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Hey Friends.  

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?
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.
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.  
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.

FRENEMIES

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.

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?

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.

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 1-)

    #hcr passes with no opposition from the left. It's Rahm's American we just whine here.

    by 5oclockshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 02:51:11 PM PDT

  •  There comes a time in an activist's life... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    5oclockshadow, wilderness voice

    ...when beating one's head against a brick wall becomes an exercise in futility.  I applaud you for sticking with it and trying to bridge some gaps, but this country is so polarized right now that the gaps are basically unbridgeable at this moment in history.

    Best of luck in your new direction.

    The test of whether we're willing to stand up to the thugs that wrote voter suppression laws is this: Are you willing to hold hands with someone that needs hand holding in order to qualify to vote?

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:43:20 PM PDT

    •  The Lies of the Right (3+ / 0-)

      ... are so pervasive, and deeply ingrained in the right wing grassroots.  Secret kenyan, muslim, communist fascist Obama, Death panels, Obama's $200 Million trips, ObamaCare as an IRS trojan horse, and a thousand other lies get the backing of FOX and Friends, Glen Beck and Rush before anyone can scream and tell them to stop.  

      Thanks for the sympathy, it really does suck to have to walk away from long-term "friendships", and abandon the hope that guys like me won't every be able to get free, just because they're from a different part of town.

      #hcr passes with no opposition from the left. It's Rahm's American we just whine here.

      by 5oclockshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:52:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What you seemed to have missed in your (3+ / 0-)

    desire to respect someone who is and intelligent, but on the other side, is that they aren't bigoted because they don't have the facts - they're bigoted because they want to be.  They're emotionally stunted and being bigoted is the only way they can manage to feel good about themselves.  Any effort to "educate" them or even converse with them on an intelligent level is simply a waste and time and effort.  Do it if it satisfies some need in you, but don't ever start believing you'll either be having an impact or gaining their respect.

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:52:22 PM PDT

  •  wait.... what? (0+ / 0-)

    That was Koch's grandmother?  Sickening.  I couldn't stand to click the link.

    •  Do it! (0+ / 0-)

      What's more important being politically informed, or being able to hold down your lunch?

      The human skin fetish is a wonderful  legacy.

      #hcr passes with no opposition from the left. It's Rahm's American we just whine here.

      by 5oclockshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 04:07:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, she wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know why the diarist has chosen to make that rather extraordinary statement. The Koch brothers' father was born in 1900, Ilse Koch was born in 1906.

      The link in question indicates some business connections, which may or may not have been familial, between Fred Koch (the founder of the family oil fortune) and Erich Koch, a very high-ranking Nazi official, who apparently had administrative responsibility for the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. Erich's brother, Karl Otto Koch, was the commandant of Buchenwald, and husband of Ilse.

      So there's some vague possibility that the Kochs are closely related to the butchers of buchenwald, but it isn't particularly germane to the main point, which is that the Koch fortune was built by doing business in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 05:13:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We're Seeing the Logical Extreme of the 1st (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    5oclockshadow, marina

    Amendment, which is the collapse of American democracy.

    Remember this isn't merely conservative lies. Most of it is consistent with the limited, generally irrelevant picture of society painted by all the mainstream media.

    Most important it's reinforced by The Lord, for some 40% of Americans.

    The public square, peers, employers, bankers, our troops, and our churches are creating a consistent picture of the world, our 1st Amendment protects ownership and authorities to do this in 3 different rights, and there is just no way that most average people are capable of concluding that their entire society is lying and at information war against them.

    That's why the definition of the far left in the Democratic Party begins with accepting factual science and the need to act on it appropriately. Even in our party, if you stand for that, you're standing outside the conversation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 04:07:25 PM PDT

    •  Which is why I'm moving offline... (0+ / 0-)

      All the time I've spent debating these guys, has been time not spent working to move my local Dem committee more in line with reality and progressive principles.

      How else can we make the change we need?

      #hcr passes with no opposition from the left. It's Rahm's American we just whine here.

      by 5oclockshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 04:24:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations on freeing yourself up from an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    5oclockshadow

    exercise in futility.

    Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

    by ZedMont on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 04:12:34 PM PDT

  •  Hide rated your tip jar, because of the bizarre (0+ / 0-)

    assertion that Ilse Koch was the grandmother of David and Charles.

    I suggest that you rework that little section to bring it more closely into conformance with the truth.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 05:15:52 PM PDT

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