I was raised to believe that Conservatives in America . . . and most especially Republican Conservatives . . . were the traditional strong, staunch defenders of all things American . . . the defenders and protectors of individual freedoms, the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, Mom’s apple pie, fireworks and the Fourth of July.
My Dad was a strong old-fashioned traditional Republican as was my Grandfather and . . . by association . . . my Mom. I was a Republican until the second time I voted. The second time I voted I had learned a few things about Politics and so I voted for President John F. Kennedy. When I was young and dumb and full of it, I thought it was always best to vote for “The Man” rather than “The Party.”
Then a few years ago, I happened to switch on a radio to listen to some Right Wing talk radio shows which were just becoming popular at the time.
As I listened to the blowhard and some of his genre across that radio dial it began to dawn on me that something was different about the way the Conservatives were talking. They were saying things I had never heard before . . . things that would have caused my Dad and Grandpa to turn red around the collar and across the ears. The Conservatives I was listening to seemed to be filled with anger and virulence and vitriol and rage at Liberals, Democrats, Progressives and Independents . . . actually they seemed to be enraged at almost everything and everybody that didn’t agree with what they were saying.
That was not how I was raised.
That anger was too intense . . . too livid . . . to high-pitched for comfort.
Some of what I was hearing sounded more like a dictator screaming in a high-pitched voice from a podium in front of a crowd dressed in black and silver clothing and jackboots, carrying banners reminiscent of the Old Roman Empire – - or something. The sound and the pitch of the screaming hateful rhetoric I was hearing seemed to me to be trying to paint a picture of Democrats and Liberals and Progressives as some kind of vermin not worthy to share the earth with these pundits who I was listening to. It was repulsive, undignified, and quite frankly a little scary to listen to.
I tried! God knows I tried!
I listened to this shit for hours on end trying to get into the spirit of what the Conservative Punditry were trying to sell. But after a while of listening to what seemed to me to be the same old line over and over and over again, I started to sense I might be listening to something that was contrived . . . something that was designed to be presented in the way it was being presented on the airwaves . . . something that might be more at home amid the glare of beating drums and torch lights and screaming crowds and a very definitely militaristic nationalistic atmosphere.
After listening to this for a while I felt like jerking to stiff attention and clicking my heels or something. I definitely was inspired to be the best little Reichtie I could be and that is when it began to dawn on me that the tone and temper of what I was listening to was foreign to me. None of it matched the values I had been raised to respect. I felt like I was hearing a call to arms against a segment of the American Population. I felt like someone was trying to tell me that Democrats, Progressives and Liberals were the source of all the problems America faced and that America would be better off without them.
I could almost sense that if any of the leaders of The United States ever started to think the way some of these political pundits on the talk radio were talking about I might live to see the day when someone might grab control of the government on a permanent basis and possibly strive to institute another Thousand Year Period of some kind of Right Wing nightmare in which anyone who did not agree with the dictatorial leadership might be in serious trouble.
I was not listening to America anymore and I knew it and it was uncomfortable. It was disheartening to hear one American talking about another American in that tone of voice . . . with that level of disrespect. . . with that kind of bitterness.
It was not my Dad’s kind of Conservatism anymore.
The Righties talk about their desire to preserve and protect our American Freedoms, our sacred traditions and they talk about Christian America and compassion for our fellow man and they cast the Left and the Liberals in the darkest possible terms they can conjure up, but on examination of the things they do when they get into positions of power in The Congress . . . things like cutting the food stamps to the bare bone throwing millions of defenseless kids into danger of going very hungry through no fault of their own . . . things like wanting to cut Medicare and Medicaid and jeopardizing the health and welfare of millions of senior citizens . . . many of whom would be absolutely helpless without the assistance given by those kinds of programs . . . when I hear about Right Wing campaigns to shorten voting hours, to gerrymander districts, to move polling places out of reach of millions of Americans thus making it ever increasingly harder for people who might vote Democrat to cast their ballots. . . when I hear of a whole lot of things the modern-day so-called Conservative Right Wingers are doing, I am reminded with harsh reality that I am not looking at the Republicans and the Right Wingers of President Nixon’s Day or of Barry Goldwater’s Day or even of Ronald Reagan’s Day.
When I look at what is supposed to pass for Right Wing Conservatism . . . and yea even Republicanism today . . . I am looking at a movement that has undergone a strange metamorphosis like some monstrous caterpillar that has turned into a seven-headed flesh-eating moth that hovers over the Land of The Free with a gun and a club and a hammer defying anyone to oppose it on pain of horrible consequences. The Conservatism I am observing today seems to me to be threatening, dark, ominous, dangerous and even evil at its core and it seems to be spreading its grisly tentacles slowly, deliberately, persistently into the very soul of what once was the shining example of Liberty . . . what was once a beckoning beacon to the “Huddled Masses” seeking refuge from the tyrannies of the world.
I saw what was happening in time to escape and become Democrat.
Others are not so fortunate, I think.
It is definitely not my Dad’s form of Conservatism any more.
My Dad would have never voted to hurt another human being by meddling with their social security or their chance at getting the healthcare they need or the food on their table like some of the Righties in Washington are doing at this very hour . . . at the very time I am writing this blog post.
I weep for what once was and is no more and I fear the marching legions of what is rising on the wings of hatred from the pits of modern American Radical Conservatism. I am afraid it is more on the order of a devouring cloud of darkness than it is of any kind of light or promise for a brighter tomorrow. I am afraid it is a quicksand under foot that will suck everything and everybody who does not wear the adornment of the obscenely wealthy elite down with it if something isn’t done at the voting booths of America to turn the tide.
Posted by John @ 5:53 AM