Worst Plumes are Already Here by Australian Radiation
The only good news about toxins, like radiation or acid rain, even massive oil slicks, is they're observable, open to measurement and at times reparation. Nothing trumps the Beck-Palin-Limbaugh anti-science, anti-compassion mayhem like looming mass poisonings from spreading plumes.
Enough pain defeats deniability. And there will be pain. In backward America, the irrefutable evidence that "proves" climate change won't be scientific but human catastrophes too great to "refudiate."
Because industrial crimes are "point sources" of pollution they are in part constrained by place -- whether glowing reactors, oil explosions or mining implosions -- with identifiable starting points, though less so finales. Today's focus -- political poisons in the public square -- may have a beginning but, like our wars, no apparent ending. Fringe toxins are "non-point source," often oozing from underground rocks, thus spreading thought contamination hard to refute or deflect for years. When did the president first know he was Kenyan born? Which Democrat came up with "death panels," and why don't we daily glorify American exceptionalism?
Fundamentalism buoyed by big money not only keeps America from regaining world leadership (except with brute force), but blocks taking seriously, let alone resolving species-wide threats -- climate, economic, energy, geopolitical, environmental, or overpopulation. With explicit and implicit sources, the radioactive fringe replicates air-borne pollutants of the mind, as one friend nailed it, with its plume of "vituperation, meanness, pettiness, and sheer mendacity."
At least the worst environmental blows deliver flashing signals only the most foolish in government and business will (alas) ignore. Someday we may actually scrutinize local, untested reactors, dodgy deep drillers, or the few polluters inept enough to make nasty headlines. Even deepwater Gulf oil permits stopped -- for months -- before BP got another shot at our Gulf treasures.
But what teaching moments, what shots across the bow, answer to the extremist flood that saturates American democracy, law, and justice? Where are the five rational Republicans willing to skewer the leadership-killing toxin of Birther intransigence? If this president is impugned as illegitimate (absent a fraudulent election, like 2000), what subsequent winner won't be tainted -- and then what restraint on folly is there? Cousins to illegitimacy are deranged defiance, nullification and secession for if no president, or government, is legitimate, why should anyone in authority be heeded? That way lies a generation of irreconcilable schisms and no confidence in majority rule or fair elections, already sabotaged by the Citizens United blunder. That is the beginning of the end.
Yet we dishonestly talk up overseas our great "democracy" when defending belligerent military interventions, thus ignoring hemorrhaging to a representative system not without core fragility. What's next -- target practice on congresswomen, violence towards immigrants, gays or fierce political opponents? How about a state law dismissing the murder of abortion doctors?
The Most Toxic Contradiction
When do we fully lambaste the entire "small government" con, an outrageous radioactive plume of multiple contradictions if there ever was one? Hypocrisy reigns when true (Christian) believers gag at the state regulating crooked banksters or corrupt miners but insist government abandon pregnant mothers or hungry children. Does God Herself insist we ban, even criminalize abortion, libel gay marriage, or dump hard-won collective bargaining rights? The right despises the state, shuns its very legitimacy, except when waging misguided, imperial wars, incarcerating every "Muslim terrorist" we so deem, bagging minority immigrants (while denying USA-born kids citizenship), enacting noxious ID obstacles to voting, or abusing untried whistleblowers and anti-war activists, even -- ready for this? -- criminalizing sex outside of marriage.
The next election should focus on this "small-government" contradiction alone -- do rightwing zealots, self-nominated as infallible, divine agents, decide what is moral and legal for everyone (like divine kings or Old Testament judges)? Or do people and majorities rule, honoring our secular history and traditions of an open, compassionate society? Listen to radical Repugs: everything is on the line.
One Fiasco at a Time
The plume of fundamentalism spreads so wide a one-time Democratic president now surrenders to rightwing frameworks he firmly opposed: giveaways and subsidies to Wall Street and oil drillers, war-making without Congressional approval, plus a score of neo-Reaganomic dictates -- taxes are punitive, but not privatizing or outsourcing, deficits are evil, states can go under (to void union contracts), and fixing economic stagnation means freezing public wages and cutting welfare programs. Why not just accept neoliberal, "natural" booms and busts, leaving business cycles to fix themselves, run by business people. Rightwing radiation certainly explains why this president ignobly continues, even worsens, Bush rights violations blamed on "anti-terrorism."
We are beset by media toxins successful in producing gridlock on everything but arms and war. Even this president passively buys into the delusion that enriching the super-rich stimulates jobs. What major religious leaders defend state-church divisions, let alone Christian compassion for all, as in Jesus' most radical teaching: "love thy enemy"? What public intellectuals eviscerate the insupportable linguistic fallacy that: 1) any human text (handpicked by crusty, old-time zealots) is unambiguous, literally true, 2) inscribed in heaven, and 3) rife with crystal clear commands that inspire theocratic vetoes of majority rule? Where are progressive thinkers showing the ignorant what science can and can't do, plus the incalculable cost (like extinction) from dismissing centuries of human knowledge?
War Against Mind Contamination