Saturday, June 7, 2014
And On D-Day Week No Less
Lance Mannion wrote this on Friday, June 6th:
The Republican flip-floppery, hypocrisy, cynicism, and demagoguery on the release of Bowe Bergdahl is routine---a routine---for the GOP these days. But it’s also defining. They’re showing once again how willing and eager they are to write people off.
Their position now is that Bowe Bergdahl should have been left to die in the hands of the Taliban.
Just as it’s their position that the uninsured should be left to die of whatever ails them, the homeless should be left to freeze on the street (just out of sight, of course), the hungry should starve, the children of the poor left to grow up in poverty and want.
The establishment media’s insistence that there’s a difference between Tea Party Republicans and sensible,rational/establishmentarian Republicans and it’s a good thing the Tea Party types are being put back in their place by their betters would be amusing if it wasn’t so stupid and destructive.
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again because the need to doesn’t seem to be going away.
There is only one type of Republican, just it comes in three different flavors.
The Christian Right, the Tea Party Right, and the Corporatist Right. They dress differently, use different idioms, have different manners, but they are all alike in the way they divide the nation in two, between the Deserving (narrowly defined to the point of pretty much meaning “Me and my family”) and the Undeserving (broadly defined to mean “Everybody who isn’t me or a part of my family”). The damned and the saved, the makers and takers, Us and THEM! Three ways of saying the same thing.
“We got ours, the rest of you can do us a favor and drop dead.”
Rachel Maddow on Thursday night showed screen captures of quite a few Republican Congressional representatives who had tweeted or otherwise initially congratulated the Bergdahl family and by implication, the President, upon achieving the release of a volunteer American serviceman who had spent five years in captivity in Afganistan. All of these congratulations had subsequently been deleted by their authors, as a general and unwavering line of Republican condemnation had developed over the past week. Maddow and others have also shown recent audiovisual clips by Senator McCain and other Republican bigwigs demanding the events concerning Bergdahl that have actually unfolded this past week. This remarkable about-face by the GOP is probably far more important to the health of our tattered Republic than Sgt. Bergdahl's release; it is a symptom for the worse. It shows yet again that one of our two major parties has no regard for either the truth or human decency. It is a dangerous thing when one of the organizations from which the next Presidential candidate will emerge is so degraded in both intelligence and moral fiber. These people might just be running the country in two years.
If people aiming to wield political power have no compunction about lying at every turn, the exercise of democratic choice is endangered. This is even more true when the country is saddled with a “news” organization that disseminates lies as deep and rich as Lord Haw Haw, and in American English no less. Fox News is, for millions, simply “the news.” It's the same brand that brings millions of Americans their favorite sports every weekend, and many of their favorite entertainments throughout the work week. When commentator after commentator suggests that Sgt. Bergdahl is a traitor, and that his parents are the same, quite a lot of people who will go to the voting booth will believe this to be the case. It's that simple.
Meanwhile, the insidious proliferation of firearms continues. Open Carry has become a Gucci-zation of the AK-47. Mr. Stewart wondered recently if there weren't a logical intersection of the Stand-Your-Ground idea, meaning the legal incorporation of some sort of right to “shoot if you're afraid”, with the freight train coming from the opposition direction: a band of guys in bermuda shorts carrying semi-automatic firearms anywhere and everywhere they choose. This disaster builds like a super-cell over the Oklahoma panhandle. And if the rest of us somehow get used to the idea of bands of folks carrying weapons into Walmart and the post office, how different will that be from the commonplace, in Rwanda, of a man with a machete. “Jas wackin' da bush, bas. Keepin' eye out for da mamba.” Mr. LaPierre's logic contains a lot of buried premises. Ultimately, the “good guy with the gun” really means, “me with a gun.” Everyone else is the Other.
Or, see Mr. Mannion, above. Ibid. D.c. al fine. Fortissimo.
As Driftglass noted this week, in amazement, David Brooks has so far stood against the tide of jingoism and defended Bergdahl. But for a couple of days the NRA actually took a sensible position, only to walk it back. We'll see.
Sunday Morning Update: Ah, Mr. Hannity is quite the fellow on the Bergdahl story. Last night he was running a "special news report" on the "Bergdahl trade," as he called it. He had a live audience for the rah-rah, and featured the parents of a soldier in Bergdahl's unit who also died in Afganistan. He alleged that this serviceman died "searching" for Bergdahl, although that detail is disputed in the general discussion, if not on Fox. I changed the channel before I could hear whatever it might be the parents of this soldier might say. Judging from his emails (and already I've jumped straight into the briar patch, since none of us should be "judging" Sgt. Bergdahl), Bergdahl was disgusted by the "mission" he found himself a part of. Mr. Hannity reads Bergdahl's complaints to the parents of his dead comrade. This is shooting fish in a barrel, incendiary, and entirely irrelevant to anything. Hannity, Fox News, and the right wing generally, are performing a true high-tech lynching, to use a fine phrase coined twenty years ago by the joke George H.W. Bush played on the African-American community. With this full-bore character assassination of Sgt. Bergdahl, they aim to lynch their true target, President Obama. We can only hope and pray that the Nation will soon perceive the character of this GOP lynch mob.
This unfolding tragedy is not entirely irrelevant to the open carry crowd either. The weapons they want to brandish in every corner of the country are only Gucci bags as long as the spell holds. When they walk into a 7-11 run by a man in a turban, or a coffee shop where Sgt. Bergdahl is having coffee, they may turn back into what a crowd with guns really is, like it or not. Big trouble.