Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why The Far Right Behaves As They Do

I wish I knew. I do have a few ideas and I’m opened to yours.

For purposes of sorting out the several factions in generic terms I am not focusing on the intellectual Republicans who have deemed that their self-interest is well-aligned with Conservative values and simply do not wish things to change under their watch.

I’m not addressing those who are defending their propertied and privileged life. These are the folks for whom institutionalized greed is regarded as a birthright. They are often bright professionals who regard their own success as proof of the perfection of the system. Those less fortunate are seen simply as lazy or lack the family values necessary to succeed. Compassion is not high on their list of concerns,except as a form of noblesse oblige.

My subject is the low-information, high-decibel, often pious, mostly rural voter.Is it fair to postulate that many of these good people were raised with a strong patriarch? I think so. The feminine component is subordinated, ridiculed or repressed. Empathy is dismissed perhaps because they are themselves not properly nurtured. Tears, forgiveness and expressions of love have been traded for a model of tough, taciturn and punitive.

These qualities find their home in the Republican creed. Guns?, of course. One needs to be defended because one always finds perceived threats. They are threatened by outsiders, by people who don’t look like them and by change; change of any sort; to our healthcare system, to our movies or music or these new fangled ideas taught in school.

These people, I submit, are easily bent to the will of authority. Be it from the pulpit or mass media or from grandpa who wants to leave this world the same way as when he entered it. There is a certain “speak” that their ears are opened to. They don’t recognize a demagogue when they hear one. They follow because the authoritarian paradigm is the familiar one.

They are also prone to scape-goating. Not adept at self-examination they find an easier path in blaming others for their miseries. An imagined enemy is always at hand, be it government, another race or religion or those darn intellectuals.

Permanence is, of course, an illusion and these are its sentinels at the gate. “Gimme that ole time religion. It’s good enough for me.” Too bad some of the Christian message got lost along the way. It created divisions and suspicions instead of compassion. The closing of the congregation foreshadows the closing of the mind. Indeed we are in an accelerated time of change. Whose fault is that? It's called technology, mass media, globalization. It seems to me corporations would have it no other way.

How agribusiness, oil and the other giants of corporate America have manipulated millions of people to reject unions, universal healthcare and green technology and then support imperial wars in which their own neighbors are sacrificed is the most remarkable and ugliest feat ever accomplished in our times.

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