Tag Archives: founding fathers

Why the wingnuts’ Constitution fetish

Darrell Issa

John Boehner, Darrell Issa

Associated Press photos

Fascists John “Cry Me a River” Boehner and Darrell “Joseph McCarthy Jr.” Issa are pictured fetishizing the U.S. Constitution in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

It wasn’t very long ago that that wingnuts were fetishizing our “founding fathers.” The point of that exercise, of course, was to assert that only white men — the only true Americans, of course — should run the show here in the United States of America.

Maybe fetishizing our “founding fathers” was a bit too blatantly white supremacist and patriarchal, however, so now the wingnuts are fetishizing the more neutral, more impersonal U.S. Constitution.

Today’s jingoistic charade in which the new Repugnican majority of the U.S. House of Representatives led the recitation of the U.S. Constitution (instead of beginning to solve the nation’s serious problems) wholly was meant to give the impression that only the Repugnican Tea Party understands, values and follows the U.S. Constitution, as though the mere recitation of the document magically confers an embodiment of the document, just like mere recitation of the Bible is supposed to magically confer an embodiment of its contents.

“Republicans in charge of the chamber rattled [the Constitution] off with missionary zeal, as if in a school civics class,” The Associated Press notes,* and “missionary zeal” is appropriate, since the members of the Repugnican Tea Party claim to have the monopoly not only on patriotism and Americanism but also on Christianity.

I love the Constitution, but, just as we have wildly divergent versions of U.S. history, we have wildly divergent versions of the Constitution. Neither U.S. history nor the U.S. Constitution should be politicized, but, of course, they are. All the fucking time.

Where the U.S. Constitution is concerned, I fall in the “living document” camp. The document’s authors couldn’t possibly have known what challenges future generations would face, and I can’t see that the authors of the nation’s founding document intended to put future generations into a straitjacket — otherwise, they wouldn’t have provided for constitutional amendments and for a U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution.

Yes, besides constitutional amendments, there’s that little thing of U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The chief job of the nation’s highest court being to interpret the Constitution, constitutional law does not consist solely of the text of the Constitution, as the wingnuts allege, but also consists of a plethora of Supreme Court decisions.

For the wingnuts to claim to be The Keepers of the Constitution and to claim that only the Constitution itself comprises all constitutional law is not only inaccurate and propagandistic, but it’s dangerous as well, and their intention in falsely claiming so is to curtail, not to expand, freedoms and liberties in the United States of America.

The wingnuts want to drag us back to the “good old days” when, among other things, white men owned black slaves and women couldn’t vote. The wingnuts talk about freedom, but they intend that only certain people have freedom.

We allow the wingnuts to co-opt our Constitution (and our history) at our own peril.

Regarding their attempt to redefine what our nation is all about, we need to send the wingnuts this message loudly and clearly: Over our dead bodies.

*“Democrats pitched in [in the recitation], but with seemingly less ardor,” the AP immediately notes thereafter, and while surely the Repugnicans would claim that this is due to the Dems’ lack of patriotism, it’s actually due to the fact that most of the Dems know dangerous fascism, nationalism and jingoism when they see it. 

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War on right is war on ignorance

 

My boyfriend and I were in a Borders bookstore last night, and in the politics section I saw a paperback copy of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism on a shelf right above Glenn Beck’s hardcover Arguing with Idiots. (That Glenn Beck should accuse others of being “idiots” with “small minds” — that’s mind-blowing…)

I picked up and placed the copy of The Origins of Totalitarianism immediately to the right of Beck’s Arguing with Idiots, giving something of the effect above, as it seems so appropriate: If Beck wants to dress and act like a Nazi, well, then, if the jackboot fits, then he should wear it (and he probably does wear jackboots, prancing around in them in private…). And further, it seems to me that Beck and his ilk indeed could be the originators of an American totalitarianism that would make the Taliban jealous.

Of course, the battle between the left and the right rages beyond the politics sections of bookstores, where it’s common to see books representing the political opposition (usually progressives) turned around so that their covers are obscured. (Books featuring the visages of our lesser-evolved primate cousins also have appeared juxtapositioned to books whose covers feature Barack Obama’s face. Ha ha ha! Racism is so funny!)

President Obama has even chimed in on the national political “vitriol,” but the common assertion that the left is just as guilty as is the right in denigrating the national political discourse — a myth that even Obama himself occasionally parrots, in an apparently well-meaning but woefully misguided attempt to be fair and balanced, to spread the blame around, whether it’s actually factually accurate to do that or not — is fucking bullshit.

The right always has been more rabid, more racist, more ignorant, more hateful and more willing to resort to aggression to get what it wants than has the left. In the past decade alone, the American right resorted to stealing presidential elections, started a bogus major war, and gave the rich such tax cuts that, coupled with the hundreds of billions of dollars sunk into the bogus Vietraq War, resulted in a record federal budget deficit that the right now blames on Obama, and the right has created a surreal, down-the-rabbit-hole national political climate in which it’s deemed perfectly fine to piss hundreds of billions of the taxpayers’ dollars away on the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, but it’s “socialism” to actually spend a fucking penny of the taxpayers’ money on the taxpayers

And I don’t recall any leftists having spat on Repugnican lawmakers on Capitol Hill during the eight long nightmarish years of the Bush regime’s unelected rule, or calling them epithets, or hurling bricks through their office windows. I don’t recall any Democratic politicians talking about “reloading” and using the symbol of a gun-sight crosshairs to target their political opponents.

I only wish that the peacenik lefties were nearly as guilty as are the wingnuts in being rhetorically or even actually aggressive.

Lefties almost always have to remain above it all, such as how Al Gore had to remain above it all and just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000.

The results of “remaining above it all” and just allowing the wingnuts to wreak their havoc upon the nation are plain to see in the smoking ruins of the nation that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime left behind when they finally were forced from the White House. There comes a point where “remaining above it all” no longer is remaining above it all at all, but is a dangerous dereliction of duty to democracy.

Also at Borders last night I saw a copy of Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, the premise of which, I understand from its back cover, is that the switch from a primarily print culture to a primarily audiovisual culture has resulted in a dangerous dumbing down of the United States of America, a danger to the nation’s democracy, which cannot survive when so many of its citizens are dumbfucks. (I’m buying Hedges’ book on amazon.com, as paying full cover price when I don’t have to pains me too much.)

I’m all for greater literacy, but just as it has hijacked our democracy, the right wing has hijacked what remains of the print culture. Chillingly, I long have seen far more wingnut books than progressive books on amazon.com’s top-100-selling books list.

The right wing is busily rewriting American history to suit is ideology in a way that would make George Orwell’s history-revising Big Brother jealous. And the stupid-white-male authors and broadcast pundits who have the audacity to liken themselves to the nation’s founding fathers are as much like the founding fathers as the likes of Pat Robertson and the pedophile-protecting Pope Palpatine are like Jesus Christ.

Sure the wingnuts read books, you say — but they read right-wing revisions not only of American history, but right-wing revisions of American principles. And then they inflict their ignorance upon the rest of us.

In their “tea party” bullshit, the wingnuts actually equate the nation’s declaration of its independence from the oppressive English monarchy to their dislike of the democratically elected American president whom they don’t like primarily because he’s black and because their old-white-guy candidate lost the election, 46 percent to Obama’s 53 percent. 

The wingnuts also have hijacked the term “common sense,” both as a noun and an adjective. Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle can’t shut the fuck up about “common-sense” this and “common-sense” that, and, of course, Glenn Beck put out a book titled Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, as though a dry-drunk baby boomer like Glenn Fucking Beck is really on the same level as is Thomas Paine.

And that’s what the term “common sense,” as the wingnuts use it, is meant to achieve: It’s meant to say that you don’t have to be educated, that you don’t have to work at attaining knowledge and wisdom. “Common sense,” as Beck and Palin-Quayle and their ilk use the term, means that whatever utter bullshit that you pull out of your mentally lazy, ignorant, wingnutty ass is the gospel fucking truthbecause you say so.

In her chapter titled “Junk Thought” in her worthwhile The Age of American Unreason, author Susan Jacoby talks about “the folk belief in the superior wisdom of ordinary people.”

“Folk belief” there is the key.

Ordinary people can become intelligent and wise — but not without doing the work.

There are no shortcuts, although that is what the right wing promises its followers: Simply wearing a lapel pin of the U.S. flag makes a politician “patriotic,” and simply reading a book by Sarah Palin-Quayle or Glenn Beck makes one “politically educated.” (And, of course, simply declaring onself “saved” makes one “saved.”)

Listening to — or even reading — the likes of Beck or Palin-Quayle or Rush Limbaugh, because their retrogressive, reality-evading worldview is comforting in rapidly changing, rapidly diversifying times, doesn’t cut it.

Ignorance will destroy the nation, and the fight against the right wing ultimately is the fight against ignorance.

A return to a fact- and reality-based print culture, as many authors (such as Jacoby and Hedges and yes, even Al Gore) have recommended probably is the answer. The Internet, I suspect, already has been playing a large role in bringing Americans back from the purely audiovisual, purely one-way medium of television to an interactive print culture. Sure, there’s plenty of garbage on the Internet, but there’s plenty of quality stuff available, too. 

I, for one, stopped watching television years ago, after all of the major, corporately owned and operated TV networks treated the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust March 2003 invasion of Iraq as an entertainment or sporting event (“shock and awe!”) instead of covering it journalistically — that is, critically, intelligently and objectively. And I credit the Internet with having facilitated my political knowledge and activism.

Of course, the wingnuts are on the ’Net, too.

But the more that the nation returns to a fact- and reality-based national political dialog, the less the right wing can survive.

Ignorance is the right wing’s oxygen, and the way to snuff out the right wing is to deprive it of its oxygen.

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Mississippi is still burning

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba County ...

Associated Press photo

Lesbian high-school student Constance McMillen was told by her rural Mississippi high-school officials that she could neither wear a tuxedo nor bring her girlfriend to her high-school prom — which the officials then canceled altogether because of her insistence that she be allowed to attend with her girlfriend, wearing what she wishes to wear. It wasn’t that long ago that mixed-race dancing was prohibited at red-state high-school proms, and the same “arguments” that were used to justify racial discrimination are now used to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation — not only in rural Mississippi but even in the U.S. military, as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is debated even though it clearly violates the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

If you have read me for any time at all, you know that there is a lot that I fucking hate.

I hate the U.S. military. Not the individual members of the U.S. military, necessarily — although I question how they can support the U.S. military when it has been debased into becoming little but bands of thugs for the megacorporations’ profits (bands of thugs paid for by us, the American taxpayers, and of course the megacorporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes) — but the whole damn idea of the U.S. military, with its might-makes-right, jingoistic bent. The majority of those in the military call themselves devout Christians, too, as though Jesus Christ would have had anything to do with their maiming and killing for the expansion and the preservation of the American Empire in the names of freedom and democracy — and even in the name of Jesus Christ.

Yet, as much as I never would have joined the U.S. military, opposing pretty much all that it stands for (patriarchy, violence and aggression, jingoism, misogyny, homophobia, “Christo”fascism, xenophobia, etc., etc.), I have a real fucking problem with the fact that non-heterosexuals don’t have equal human and civil rights in the U.S. military, that they can be expelled from the military or prevented from joining the military for solely who and what they are.

I never went to my high school prom, either. Not so much because I’m gay and because in the red state of Arizona in the mid-1980s there was no way in hell that I had the opportunity to go to my high-school prom with another male, but because I hate the whole concept of proms, too. I find them to be pretentious wastes of money, relics from the past. (I love the original film version of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” by the way…)

But the idea that high-school officials in rural Missifuckingssippi canceled the high school’s prom because a lesbian student wants to attend prom with her girlfriend boils my blue-state blood.

Reports The Associated Press:

School officials in a rural Mississippi county told a lesbian student to get “guys” to take her and her girlfriend to a high school prom and warned the girls against slow dancing with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to documents filed [today] in federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Itawamba County School District and some officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School on behalf of Constance McMillen, 18, who wanted to escort her girlfriend to the prom and wear a tuxedo. A hearing is scheduled for Monday to hear an ACLU motion that seeks to force the district to hold the April 2 prom it canceled after McMillen made her requests.

In the court documents, McMillen said Rick Mitchell, the assistant principal at the school, told her she could not attend the prom with her girlfriend but they could go with “guys.”

Superintendent Teresa McNeece told the teen that the girls should attend the prom separately, had to wear dresses and couldn’t slow dance with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to court documents.

The school district last week said it wouldn’t host the prom “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” District officials said they hoped private citizens would sponsor a dance. The decision came on the same day the ACLU asked the district to act on McMillen’s prom requests.

McMillen said she approached school officials weeks ago about wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom.

“I want my prom experience to be the same as all of the other students, a night to remember with the person I’m dating,” McMillen said.

The district, located in northern Mississippi near the Alabama state line, prohibits same-sex dates at the prom. The ACLU has said that violates the rights of gay and lesbian students.

The school district had not responded to the ACLU filing by [this] afternoon.

Christine Sun, a senior counsel with the ACLU’s national gay rights project, said the organization is determined to put the prom back on the school calendar.

Fulton Mayor Paul Walker said he has heard that parents are making plans for a private dance but he didn’t know the details. It’s unclear if gay couples would be welcome at that event….

Shit like this makes me wonder why in the hell the blue states didn’t just allow the red states to secede way back in the day of President Abe. (Speaking of whom, did you know that red states started seceding from the Union after his election but even before his inauguration? Um, yeah.) But then I remind myself that the oppressed peoples of the red states, without the help of those of us of the blue states, would be completely at the mercy of the mouth-breathing fucktards who dominate the red states. It’s not right to allow that to happen.

Equal human and civil rights — liberty and justice for all — just don’t grow naturally in the red states. They have to be forced upon the red states from without. It’s unfortunate that that is so, but it is the red states’ fault — for all of their talk of the founding fathers, for fuck’s sake — for their absolute refusal to live up to the American ideals that every0ne is created equal and that everyone has the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Two female students or two male students dancing at prom together would “push people’s buttons.” Oh, boo fucking hoo!

Was not the very same argument made to outlaw mixed-race dancing at red-state high-school proms past? Or to disallow non-white students to attend prom at all?

And the prom was canceled “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events”?

Really?

Or was the prom canceled because the high school officials are a bunch of fucking homophobes and/or fucking cowards?

“Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events” — that is what you call blaming the victim, who in this case is the lesbian student who just wants the equal human and civil rights to which she is entitled by the founding documents of the United States of America, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (which, I understand, are being rewritten for the Texas public-school textbooks…).

Goddess bless the ACLU.

If a good number of high-school students truly do have a problem seeing same-sex couples at their schools’ dances, that’s probably because they just never see it. What you never have seen, when you see it, can feel and seem quite alien.

But it’s fucking circular: Same-sex dancing at high-school proms is rarely or never seen at most high schools, and so it’s taboo, and because it’s taboo, it is banned at many if not most high schools, and because it is banned, it is never seen, and because it is never seen, it remains taboo, and…

Constance McMillen is brave; she is a sort of Rosa Parks for 2010.

I admire her.

I love her balls.

I hope that she gets to go to her high-school prom with the person of her choice, wearing what she wishes to wear, and that by so doing, she shows her classmates what the noble American principles that the red-staters only claim to value actually look like.

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