Monday, September 08, 2008

Something I can really get behind

There are usually statements about the right-wing of this country's politics that I agree or don't agree with. However, many of those that I agree with are not said with as much cogency or character as Mr. Ed Brayton. His insights on matters political and scientific stem unerringly from a position of unassailable logic and further built upon with a similar taste of From today's Dispatches:
I'm watching the Republican National Convention and Mike Huckabee starts blathering on about Obama's trip to Europe, saying that he's concerned that Obama might have brought back "European ideas." Statements like that ("San Francisco values") are the reason why I cannot ever identify myself with the right in this country. Time and time again they appeal to the dumbest and more ignorant among us.

European ideas? Our entire system of government is based on European ideas. Every single one of the primary intellectual influences that influenced the founding of this country - John Locke, Montesquieu, Algernon Sydney, etc - were Europeans. This kind of rhetoric is stupid, xenophobic bullshit, plain and simple. I can't stomach it. It makes me want to stand up and scream.

When they get weepy eyed and appeal to shallow emotionalism, as they do in a thousand different ways as a matter of routine, it makes me want to scream. When they accuse anyone who disagrees with Republican foreign policy of not "supporting the troops" it makes me want to scream (and yes, it only happens with Republican wars; they had no problem attacking Clinton's decision to send troops to Bosnia).

When they talk about "family values" while denigrating the millions of families headed by or including gay people, it makes me want to scream. When they cry "what about the children" as a justification for making gays and lesbians into second-class citizens, it makes me want to scream. Don't tell me how much you care about families while you're pushing policies that reduce the legal and economic security of families headed by gay parents.

And then I get to listen to Palin deliver that trite bullshit about "small town America." I get so tired of that ridiculous frame (and Democrats do the same thing often). Small towns are filled with nothing but patriotic, good-hearted, hard-working folks, each of them blessed with a huge amount of that ill-defined thing called "common sense" - as opposed to all those pointy headed intellectuals in big cities, of course. It's just plain stupid.

There are issues on which I agree with Republicans. On eminent domain, I am all for limiting the government's ability to seize property. I'm all for reducing taxes, especially the income tax (but only if we cut spending first because the worst possible situation is to pass on debt to ourselves and our children, then we have to pay it back plus interest). And there are many conservative scholars that I respect and admire.

But the pedestrian right, the partisan political right, specializes in appealing to the most shallow and base emotions of the masses. So much of their rhetoric is carefully calculated to appeal only to the stupid and the credulous and that is something I cannot tolerate. I simply can't stomach their penchant for emotional demagoguery and their tendency to grope for the most shallow possible response to every conceivable issue.
 Well said, Ed. Well said.

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