.
All of this is important, because until you realize that our national divisions are neither accidental, nor natural, you can get caught up in this controversy or that crisis, without seeing the uniting, underlying cause: greed and the takeover of our American democracy.
Disgusting as this is, I have always taken the approach that the grassroots of the right wing are as much victims of the right wing media as any of us. Those of us who haven't bought into the well-funded lies of the right suffer because of the impact on society. Those who have are as victims as well; victims of a decades long campaign of fear and hate-speech waged against the American people.
LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN
With all of this in mind, my policy of engagement has been based on the singular principle of "love the sinner, hate the sin." Even those professing, espousing, or parroting the most reprehensible right wing talking points and view points, are Americans. They're our countrymen under the sway of a decades-long propaganda war.
Even and especially those who emerge as the grassroots thought leaders and writers, I surmised, are worthy of respect and capable of reason. So, over the course of a decade, I have reached out to engage them, to show respect without backing away from the core principle that the basis of conservatism is fascism covered in the big three lies: "Family Values" - hate, "Small Government" - greed, "Strong Military" - fear.
So, all of this brings us to yesterday and a conversation I had with a grassroots conservative thought-leader named Alton Foley. I know Alton personally and have grown to appreciate him as an articulate, capable foe within the false "crossfire" construct of our current political discourse. I have spent literally hundreds of hours debating every topic under the sun with the man behind the mustache, building, I believed a reservoir of respect between us. All that changed however yesterday with this post at Bearing Drift.
We were fine discussing the Chik-Fil-A bigotry. My position was and remains that Chik-Fil-A's bigoted CEO can say what he wants and do with his money as he pleases. This is America after all. Still, that doesn't exempt his words from condemnation, nor exempt his business from boycott.
Then Alton went beyond the pale.
In a show of classical "false equivalency", he set out to contrast this bit of bigotry with a blatant lie about President Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood:
Chik-fil-A donates money to "hate groups"? Obama helped the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt and gave them $1.5 billion of YOUR money. The Muslim Brotherhood kills women for going out in public without a male relative, and murders homosexuals. If you don't protest against Obama, for that, you're a complete hypocrite.
My simple "Have you no shame?", brought this epic, and pitifully misdirected rant.
Yes, I am certainly ashamed that the CEO of my country is spending taxpayer dollars, over 1 billion of them, to support an organization that openly espouses the murder of homosexuals, and the complete dehumanization of women. Let’s not even mention what they think of Jews.With this, I determined my mission of mutual respect had come to an end. I cut ties with Alton wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
And I’m ashamed that people like you want to destroy a man of character like Dan Cathy, yet you stand off to the side and quietly applaud our current President who supports groups like this.
Josh, have you no shame?
You see, bigotry is bigotry. Lies are lies, and nobody is more indoctrinated than the indoctrinators.
When you are stuck inside a veil of lies like that created by the right-wing media, it's easy to fall victim to the divisive politics that keep working whites subjugated like willing house slaves. The Koch Brothers and Mitt Romney will never let the likes of my friend Alton into their country club, yet he will continue to defend them to his dying breath, I fear, because his belief system and his faith are fully tied to their abusive lies.
CONSERVATIVE HATE VICTORIOUS
Perhaps I was rash, but I'm just done. I have spent more time rebutting the lies of the right among those in the right wing grassroots I consider friends than I have spent engaging in my local party, volunteering, or constructing proactive strategies to defeat America's rising tide of fascism.
It is yet my assertion that one day the conservative grassroots will wake up to the abuse of today's right wing media propaganda-sphere. On that day, those who have given away so much power in order to serve the false ideals promulgated by the corporate overlords of the right will, I hope, come awake and rise up. I still hope that and on that day racism, nativism, and the corporate takeover of American democracy will meet crushing defeat, and woe to the likes of the Koch brothers on that day.
That is my hope, but I just don't have time to be the fact checker for my abused and beloved countrymen anymore. As I cut this tie with my friend Alton and other ties across party lines, I regret not a moment spent building bridges of friendship and respect for peers working for a better day. I only regret that I am fulfilling the the secondary goal of the Beck's, the Limbaugh's, FOX, and the Koch echo-sphere: the goal of keeping those of us who need each other angry, afraid, and separate.
UPDATE: I've scrubbed references to the Koch brothers and the Nazi Koch family. My apologies, I used CNN as a trusted source. Click here for a thorough delineation of the real connection between Fred Koch and Joe Stalin and a thorough debunk of the CNN piece.