(image by Wikipedia)
With last week's crowning achievement of the Arizona legislature in passing a bill that would provide the official state seal of approval to business owners seeking to deny service to those who are gay under the guise of protecting their religious freedom members were beaming with the pride of triumphant cultural warriors. Similar legislation is being pushed in other states by big-time religious-right groups to pander to flocks of ignoramuses and dinosaurs who refuse to be peacefully sucked into the tar pits of history. The state of Arizona has become quite a symbol for the sick form of delegitimizing individual rights as well as a parody in recent years and this is just the latest episode in what is a bizarre reality show of imperial collapse. There is of course the attention-seeking media prostitute Sheriff Joe Arpaio who delights in hamming it up as a modern-day Bull Connor when the cameras are rolling and the draconian anti-immigration laws that are a disgrace to the very concept of a free society. For added humorous value the state Republican party just censured longtime Senator John McCain over his "liberal" voting record (as if the constant calls for war and mayhem have anything to do with liberalism) but considering that even Nixon and Reagan would be subject to one of the Khmer Rouge-style ideological purity purges of today's GOP base going after McCain is no big surprise. Now as the state pushes to deny an entire class of people their basic rights in order to pander to an extremely whiny, vocal, and well-organized minority that is all too kindly labeled by the media as "social conservatives" (translation: ignorant bigots), you can practically hear old Barry Goldwater spinning in his grave.
Senator Goldwater was as conservative as they came for a long time in this country but he unlike those who have seized the mantle of "conservatism" today he actually had a set of principles and standards that transcended lockstep fascism. While he was indeed a flawed man and his views of many things were unacceptable, particularly the on the civil-rights movement, he did on occasion draw the line, more so as he became older than in the heated 1960s decade. When he was once given a copy of the John Birch Society's infamous 'Black Book' formerly entitled "The Politician" in which WW II hero and President Dwight Eisenhower was smeared as a communist agent he famously advised JBS leader Robert Welch: "I want no part in this.... If you were smart, you'd burn every copy you have." Mr. Conservative also warned early on of the coming of the malevolence that is the religious right:
On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
Goldwater nailed it dead on. The infiltration and hijacking of the Republican party by the "preachers" has taken place incrementally over the last forty or so years and they currently exercise a disproportionate amount of control over policy. The party encouraged out of the necessity for harvesting the low-hanging fruit come election time has engaged in appeasement of the lunatic fringe but in essence have created their own Frankenstein monster. As they are hemorrhaging voters in an increasingly tolerant society they have no choice but to double down by becoming increasingly held prisoner by their most extremist elements that comprise the party base.
I can at some level understand some of Arizona's anti-immigration laws although they do tend to skirt the edge of Nazism with the 'papers please' demands, not that it is acceptable but it is a border state. The pushing of laws to codify anti-gay discrimination though is just pandering to the worst sort of bigots and they should be widely denounced as the social dregs that they are. This is all really going to be very 'helpful' (sardonic laughter) to small businesses in the Grand Canyon State because if Governor Jan Brewer formally rubber-stamps this despicable piece of anti-American trash then the corporate chains that actually value the concept of profits over prejudice will further increase their dominance over the vanishing 'mom and pop' outfits, many of which back the legislature. You can pretty much write it in stone that the national retailers and restaurant chains are not going to accept this blatant attempt to turn paying customers and loyal Americans into second-class citizens with the possible exception of Chick fil-A and that is even unlikely given the times.
There will also be boycotts, international condemnation, and public shaming that will hit the state's economy hard and some Arizona businesses are wisely calling for Brewer to veto the bill. But you can't stop arsonists from playing with matches any more than you can stop mean-spirited authoritarian bigots from hiding behind their bastardized version of Christianity as a shield while proceeding to destroy everything that this country and at a larger level Jesus Christ himself stood for. Religion is the ultimate enemy of individuality as well as liberty for it is collectivism backed by ancient superstition espoused in a book that was written by virtual primates and then adapted through history by popes and kings in order to justify their repression and slaughter of others. There is a reason why the founders included the separation of church and state when they wrote the Constitution, being from Europe, a region that engaged in centuries of atrocities, rape and pillage all in the name of their own interpreted version of God.
The Arizona effort to discriminate against gays serves as a textbook example of the complete moral bankruptcy of the modern Republican party. In a country with a rapidly changing social fabric particularly in recognizing the right of gay people to marry and the heretofore unthinkable legalization of marijuana in two states, they are chained to a base that is chock-a-block with racists, bigots, grumpy old people, and cultural jihadists. The coming demographic tsunami is going to wipe out what is an increasingly southern political party that has nothing to offer other than white supremacy and religious repression thanks to their alliances with the extremist religious right as well as the neo-confederates of the so-called tea party. Look at the lionization of a guy like Ted Nugent, a washed-up 1970s rock and roller who in some quarters has come to be a sort of beloved elder statesman. Nugent as with the rest of the worst elements of that particular party is a toxic mix of hypocrisy and convictions that just are not applicable in 2014. He appeals to the pro-gun crowd with his strident and dishonest defense of the Second Amendment, is a board member of the gun-manufacturing-lobby group the NRA yet when it came time to brandish a gun against someone who might have actually shot back he showed up at his draft board and sh*t in his pants to get out of going to Vietnam to serve his country . This is a guy who should be shunned by the so-called 'values' voters for his earlier sexual perversion-filled life on the road as a rock star as well as his fathering of multiple children out of wedlock . Yet he is adored to the point that he was trotted out as a mascot for Texas gubernatorial Republican candidate Greg Abbott's campaign - until he crossed the line with his most recent racist slur of Obama as a "subhuman mongrel" and became an embarrassment who will be packed off temporarily until Abbott needs entertainment for his state political tour this summer.
On a much larger level one of the greatest problems with our corrupt and failed political system is that it is dominated by two parties between in which at least in establishment consensus terms (war, support for the surveillance state, and ongoing subsidizing of the Wall Street casinos) there is not really any serious difference to begin with other than that one is just more overtly fascist than the other. This is already a rigged game in that the deck is so prohibitively stacked against third parties or outsiders that over the years it has been transformed into nothing more than two criminal gangs working opposite sides of the street. In the words of historian Carroll Quigley who in his 1966 book "Tragedy and Hope" wrote:
"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy."
However, with the infiltration of the Republican party by what can only be referred to as the American Taliban and its increasing marginalization due to the embracing of such idiotic policies as the Arizona anti-gay law, even the two-party scam is about finished for all intents and purposes. We will then be left with one party dominant and totally in control of the spoils system and the full power of the state that will further enslave besieged Americans to corporate interests. The Republicans thanks to the necessity to pander to religious extremists and bigots will not win another national election until they stand for something other than war, unconstitutional data-mining, building prisons, and passing laws at the state level to deprive Americans of their basic human rights. The only candidate that they have who actually stands for anything is Rand Paul (who denounced the scumbag Nugent) and he has as many enemies within his own party as outside of it and zero chance of winning the nomination.
Next up, eight years of Hillary Clinton and the looming replacement of a number of aging Supreme Court justices including right-wing judicial activists Clarence 'Long Dong Silver' Thomas and Antonin 'Internment Camps' Scalia not to mention the influence on lower courts. In an ironic way the religious right is changing American society only not in any way that they could have imagined.
I will close with another Barry Goldwater quote:
"Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism."
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