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West Shied Story- RichWoodsblog

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death;
their blood will be on their own heads. -Leviticus 20:13

There is one particular Dominionist bedfellow which has created a revulsion within the GOP…. to the point where it’s like they’ve awoken to a regrettable romantic interlude after a rough night drinking.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

On a public relations front, sometimes a political message can become inadvertently equated with an undesired element. Unintentional socio/economic associations –when made by the public– can be embarrassing when one is trying to create a winning political brand. Still, “image” comparisons between political brands are often easy enough to make when there is a distinct similarity in tone, and terminology.

However despite a few semantic discrepancies, or one’s willingness to employ discretionary vernacular, the evangelical-fundamentalist-Christian message is synonymous with the GOP brand. Which is why throughout the conservative lexicon, it is rare when the moral imperatives of Christianity are debated within the Republican party. Routinely those who reside on the political right support one another when assigning biblical precedence while legislating. Fearing “moral” retribution amidst their own party, no one of political significance in the TEA/GOP differs with those who espouse Christian fundamentalism.

But there is one, hilarious exception.

Unless you’ve recently arisen from cryogenic stasis, you might have heard of a delightful group of good Christian folks whose tiny church resides on the West side of Topeka, Kansas. Founded by a grandfather like fella, the late Pastor Fred Phelps –and presently led by his charming daughter, the ever engaging Shirley Phelps-Roper– this church and it’s members are dedicated to bringing the message of divine superintendence through a literal interpretation of the bible. Better known as the Westboro Baptist Church, they have become famous for their firebrand method of saving Christian souls, morality, and patriotism. And en mass, the GOP rebukes the WBC for all the wrong reasons.

The across the board castigation of the Westboro Baptist Church from the political/Christian right is moral hypocrisy at its side splitting best. Although evangelicals, Republicans, and conservative media denounce the Westboro Baptist Church for their acerbic hate speech, or for picketing of tragic events (as a means to express Yahweh’s anger at America for allowing secularism) the overall Christian message is virtually the same. Sure, the folks who made “God Hates Fags” so right-wing chic are more vitriolic in their speech than most biblical purists. But if it weren’t for Fred and Shirley’s unwillingness to be tempered by political correctness, and the lack of diplomacy they use when speaking their minds, the majority of the things that they say, and the twenty-first century GOP says, are otherwise identical.

“The way to prove you love thy neighbor is to warn them they’re committing sin, I’m the only one who loves the fags.” -Pastor Fred Phelps

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and
of nature’s God upon  which this Nation and our laws are predicated.”
– Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy “makes Fred Phelps seem tolerant” Moore

From the literal interpretation of the bible, to the condemnation of gays, to the irrational disdain for President Obama, to blaming tragedies on divine retribution, to the denial of science in favor of what the bible says, the WBC and the TEA/GOP have no moral departure from one another. But the good folks at the Westboro Baptist Church won’t play according to the rules of American politics. They don’t bother to mask their hate speech with conservative code. Neither do they make overtures to regard the crazy and stupid moral assertions that blab from their vapid traps.

So the TEA/GOP mustn’t allow their voting base to make the legitimate correlation between themselves, and the WBC. Because it might allow the more Christian-casual members of the Republican body politic to realize that they’ve been voting for xenophobes and lunatics. Indeed, the Westboro Baptist Church has unwittingly exposed how crazy and stupid one has to be in order to reference the bible for science, history, or morality. And doing so has become part of the TEA/GOP platform.

But in a way you gotta love the Westboro Baptist Church –via an unintentional satire of the fundamentalist Christian TEA/GOP– they have managed to shed a light on the psychosis of twenty-first century conservative politics.

False Equivalent

To the uninitiated, it all might seem the same.

Without a fundamental grasp of economics or sociology, our two party political system might appear to be two sides of the same coin. Granted, in some ways both the political left and right are similar in their duplicity. However in most ways, especially in regards to the departure from the post WW2 economic model that built the largest middle class in the history of western civilization that brought about the civil rights movement and put both a man on the moon and a computer in everyone’s home, only the 21st century Republican party and their sympathetic media affiliates represent a fundamental divergence from the socio/economic ideals that made America great.

With the discourse of the conservative entertainment complex driving the nation’s narrative further and further right, the political middle has moved accordingly. As such, well intentioned political centrists –in an effort to be a voice of reason in our nation’s vitriolic partisanship– are finding themselves making socio/economic concessions that just a few years ago would have been considered both irrational, and far too extreme. Today’s center was yesterday’s far right.

The dismantling of all of the socio/economic mechanisms between FDR and Ronald Reagan has become rationalized via right wing/corporatist/theocratic platitudes. Vilifying the economic functions that created post war America is a singular Republican phenomenon. Yet there remains a concerted effort on the part of many to attempt a political counter-balance by equating less-than-sane, economically illiterate ravings from a GOP –now controlled by fundamentalist, Dominionist Christians– and whatever imbecilic dolt one can dredge from the left.

But these are false equivalents.

For there is no Democratic equal for the Christian Dominionist right, and the twelfth century socio/economic model they propose. Virtually every piece of legislation initiated by the GOP in the twenty-first century is designed to create a greater economic disparity between the very wealthy, and everyone else. There is a consistent effort on the part of the Christian fundamentalist 21st century GOP to subjugate women, punish the poor, and make the working class bear the entire burden of economic austerity. And it has become impossible to run for national office as a republican without capitulating to the Evangelical lobby.

There is no Democratic equivalent for the TEA Party, and their less-than-sane, not too-bright socio/economic affirmations. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement not only couldn’t get traction within the Democratic Party, it ran no candidates for public office. The bastardization of history and scripture –not to mention the thinly veiled bigotry of the TEA Party– have become standard talking points within the Republican party.

Moreover, there is no Democratic equivalent for the irrational ravings of the Conservative Entertainment Complex and their corresponding media affiliates. While MSNBC might be a ridiculously partisan public relations outlet for the left, FOX news has no equal in their fact deficient moral bankruptcy, or their unapologetic conjuring of fear driven non-events . Indeed, FOX News has the worst fact-check record on television, by far. It’s not just that FOX presents “news” in a partisan fashion, they fabricate it to create paranoia from their constituency. Likewise, right- wing talk radio is inundated with hate mongering lunatics who tout paranoid schizophrenic platitudes like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, or Alex Jones… for which there are no comparable counterparts from the left.

And there is no Democratic equivalent for the quasi-celebrities that continually get air-time in the conservative talk-o-sphere. Across America, synaptically impaired conservative celebrities like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Ted Nugent have become stars by blathering irrational, fact deficient banalities. With a pedestrian socio/economic acumen, these dullards get regular spots on conservative TV and radio programs, and get paid to speak at TEA party rallies. There is no Democratic example of this.

So I often hear from folks on social media that both Democrats & Republicans are “equally to blame” for our nation’s economic woes, and that neither party is interested in helping the middle class. But the socio/economic reality is far from that comparison. I understand the noble intention of neutrality, but in this instance, it is misguided.

Like frogs in a kettle, the GOP electorate has been subjected to the economic temperature slowly having been turned up over time. A further right discourse has been slowly introduced to working class Republicans over the past 30 years, and many are finding it difficult to realize that their party has moved away from them. The Corporatist/Christian Dominionist GOP now accords the best interests of an elite few. As it has been in every example of history when religion and politics become one, every Republican socio/economic measure of austerity comes at the expense of the middle class.

So sure, the Democratic party is flawed, and in many ways, infuriating. I get that. But to be a working class Republican in the twenty first century, one must concede reason to willful socio/economic ignorance, if not one’s own bigoted predispositions. Where it concerns sociology, economics, and the mechanisms that made this country great … when juxtaposed against the very ideals the 21st century GOP propose and the history of how theocracies impact the proletariat… There are no rational comparisons to be made between the blemished Democratic party, and the irrational GOP.

Zimmerman

Just as a body requires nutrients to survive, and to be able to expel toxicity, we likewise need to do the same with information. As Americans increasingly fail to metabolize massive amounts of carbohydrates, we have simultaneously lost the ability absorb, and sift through the deluge superfluous data we take in every day. With tabloid, ratings driven news-ertainment having supplanted journalism as the common means by which we garner current events, our ability to cognitively metabolize media has been compromised by a steady diet of sugar coated propaganda. The diversions from more pressing political or economic issues amount to insulin for the nation’s cerebral diabetes.

We’ve become intellectually unhealthy, lazy in our thinking, and have fed our bias past the point of morbid obesity.

In a big scary world where real life monsters manifest as disappearing pensions and inaccessible health care, our diminishing ability to psychologically cope with the feelings of powerlessness that accompany the twenty-first century have caused many to project their anxiety at tabloid social issues. Mired in a Pavlovian feedback loop, the American proletariat has been conditioned to salivate every time the news media makes the determination of where we should focus our attention. On some visceral level, we feel more emotionally equipped to offer sociological opinions on tabloid subject matter than we do the economy. And in that regard, it allows us to feel a little less powerless.

America is afraid. So do as we’ve been trained to do in order to internally rationalize our anxiety. We engage in the partisan rhetoric, and ignore things that require acumen, or which might require us to accord uncomfortable realities. We cope with fear by being angry at one another. Indeed, Americans have been Nancy Grace’d into a waking coma.

But it gets worse. With the advent of social media, our polarization has become philosophically paralyzing. Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to engage one another directly. Thus, our fear and hyper-partisanship are realized in guttural reactions to complex social and economic issues. Our diminishing intellects and collective unwillingness to generate genuine comprehension have crippled our ability to effectively communicate, and reduced us to a nation of conspiratorial, hyperbolic, name calling dullards.

We’ve gotten to a point where one’s choice of laundry detergent can reduce them to ally or enemy.

As such, American social media has diminished every aspect of sociology to equate with over-simplified, black and white perspectives. So we gather information that coincides with our predispositions, and dismiss that which contradicts them. It is no longer enough to feel that our vapid, uninformed opinions are so completely justified that there is no room for any concession, but the world has to understand that whomever lies in the path of our enfeebled sensibilities must be so utterly wrong, morally bankrupt and intellectually inferior that they are due ridicule from the entire internet. But of course, those with whom we disagree feel the same about us. Our collective need to have some sort of control over our fear –and to be “right”– often precludes us from sharing empathy with one another.

And around and around we go. It’s not that anybody is right, or that anybody is wrong. It’s that (to some degree) everybody is right, and everybody is wrong. Falling prey to sensationalist media is a no-win scenario, and the people who profit from tabloid news know it. In fact, they bank on it. literally.

The danger of subjectivity harmonizing with cynicism on any given issue can affect our overall perspectives moving forward. From a sociological perspective, tabloid news is interesting insofar as how people can interpret the same evidence in accordance with their own predispositions, and how –as a society– we are prone to polarization. Whether one is partial to believe in anyone’s guilt or innocence, those choices are often made before information is gathered, or objectivity can be implemented so as to accord one’s bias. Tabloid news says a lot more about our capacity to remain mired in subjectivity than it does our judicial system.

The very purpose of the establishing a free press in our country was to keep our focus on the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches of our government. Not to distract us from them. But as with every other industry, profit alters perspective. So we find our media being dummied down to our lowest intellectual common denominator and arguing over symptomatic social issues, while their root causes go unaddressed.

Sadly, the same capital lobbies that collude with Congress to undermine our economy, and our judicial system also own the media. They need us polarized, and bickering with one another. For if we ever stopped to notice that our democratic republic is being slowly terraformed into an Orwellian aristocracy, “We the People” might learn to metabolize the bad information we are being fed.