Point of View Columns

Topless and Bottomless

It would be wise to simply abandon all sense of outrage and disgust while observing the mosh pit that passes for political discourse in America in 2010. Clearly the sky is the limit when it comes to outrageous and bizarre statements that are fobbed off the American public as facts. Consider:
• President Obama was not born in the United States
• President Obama is a Muslim
• The initial health care proposals included “death panels” for senior citizens
• The B.P. oil spill was an act of God

All of these statements of “fact”, and many more are part of the talking points of many Republican candidates running for governor, senator and Congress. That these “facts” are patently untrue has not moved the leadership of the Republican Party to distance itself from the members of their party responsible for these statements, much less correct them.

There is not the least bit of challenge or suggestion that accuracy might be useful that has emanated from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele or Representative John Boehner or Representative Eric Cantor or Senator John McCain all known as leaders of the Republican Party.

The silence of the elephants is astounding as it is absurd as Republican candidates call for the dismantling of the Departments of Education and Energy (Angle – Nevada), question the constitutionality of unemployment insurance (Miller – Alaska), publicly refer to homosexuality as an “identity disorder (O’Donnell – Delaware) and question to viability and rationale for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Paul – Kentucky). When it comes to outrageous comments and points of view, the right wing of the right wing is topless. But it is also bottomless.

We have now learned that Rich Iott, the Republican Party candidate for Congress in Toledo, Ohio, regularly attends Nazi reenactment activities, in some instances wearing an
SS uniform, presumably to enhance the authenticity of the moment. The fact that he is part of a society that conducts historical reenactments of a German SS division did bother Representative Cantor enough to express his distaste – being one the few Jewish members of the G.O.Tea Party Congressman Cantor’s response was somewhat predictable. Although neither Congressman Cantor nor any other Republican seemed to have any problem with Confederate heritage celebrations in Virginia – I guess it depends on which end of the whip one stands.

And so we see that the right wing of the right wing is not only topless, it is bottomless. And through some strange hypnotic force that renders logic, common sense and intelligence inert, the right wing of the right wing is calling the shots for the entire Republican Party. There are more sightings of unicorns and griffins than there are of Republicans who believe that there is a limit to the amount of hate and ignorance that is being injected into the American political blood stream.

Whether it’s Dinesh D’Souza recreating an imaginary communion between President Obama and his father in a cemetery to Rush Limbaugh hoping that the President of the United States “fails”, no member of the G.O.Tea Party feels compelled to say that enough is enough.

Meanwhile, as this topless/bottomless maelstrom ravages the intellectual countryside of this nation, the Democrats remain mute and muted. The silence of the donkeys is remarkable given the vehemence and intensity of the attacks perpetrated by the right wing of the right wing. I am amazed at poll results that show Tea Party adherents exceeding Republicans in their interest in voting in the upcoming elections while Democrats lag far behind both. What could the progressives and moderates be thinking?

Could dissatisfaction with the less than perfect presidency of Barack Obama be reason enough to sit by and let Sharron Engle and Linda McMahon and Sarah Palin become the voice of the future? Could the fact that the Democrats have not been able to fully revive the economy that was truly moribund at the end of the Bush Administration be reason enough to return to the policies that damn near cratered the economy in the first place?

Isn’t the prospect of birthers and witches and know-nothings and Nazi reenactment enthusiasts and Confederate heritage aficionados enough motivation to simply walk to the polls and say “enough is enough”?

Thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of earlier this year, millions of anonymous corporate dollars from the Koch brothers and the Scaifes and the Chinese are flowing into the coffers of G.O.Tea Party candidates as you read this column.

Fortunately, it is still a nation of one vote per person, but money doesn’t talk, it shouts in stentorian tones, and it seems to be drowning out the voices of reason and sanity across this country.

There are barely three weeks before the midterm elections. The members of the right wing of the right wing and their Tea Party cohorts are sharpening their pitchforks and fueling their torches in anticipation of a raucous victory celebration on the evening of November 2nd.

Right now, there is still time to create an unhappy ending to the G.O.Tea Party dream, which would be America’s nightmare if it comes true.

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2 thoughts on “Topless and Bottomless

  1. ahmed mrabet says:

    Wallace,

    Thanks for sharing the comment w/me. I don´t know who this Thomas Burrell is (his name just reminds me of my favorite jazz guitarist, Kenny Burrell), but I certainly agree with what he says. Really, I´m sitting here, bewildered by what a growing number of Americans(?) are turning that beautiful (used to be?) country into, with their self-righteous, lunatic, dangerous ideas/visions of their society and the world at large. We are a far cry from the years of the Civil Rights Movement and the Viet-Nam war, which seemed to have a sobering effect on America and where the vast majority of the American People was singing ´…love NOT war´, where the Civil Rights Bill was voted by Congress(´64?), where, what seemed like a more harmonious society was emerging. Foreign students (the writer being one of them, from Morocco) were ´courtized´ by everybody, on campuses and outside. People being interested in their countries of origin, their culture… .

    The law (whatchamacall it, Brother?) was enacted, whereby a (suspected) person could refuse his/her interrogation (without being waterboarded!!!…) by the police, until a lawyer was by his/her side, to assure the rights of the person… . I remember the year of this Law was 1965, I might be wrong though!. Well, all these formidable advances into a better integrated, harmonious society, at peace wirh itself and the rest of the world, seem like to belong to a long gone past. It is very sad, to say the least. What we see now in America?, this growing number of ´suspecters´ of anything they don´t understand. This exacerbated form of (sickly?) nationalism, fingerpointing anyone who doesn´t share their ´retrograding´ ideas/opinions, even becoming aggressive about it. Whoever is not with them is against them (i.e. an enemy).

    This polarization of the American society is carrying with it some very, very dangerous seeds of division. It looks like, some of those from the right wing of the right wing (to use your, rightly said, terminology), those brainless folks, would not be so unhappy to see a civil war break out in America, tomorrow, to `settle some scores´ with their enemies, virtual or real, oblivious, unconscious of the outcome. It is SCARY !!!. God save that country. ´Cause it´s beautiful, still.

    Ahmed M´Rabet

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