Sunday, September 19, 2010

There’s nothing like hyping a totally imaginary threat to get people worked up right before an election.

This approach has been the staple of the Republican Party for quite a while now. But it seems to me that, for such an approach to really work well, your “threat” that you are pumping, the one that only Republicans can save the country from, should at least have a hint of plausibility to it. Otherwise, it would seem that people would either ignore you or laugh at you.

This one from Newt Gingrich (from Washington Monthly) really takes the cake, it is so jaw droppingly stupid.

[P]erhaps the former House Speaker's loudest applause [at the Values Voter Summit] came when he weighed in on the controversial Islamic center and Mosque proposed to be built near Ground Zero, declaring, "We as Americans don't have to tolerate people who are supportive of violence against us, building something at the site of the violence."

"This is not about religious liberty, if they want to build that mosque in the South Bronx, frankly they need the jobs," he continued. "But I am totally opposed to any effort to impose Sharia on the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will Sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law."

I won’t even go into the extreme effort being made by the wingnuts of this country to equate Islam with the crazy people who carried out the attacks on the World Trade Centers. That’s ridiculous. I could just as easily equate Christianity with Timothy McVie’s attack on the government building in Oklahoma City. Same thing, right?

But that’s not the point here. Gingrich, after setting up the table with a totally false equivalency, then makes an even more ridiculous jump to building a “mosque” (which it isn’t) to trying to impose Sharia Law on the United States. This is such a threat, in Gingrich’s mind, that he thinks we should have a federal law to prevent such an imposition of law based in religion.

My first response was, what the hell is he talking about? Is this a threat? Is anyone saying this at all? But then, don’t all our laws already have something like that as their basis? We have the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federal Code of Regulations, we have more laws than we can shake a stick at. They are all written down and cannot be just brushed aside, no matter what anyone would like to try to replace them with. They must be amended, each in their own particular way. Does Newt actually believe that some federal judge or something is, all of a sudden, going to just make a ruling and impose a system of law based on the Islamic religion on the United States? Does he really think it is that easy? He must, because he apparently thinks we need a new federal law to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I can’t believe this person was actually the Speaker of the House. Either he has absolutely no idea how the federal government actually works (which, I suppose, may be possible) or else he has decided that he is going to cynically try to hype up a non-existent threat to try to get the right wing base voters so scared of Muslims they are almost ready to crap in their pants. I just find this so pathetic and immoral. Gingrich knows that this isn't even a remote possibility, and yet, there he is, in the national press, saying this kind of disgusting crap.

Why is this man still considered a credible politician? A national press with any sort of self-respect would have called bullshit on this guy long ago. Yet, he continues to show up on television and hold press conferences where his insane ramblings are duly copied down by a willing press.

But I think the thing I am most disappointed in is that many of the people in this country actually believe this disgusting crap. A very large percentage of this country are perfectly willing to let themselves get manipulated and stampeded by very cynical and crass politicians. This country has willingly given up our ability to work in the realm of facts and logic. The United States is becoming the ultimate Skinner Box. Push a button, watch the freakout.

(Sorry for the light posting of late. I have been on a couple of business trips, back to back, and it took me some time to get prepared for them. I'll try to do better in the future.)

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