Sunday, January 9, 2011

Am I missing something here, or is conservative America really scary? (contributor post)

Bear with me…let me do a little philosophy here to set up what I want to say.  So this one feminist writer talks of the “birdcage.”  When we look at single instances of apparent wrongs against women (e.g., lower pay, lower status jobs, terrible representation in science/computer/engineering fields, etc) and consider each individually, each can be easily explained away, it is said, with a host of non-sexist economic and cultural factors.  But once we start looking at all these instances together, it is as if a pattern emerges and we begin to realize that maybe they are all connected and forming something ugly.  Where we before only saw the “spokes of the cage” and didn’t think they were amounting to anything substantial on their own, we now see the “birdcage” they are forming and realize that women are actually within a cage, the cage of sexism.  The thought is that once one sees the pattern of sexism these instances form, simple explanations cannot dissolve away the reality of the sexism.

With the metaphor of the birdcage in mind, I now turn to politics.  And as I am fucking pissed at what happened yesterday to Representative Gabrielle Giffords, here is my argument, or rather a list of what could be seen as unrelated events.

1. Gabrielle Giffords (Democrat) was targeted and shot point blank by a 22-yr old crazy guy who had radically conservative ideas (view his last YouTube posts).

2. Westboro Baptist Church is going to protest the funerals of the six dead from the Giffords’ shooting.  They also protested Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral as well as many of our fallen soldiers.

3. Eight abortion clinic workers have been killed since 1993, the latest being George Tiller in 2009. Also “since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with stink bombs…also 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.”

4.  Greater than 20 Democrat offices and homes have been threatened with violence (or had minor violence done) since health care reform was passed on March 21, 2010.

5.  Oklahoma City bombing.

6.  Michigan Militia.

7.  Sarah Palin (need I say more?) using inciting remarks and imagery against individual Democrats.  For instance, she has a graphic of the US and gun crosshairs over the districts of Democrats she is targeting.

8.  Glenn Beck (need I say more?) frequently uses inflammatory rhetoric, such as last August he said, “If we do not put God at the center of our own personal lives and the center of our country, we will not survive.  The country will be washed with blood and then someone will have to start over, and God only knows how long that takes.”

9.  Michelle Bachmann (need I really say more?) has a litany of interesting quotes.  I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”  She frequently calls on Americans to take up arms to defend what is right and to take back our country.

10.  The Tea Party rhetoric and signs.  Oh, just take a brief look at their signs – such a sight to behold.

Alright, let’s just stick with those.  Now one might argue that if we take any one of these incidents or people in isolation from the rest, we shouldn’t think twice about any pernicious movement or nefarious undercurrent.  But, but, but! when you start considering them all together, I cannot help but see an evil birdcage forming around me, around our country.  These events/people are related!  They are related by an insidious form of conservativism that has been slowly growing and now appears to be blooming!  Republican politicians do not have to be fearful of violence; the Democrats do!  The sheer bulk of harm, intended harm, and vitriolic words are aimed at Democrats.

Conservatives have become really scary.  I am genuinely scared now.  I might start going to church and register as a Republican just to survive.  If there is a God, “God help us all.”


  1. Sadly, i can agree with the evidence you present here and agree that the entire game of politics has gotten way out of hand. I don't understand the Republican platform that seems to read " Just stop the other guy from doing anything." Aren't officals elected to look after the people from their district/state? I mean that's the point right, speak for the people?

    I don't claim to understand the finer points of how politics work. I do know what i see though. I see a lof of really angry republicans that will stop at nothing to get what they want. I see a bunch of people trying to make us a Christan country and using the constitution as a asswipe. Seperation of church and state, it's not hard to grasp.

    All i know is that i don't really think i need to fear for my life, Whitewater has always had a open forum in classes where people can speak their minds, i have yet to get my ass kicked for it. To entertain your agurement, if some new age SS comes walking into your house to " destroy the enimies of god" remember that you live in one of the only countries in the world that private citizens can own a whole lot of firearms.
    As a soical work major i am the last person to suggest people start shooting at each other, but if someone wants to string you up for just thinking differently then them, well then that's just self defense.

    I would like to think we as human beings are better then any of this, that somehow we can talk out our differences and work on making America a country for the people, but then i realize that morals and values are close to dead here, they are replaced by profits and apathy.

    People will be people, they will keep doing whatever it is they that do, and this country will reflect it. If they choose to make this a tea party country where god is the figurehead for a circle of people who only want to look after a select demograph of people, i can't really do anything about that. But if they try to silence me for speaking about different ideas, if they try to destroy the constitution, the basic idea of rights, then i would be one of the first people in line to fight.

    Prof. Chaos ( I admit not my most logical arguement ever but sometimes words must come from the heart)

  2. Read Paul Krugman on the hate climate.


  3. Oh come on. Aren't you being a little over the top? Every group has their fringe people, but blaming the group for the actions of the fringe is dumb. Why not say that because Giffords' shooter was American, that we as Americans are to blame?

  4. Representative Gabriel Gifford's district includes the OK Corral and Tombstone. The film, Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell, Val Kimer, and Sam Elliot, was based on event that took place in 1881 -1884, involving Wyatt Earp and his brothers moving to Tombstone, Arizona, where they and Doc Holliday face off against a band of thugs called the Cowboys. Anon 6:10 has a point, violence is as American as apple pie! Don't blame the entire conservative party, just the wing nuts on the fringe. Sam does however agree with the first contributor and Paul Krugman that the hate climate brings wing nuts out of their caves.

    Thus, Gifford, elected by cowboy wing nuts from a gun loving state, opposed gun control. Based on available evidence, wing nuts (Sarah Palin) have had her in their crosshairs for some time. At an earlier rally, for example, a wing nut, waving a "don't thread on me" banner, dropped his gun but he was not arrested. Unlike Wisconsin, Arizona does not require a permit to carry concealed weapons.

    Given weak or non existing state laws, it is easy for wing nuts to purchase guns legally in Arizona. If there is a silver lining in this sad tragedy, the publicity may scuttle a pending bill in the Arizona legislature to allow students the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. There may be some crazy misguided student wing nuts running around mad at society (Virginia Tech and NIU).

    Sam supports the right of the public to bear arms in their homes, but not to carry concealed weapons especially on college campuses. Furthermore , Sam believes we need tighter controls on the sale of guns to the public. Keep guns out of the hands of the wing nuts! Have them see a shrink. Do something! Just don't hand over lethal weapons to wing nuts.

    Sam hopes Representative Gifford has a speedy and full recovery from her injuries.


  5. Conservative are dangerous!!!!!!!!!! Most of them believe that God is backing them up!!!!!!!!!!!!! They believe that the Holy Spirit mandates their causes!!!!!!!!!

  6. Yo 6:10,

    I agree with you that every group has a fringe element to them and you can't make a judgement of a whole group based on that. But, you also didn't really address that the tea party is going well out of it's way to do a lot of what the arugements in the post are talking about. They also really think that God is leading them in some " divine quest" or something.

    I am not saying we need to lock up our homes with firearms at the ready or start a underground revolution but shouldn't we be concerned when any poltical party uses a deity as it's central platform?

    Another thing is what do you do when these fringe groups like the tea party take real power. You can pretty much tell from the posts evidence that they don't support all of America. You really want them at the helm?


  7. By Steve Watson:

    The use of words and phrases like “take aim”, “reload” and “shoot down”, despite their metaphorical intention, is to blame for the random act of violence committed by one psychopath in Arizona on Sunday, according to scores of frothing media hacks and political lawmakers. If this is so why not highlight a speech given by then presidential candidate Obama in 2008, in which he triumphantly stated “If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun”? Obama made the comments at a fundraiser in Philadelphia in June 2008 in the run up to the November elections as he squared off against John McCain for the presidency.

    “…from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” Obama added at the time, referring to the political “battle” his party and the GOP were waging.

    Of course, these are just words – used metaphorically and illustratively. Obama did not mean he was going to gun down John McCain in cold blood anymore than Sarah Palin meant she wished her supporters to go out and literally kill her political opponents.

    To any rational and sane person, even having this debate is completely asinine, however, the seizure upon the Arizona shooting for political point scoring, mostly by left leaning hacks and politicians has centered upon literally blaming their political and ideological opponents’ words – in a desperate and despicable attempt to use the actions of a psychopath as a way of giving credence to their political agenda.

    MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s comments provide an overview of the kind of unmitigated crap that is being spewed to this end:

    “…if there are crosshairs over a Congresswoman’s name in October, and a former Vice Presidential candidate congratulating herself on her ‘bullseye’ campaign in November, and on a Friday the Congresswoman trades e-mails with a Republican about the need to tamp down the divisiveness and rhetoric, and on the Saturday she gets shot using a gun magazine that would’ve been unavailable if the Assault Weapons Ban hadn’t expired, the idea of ‘coincidence’ becomes increasingly irrelevant. The crazed do not need much to set them off.”

    That’s right, you see, leaving aside the fact that there is no indication he had any discernable cause, Jared Loughner was pushed over the edge by their words, rhetoric, vitriol, extremism, “the climate of hate” – so, naturally, I was right all along and my political agenda should be advanced.

    Tone Down The Rhetoric... Mr President.

    Olbermann’s sentiments have been amplified tenfold by leftist bloggers, and in a sickeningly ironic turn of events, have translated into a call for more violence on behalf of halfwit twitterers.

    Sorry Keith et al, it doesn’t hold up.

    The fact that the statist left-wing blog Daily Kos used identical “bullseye” rhetoric has also been quietly ignored.

    The following comments by Martin Medhurst, a Baylor University professor of rhetoric and communications, in a Washington Post article sum up this sorry state of affairs succinctly:

    “We have 24-hour coverage and if you let your political opposition have 12 or 15 hours unanswered, they have already determined what the conclusion of the story is… To the extent we politicize tragedies, whether it’s by the left or the right, it’s unfortunate, but it has to be, because of the system we live in.”

    The great danger to emerge from this frothing insanity is the potential for such opportunists to pitch “solutions” that in any normal context would be immediately identified as intrinsically harmful to a free society and everyone’s way of life, throughout the entire country and across the political spectrum.

    The fallout of this tragedy highlights just how much of a death grip the false left/right political paradigm has on the nation. Any significant event is now distorted beyond all comprehension and used to whip up yet more division and polarization among the American people – and that’s just the way the elite power structure likes it.


  8. Sam, if you are somehow saying that the left's rhetoric is as extreme as the right's, then you're smoking something. The scales are definitely unbalanced in this one.

    The elite power structures are controlling us?

  9. Whoops she did it again!

    Is Palin just plain stupid or what? She should fire her speech writer "yesterday".

    "In trying to bat away criticism for violent rhetoric, Sarah Palin accused critics of "blood libel," and with it, referenced a legacy of hate -- a reference used by Adolf Hitler. Palin released a statement and gave extended remarks about the weekend shooting in Arizona, first sending her condolences to the families of the victims and then fiercely responding to those blaming her campaign map -- which contained a bullseye over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' congressional district -- for inspiring Jared Lee Loughner's shooting. Palin shot back at "journalists and pundits" for "manufacturing a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," remarks that immediately raised eyebrows in the Jewish community. Blood libel refers to a rumor that has fueled anti-semitism and the persecution of Jews for nearly 900 years. According to, blood libel began as "an unfounded rumor began in eastern England, that Jews had kidnapped a Christian child, tied him to a cross, stabbed his head to simulate Jesus' crown of thorns, killed him, drained his body completely of blood, and mixed the blood into matzos (unleavened bread) at time of Passover." Huffington Post

    Sam hates to be cynical, especially in light of this national tragedy but the book deals and a television mini series are in the works. Stay tuned and don't pick up that remote!