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Pick your apocalypse, for the futures market is booming. Rebel yells of doom and gloom outstrip the Rapture, that mixed bag of redemption for the elect -- and the End of Everything for everyone else. For skittish pessimists, even getting to 2050 (the real come to Jesus moment, for some) could be a reach -- what with ominous asteroids, earthquakes, and eruptions, plus firestorms, loose nukes, pandemics or more Boston massacres.
Doomsters, take your mark, ready soap boxes and raise megaphones: "the sky is falling." Is that our drone or heavenly fire and brimstone? No joke, as the sky is falling, and heaven appears out to get us. A 45' wide meteorite, happily composed of more rock than denser iron, endangered a million Russians this February. Only its composition and low incoming angle averted calamity.
Closer to home, rightwing Rapture Politics grinds on, as our capitol shenanigans bespeak capital crimes. Forget the wordplay: the end is nigh for America's golden age, so say old, white, conservative males in retreat. For the left, democracy crumbles as concentrated power turns elections and news cycles into manic entertainment dramas. Capitalism, the only global religion, wobbles thanks to derivative-crazed Wall Street traders and outer limits to "limitless growth." What happens when banks go bust and bankrupt governments can't bail themselves out?
Capitol Politics, Capital Punishment
All in all, is it any wonder that Republican politics channel death trips out of Revelation, in fact heaven's invincible Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Are we shocked this foursome -- representing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death -- informs anti-life national platforms that elevate avarice above community and compassion? Beyond daffy Ayn Rand, neo-liberal economists, even much of Christianity, the GOP is rigidly fixated against forces of life, citizen safety and the general pursuit of happiness.
Overseas, Conquest and War, alongside Death, still drive intact neo-con mindsets, unfazed by Bush-Cheney debacles. Yes, this syndrome infects top Democrats, yet they're at least mopping up, however erratically, our double indemnities in Asia. Overall, the Four Horsemen more aptly model how Cheney's empire punished insubordinate foreign states. Defy the Pax Americana, chimed Bush war-mongers, and brimstone will soon follow mere boycotts. Nothing captures the Conquest/War/Death mania better than John McCain's irrational call to "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" -- and that threat is still on the table.
What marks rightwing Rapture Politics isn't simply fondness for misguided militarism but the smug, self-righteous superiority brought to the task. War transcends cost, reputation, or geopolitical leverage, justified instead by retribution folly by which western goodness defeats (foreign) wickedness. Bottom-line, the ultimate, collective message from Iraq and Afghanistan: challenge the empire and face incandescent, doomsday-like devastation.
Domestically, an unrelenting array of GOP death trips likewise channels Four Horsemen symbolism:
1) Conquest: Winner Take All in states where gerrymandered Republicans seized control, only to abuse power, attack unions, workers and pensions, and strip historic civil, voting, and abortion rights. Corollary damage: House gerrymandering amounts to conquest by state hacks, empowering a clear electoral minority to snub widespread public consensus and bring disgrace on a Congress desperate for credibility.
2) War as Politics: "Take No Prisoners" turns a heartless battle cry into weekly rightwing diatribes, with "truth" on one side and traitorous schemers on the other. No compromise, no change and viola! the glorious status quo reigns. The right colors everything with the language of war, force-feeding routine debates into epic battles of good vs. evil (akin to its absurd overseas delusions, with America forever innocent). Jamming absolutism on complex dilemmas becomes an intellectual death trip, by design killing evidence, demolishing rational decision-making and murdering compromise.
3) Death and Famine conspire when national assets are skewered so that 1% gets half and 99% the rest. Does slicing programs critical to people not reduce life-giving medicine, living conditions, and nutritious food? Austerity defenders chatter about prudence and high debt, yet suffering by many is the anti-life price paid to protect ideology and paper assets belonging to the few.
4) Death: A Madness of Guns. Rightwing fury against laughably deficient gun controls signals the bloodiest, most blatant GOP death trips. More guns translate into more danger to children everywhere, especially in schools and inner cities. Instead of alleviating jobless desperation that fuels crime, the right glorifies firepower as the proper "Constitutional" answer to all tasks. Like pernicious Stand Your Grounds laws, Republican tunnel vision stimulates dreadful gun sales (not for hunting), more profitable to fear-monger than ever share affluence or less violence-laden solutions.
5) Death: Accidental and Environmental. When rightwing pressure blocks legally-bound regulations, then foreseeable, criminal negligence, whether oil spills, pollution, and on-job accidents, amplify death and disease, short and long-term. Strangely enough, dying from air- or water-borne carcinogens kills just as finally, though far more slowly, than explosions.
The Pro-Life Fallacy
Overall, the Party of No's assault on governance, for the people and by the people, delivers the equivalence of death by a thousand cuts. The right's anti-life agenda scoffs at universal health care, support for pregnant women, needy babies, or the impoverished old. Find one major Republican talking point, let alone meaningful policy, that increases overall life expectancy, quality of life or economic opportunity?
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