can demonize with the best of 'em. First, because I know when I'm
demonizing something or someone. Secondly, I can sense fear and know
when to use it. But most of all, I can use hyperbole and make it seem
possible. For example, I can say that "the Religious Right wants gay
teens to commit suicide." I didn't qualify the statement by saying
"some" of the Religious Right. I played upon progressives' fears by
using the word "suicide" and demonized by using "wants." Then back up
the statement with something, like posting a clip of a pulpit
personality ranting about the "destructive gay lifestyle." It's really
rather simple, isn't it?
Which is why "social conservatives" and Religious Right leaders demonize all the time. It has a simple formula that's quick and cheap (unless, of course, you're insecure about your ability to demonize and think you need billboards and stuff). Demonizing, of course, is not new to religion, but Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) have strong "we -are-the-only-religion" doctrines and therefore lend themselves to demonizing everyone else on a large, all-inclusive scale: It's alway "us" vs "them" and "them" is immediately demonized. In her book, The Origin Of Satan, Elaine Pagels puts the process of Christian demonizing neatly:
"Jesus' followers did not invent the practice of demonizing enemies within their own group... they drew upon traditions they shared with other first-century Jewish sects. ..The Essenes never admitted Gentiles to their movement. But the followers of Jesus did - cautiously and provisionally at first, and against the wishes of some members. But as the Christian movement became increasingly Gentile during the second century and later, the identification of Satan primarily with the Jewish enemies of Jesus, borne along in Christian tradition over centuries, would fuel the fires of anti-Semitism."
- Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan ( Vintage, 1996, p. 34)
OK, enough of Demonizing 101. Let's go on to today's primary issue: how the Radical Religious Right (RRR) will be working its demonizing "agenda" into the country's ballot boxes this November.
This coming election day, the RRR's "agenda" will be split between Tea Baggers and Republicans. Most of the Tea Party will be focusing on less government (always good for the RRR), while the Republican Party will concentrate on the RRR's other ideals: eradicating abortion, eradicating the "gay agenda," erasing the idea of global warming, slowly promoting the ideas of Dominionism and "Christian Only" republicanism, promoting the status quo (doing nothing), repealing as much "progressive" legislation as possible and promoting capitalism. They will, of course, cover everything with a beautiful cloak they call: "for the good of the country."
Now let's look at some of the propositions and amendments that are on state ballots. There's a great website called Ballotpedia.org that lists and parses (impartially) all propositions for Nov. as well as ones in previous years and ones that are coming up in the future. So, from Ballotpedia.org, here goes:
Proposition B - "Puppy Mill Cruelty" legislation. RRR: We love puppies, but not to the extent that we have to expand government to protect them. (Translation: "who cares?")
Measure 74 - State to license marijuana farmers who can distribute crop to medical marijuana dispensaries. RRR: More crime! Costs too much! Too much regulation!! (Plus: We wouldn't be getting any money out of it!) NOTE: There are 26 local propositions concerning legalization of marijuana nationwide.
Question 1 - Allow citizens to bear arms in the state. RRR: The U.S. Constitution isn't enough! And tear out that part in the KANSAS Constitution about " no standing armies and militias"! (Bo Gritz will love us forever)
Question 2 - (file this one in the "WTF?" category) Eliminate mental illness as a voting disqualification. RRR: "These people are our friends. They are everyday Kansans. They have jobs, pay taxes and vote." (They also shoot guns)