Friday, October 12, 2007

Has Jimmy Carter Been Raping Kittens?

People hate Jimmy Carter.

Not the eyeball-rolling, head-shaking, dismissive dislike you might expect to find directed at a man that irritated you 30 years ago, but foaming-at-the-mouth, sputtering, viscous-dog-straining-at-the-limit-of-his-chain, carotid-artery-busting apoplexy. The kind of anger you would usually reserve for the person who is at this very instant shitting on your head or raping your cat.

I stumbled into this lake of bile in the comments section of a Reuters article detailing some unusually blunt rhetoric Carter directed at Dick Cheney in a BBC interview. I should have known better. Reading visitor comments rarely edifies, even when most of the participants are bright and perceptive enough to share my views, and I avoid reading them for the same reason I eschew man-on-the-street interviews on the local news. Because the man on the street is invariably an idiot.

So as my better judgment failed me and I naively allowed my eyes to drift towards the comments section, I knew some shrillness would be in the offing. But I was stunned to see just how much shrillness was being offed.

I expected comments to run about half and half between Carter/liberal haters and a choir of amens that seems to accompany any public figure critical of the Bush administration these days. The Reuters site is shared public space after all, attracting pie-eyed socialists, goose-stepping neo-fascists, and everyone in between. It is the virtual analog of the Department of Motor Vehicles--the place you will meet everyone that lives near you, regardless of their race, gender, affluence, or commitment to personal hygiene. But apparently I forgot to carry a zero when I did my calculations. Hardly one in twenty commenters had anything nice to say about the former President, and each member of this timid minority was swiftly disemboweled by the frothing mob.

What is it about Jimmy Carter that evokes such visceral disgust? As a people, we are renowned for responding to the personalities rather than the substance of our political leaders. Shouldn't this work to Carter's advantage? He is--at least in my childlike estimation--kind and decent. Yet he is assaulted for his rudeness towards Dick "Go fuck yourself" Cheney. He is a devout Christian--a Sunday school teacher for crying out loud--yet he is upbraided as an apostate. He has worked his whole life for peace, yet he is disdained for effeminacy and held responsible for not only the violence that occurred during his term of office, but for most of the violence that has occurred since. Several visitors even assigned blame for the Iraq war to Carter!

What gives? Let's hear from some of our incisive commentators...


Posted by laoh0441
There are just two types of people that are likely to comment on the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Those that don't believe he was absolutely the worst president in history, and those that were actually forced to endure the gas lines, 21% interest rates, wearing cardigan sweaters to stay warm in our homes and being held hostage by Islamo-fascist terrorists in Iran...

Laoh was not alone in tagging Carter with culpability for the numerous economic and foreign policy challenges of his presidency. I could summon a host of facts to debunk this assault, however doing so would require that I break a profuse intellectual sweat at a time when I am without a ready change of intellectual underwear. Suffice it to say that blaming Carter for oil prices, interest rates, and the blossoming of a popular revolution in Iran is like mailing someone a rubber chicken and then blaming them for not receiving a cupcake. In economic matters above all, a one-term president can do little more than reap what was sown by his predecessors or eat whatever wild bounty is furnished by the natural fortunes of drought and flood.

Other commenters lambasted Carter for breaking with the tradition in which former presidents refrain from criticizing their successors.


Posted by jdle0384
Carter needs to act like a real man and a real former president and SHUT THE HELL UP. Up until him there was a professional courtesy among presidents. But that's too good for old Jimmy...

Touché. I will allow a point scored and an additional half point for the left handed swipe at Carter's virility and the judicious use of CAPITAL LETTERS! It is a tad unseemly for a former president to call a sitting executive to task. In the Georgian's defense however, I would argue that the tradition of restraint applies to disagreements regarding policy or management style, and that Dick Cheney's penchant for wiping his ass with the Constitution falls outside those categories. Perhaps I am puritanical in this regard?

But neither Carter's policies nor his post-presidential deportment are the source of the hatred he attracts. Rather, they are opportunities for his detractors to express a more fundamental anger. It is no coincidence that Jimmy Carter was the least presidential President of this century. He was elected because, at that unique moment in history, the electorate wanted a figure of the most human scale. A neighbor. A simple, honest farmer.

In our history, we have elected Presidents that are fatherly, or heroic, or powerful, or patrician. That in this instance we submitted willingly, eagerly to someone small is best rationalized as a reactionary act of self-abasement. Exhausted by more than a decade of inconclusive war in Asia, weighed down by economic malaise, repulsed by the small-time criminal antics of Nixon and his cohorts, America was ready to do penance. I'm not saying we willingly performed a rite of contrition; the word "sorry" does not appear in the American lexicon. Rather, we subjected ourselves to the rule of the meek in a subconscious act of self-flagellation. It was absolution via masochism.

And like an arrogant prom queen who, in a fleeting moment of weakness, sleeps with the school's biggest loser, we despised ourselves in the morning. And we unburden ourselves of that self-loathing by heaping abuse upon that poor, geeky, acne-ridden kid into whose arms we so willingly fell. Jimmy Carter became our secret shame. What if we are meek, indecisive, vulnerable, credulous and softhearted like Jimmy?

If only we could find a President who is overbearing, infallible, callous, cynical and cruel. Then we'd never have to be ashamed again.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the Regan vilification of Carter? Doesn't that have something to do with it? Carter was raped and like all good rape victims, he is supposed to slink away and never show his face again.

ChicagoDude said...

I think there is more to this. I greatly admire Carter. He did not retire to oblivion, never heard of again except to parachute out of a plane on their 80th birthday (i.e. Bush #1). He used his knowledge and name to better the planet.

I think this last sentence is what drives the righties crazy, especially the talk-radio crowd. Why would Carter cause Limbaugh to dedicate entire shows to talking about him, smearing him? Why do they care this much??

I think it falls down to this. In the far-right conservative's minds (in which studies show find it difficult to contemplate vagueness or complexities), everything is black and white. Therefore, liberals are ALWAYS bad or evil or un-american or Nazis or socialists, etc. blah, blah. Following this further, then, a liberal that does some obvious good can NOT happen. This goes against every part of their ideology. Thus they have to be smeared. There is no other action possible. That way their view of conservative-good-liberal-bad stays in tact. There is no other option. So, when you have such an exemplary man as Carter doing undeniably heartfelt and positive contributions to the world, it takes EXTRA time to suffuse the dichotomy of Carter to their preconceived notions. (same can be seen of Gore-bashing). The craziest example of this I've EVER seen is the right's continued bashing of playwright Arthur Miller. I mean, come on, the guy's been dead for a generation. But because he talked out against McCarthy, he has to be labeled as BAD, no matter how much acclaim his plays get. I saw recently an an article by a right-wing pundit whose mission was to trash Miller's plays - saying that he saw The Crucible once and didn't like it, that he never saw Death of a Salesman on stage, and didn't want to because it was so un-American, etc. I mean, WHY DO THEY CARE SO MUCH about this??? Like I said, these "good" liberals are extremely threatening to a staunch good/evil conservative, so they must be smeared and trashed for YEARS and YEARS. So sad....

M. said...

All you have to do is look at what Republican presidents do when they retire and what Democratic presidents do to see the glaring difference between the hearts of the two parties.

Anonymous said...

This effect has also been seen in the rights reaction to Al Gores Nobel prize. I think this wave of vitriol has right wing answer to dialogue.
Even Bill Kistol resorted to rude invictive ranting this pass Sunday. They have been trained by Rush and Bill and Shawn to cover thought with emotional rant void of facts. They have worked on Hillary for 15 year to "build her negatives". But ask the average Hillary hater what she has ever done or said to elisit the hate and they have no answer. This is why she so easily overcame "the negatives" in NY, and hopefully she will in the nation.

Manos said...

Remarkable. I only learned about Only Sayin' today (thanks, Crooks and Liars) and don't think that I have read political commentary as thought provoking, and as easy to read, in quite awhile.

Brilliant stuff.

Powder_Monkey said...

Thanks for visiting all.

Thanks to Michael Stickings at The Reaction and C&L for the link.

And thanks especially for the kind words manos. I must break out of my cynical and emotionally stunted character for long enough to say:

Oh yeah, that's why I do this...

Clavis said...

It's simple: Carter wanted Americans to be honest and reasonable about the problems they were facing. Reagan offered feel-good catchphrases like "Morning in America" and a sunny disposition that suggested that ignorance really WAS bliss.

Right-wingers, given the choice between mature pragmatism and arrogantly sunny cluelessness will choose the happy BS every time.

Carter tried to get the right-wingers to look in the mirror and see what was there. They STILL hate him for that.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say thanks too. I was taken aback when my wingnut brother went off on a rant about Carter out of the blue one day. Not that I want to delve into the wingnut mind too much, but I was curious to understand my own brother's seemingly unfounded hatred for the man.
You've been bookmarked.

Cay said...

I also enjoyed the insight in your post and wanted to tie it together with chicagodude's comment, "He used his knowledge and name to better the planet." My parents are both conservatives and this kind of "do-gooder" behavior disgusts them. I think it's a big part of the Carter weak persona that they despise.

It really makes me sick when they denigrate people who do the kind of things Carter does, but I don't understand why they feel this way.

Ideas? Insight?

Powder_Monkey said...

Howdy Cay, thanks for taking the time to comment.

Sorry to hear your parents are both conservatives---must make for some quiet times around the dinner table.

You're hinting at a point I left untouched in this piece: weakness of a kind is strength. It takes real strength to make yourself vulnerable to other people's pain. That's where compassion and charity come from. It takes real strength to recognize and acknowledge your own flaws. That's how you become a better person.

Most people (many? some?) get through their "acting tough" phase and realize that it was in fact weakness--a response to fear and insecurity. But some folks never come out the other side of that "tough" phase. Their club is called "The Republicans."

And of course the tough guys are disgusted by the do-gooders. Subconsciously, it's jealousy.

OK-Snakeman said...

I remember growing up during the Carter administration and seeing him have a difficult time with the financial crisis our country had been plunged into that he was then responsible for trying to correct. (I recognize that not all of the problems we encountered during those 4 years were all of his making.) It took a mighty toll on the man and doomed the legacy that he wanted to leave behind and though not all of his doing, he accepted the blame for the nation's problems as his own and didn't try to pass the buck.

A large part of the reason for such a disproportionate vote in 1980 was due to the Lebanese hostage crisis and the deal quietly brokered with the Republican party prior to the elections whereby the hostages were to be released as long as Carter was not elected.

The economy was slowly (probably very slowly) coming out of the dumps by 1980 and the US had learned to deal with using domestic fuels (note the US oil boom economy that started in approx. 1978 and lasted until approx. 1984 or so when we once again began to seal off US production and once again rely upon foreign supplies.)

We made it through a seemingly dark time with Jimmy Carter at the helm and were actually better off as a humanity because of it. We didn't have a bunch of kids growing up thinking that the world owed them anything (well, for the most part) and you had a small portion of a generation that knew all about lending their neighbor a helping hand.

Wish we could say the same things today.

Cay said...

My husband and I talked about this at length this morning and our conclusion is that right-wingers really do not feel the desire to help out unfortunates - especially those who they do not know personally.

So when they see people like Carter doing it, they think it's just plain wrong (right wingers are very certain when it comes to right and wrong.) And they have to overcome their cognitive dissonance when the rest of the world sees Carter etc. as doing a good thing. The right winger is thinking to himself "I am a good person" and "I do not want to help these people" therefore the person helping them must be wrong and bad. So they attack Carter. Yep, a big case of cognitive dissonance.

Blue Gal said...

Another monkey! Hooray!

(found you at drifty's comments. Blogrolled, ma hunnie)

rynato said...

But ask the average Hillary hater what she has ever done or said to elisit the hate and they have no answer.

heh, indeedly-doodly. I've said exactly this on many an occasion. They don't know why they are supposed to hate Hillary, they just do. It all boils down to misogyny and fear of feminism.

As for the right's hatred of Carter, he had the misfortune to be president at a very difficult time for the country. The blowback from the 1953 Mossadegh coup happened on his watch; likewise blowback from our support for Israel (Arab oil embargo).

I think it's true that Carter was not a very good president, but he doesn't deserve this level of hatred. Carter's sins are nothing compared to those of Bush.

Another of your commenters had it right on, righties hate do-gooders because they make them look like the scum-sucking selfish arseholes that they are.

Anonymous said...

I’ve also been taken aback by the ferocity of the right’s contempt for Jimmy Carter, but Carter-bashing isn’t anything new. Even Democrats hold him in low esteem. I’ve never understood it until recently.
The fundamental truth about the people who are running the GOP for the last 30 years is that they are all the spiritual descendents of Holden Caulfield. The obnoxious narrator of “Catcher in the Rye” spells it all out for you in the first few chapters. Everyone is a phony.
There is a strain of conservatism that accepts their selfishness – Ayn Rand made her entire career on it. Such people think that altruism doesn’t exist – and that anyone claiming to be altruistic is a liar and a poser. They have looked within themselves and see no such thing as fellow-feeling beyond their family. Like everyone, they do the rest of the world the favor of assuming that we are all basically just like they are.
This is why they hate ‘do-gooders’. They feel that such people are fools and hypocrites. It didn’t help to see that there indeed were self-absorbed people redeeming themselves by a patina of good works – generally involving donation of money. They ignore those who seem to be beyond such accusations of disingenuousness, but such people are under constant inspection for any scintilla of self. If detected, it is pounced on as proof of the conservative’s (or libertarian’s) cynical projections.
The traditional antidote to such a poisoning of the soul has been religion – and in America, in particular, the social philosophies of Jesus Christ. Yet the only bone fide, really real Christian we’ve had in the White House in our lifetime, Jimmy Carter, is discarded contemptuously in favor of the likes of Jerry Falwell, who memorably called Desmond Tutu a ‘phony’. The role model of such Christians is not Christ but the despairing Caulfield

But liberals make the same mistake – we think that all people are pretty much like us – and we expect the rest of the world to eventually realize their social commonality.
It won’t happen – until the conservative has a heart attack or a brain tumor and realizes how much he needs people. It is what the Catholics called an imperfect act of contrition. Under duress, but acceptable if sustained.
Hey, whatever happened to old Holden, anyway? Did he ever grow up?

Milo

Anonymous said...

I have a theory that hypocrites, criminals, and republicans cannot help but revile decent human beings.
thebewildernsee

Anonymous said...

While not commenting on this post, I encourage all lefties and righties to visit wwww.ghostofwellstone.blogspot.com and www.itsfirstfriday.com Two opposing views. The leftie gets it on this issue, and of course the rightie is lost.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely the best blog I'd never heard of...
Lucid, witty, articulate, sophisticated.
I'm now a fan. (Thanks C&L)
eidelon

darrelplant said...

The first time I could vote for president I voted for Carter over Reagan in 1980 (although I had voted for Kennedy in the primaries).

I admire much of what he has done since he left office and really don't think he can be blamed for a lot of the ills that affected the country in the post-Vietnam era, after billions upon billions of dollars of the national budget had been squandered down that rathole. He certainly pushed the human rights agenda while he was in office, and that seemed to drive the GOP crazy.

However, Carter did approve a plan by Zbigniew Brzezinski to finance rebel forces in Afghanistan in an attempt to draw the Soviet Union to invade that country in 1979, then acted outraged when they did so (leading to the US pulling out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the cancellation of grain sales from the US to the USSR). That laid the seeds for further US involvement with Afghanistan under the Reagan administration (and Rambo III). Twenty years of civil war, followed up by Taliban rule and a safe haven for Osama bin Laden. Not a pretty legacy. All they were trying to do was bring down the Soviet Union by getting it involved in a Vietnam-style quagmire. Unfortunately since Carter had been a strong proponent of the Vietnam War, he didn't seem to take into consideration that a guerilla war in Afghanistan might not be the best thing for the Afghan people.

Ralph B. said...

Wow! Fantastic blog here. And fantastic post Powder Monkey. I'm no social or political scientist (not even close!) and reading all these brilliant posts makes me feel...well...pretty dumb. You people are all so smart!

But here's something I do know...Jesus was a kind, compassionate, warm, loving, beautiful person. So why the crap do all (okay, not all...but most) of his followers who call themselves "Christian"s (which by the way, the last time I checked, literally meant "Christ-like") hate people with the same qualities as Jesus (liberals and Democrats) and love people who are so opposite of Christ (conservatives and Republicans). I just don't get it.

Darren7160 said...

I agree with ChicagoDude, I really do believe that there is a pathology to the mindset of the conservative that makes them incapable of dealing with shades of issues.

I have always believed that what American's say they want and what they actually want are two different things. I say this because when they say they want a principled president with a deep faith they had one in President Carter and they go nuts whenever he is mentioned.

Of course, I also believe that if you wish to follow the logic of the right-wing, you had best bring bread crumbs.

foolme1ns said...

As of late, I have noticed an enormous amount of frothing at the mouth by the rightwingers. I attributed it to their being mostly a one trick pony and that trick is getting old and worn as the majority of Americans are waking up and finding that the hateful rhetoric doesn't seem to have anything to do with living in the real world.

They have lost touch with reality or they have never been in touch with reality, but the people are moving on from them. It was a good freak show for a while, but the spitting, hatefilled continuing catterwalling gets a bit old, especially when the victims of their diatribes are small children who are in circumstances that the majority of Americans can relate to. To even have gone so far as to tell people who should and shouldn't concieve children. Like the witch from the Wizard of Oz, they are saying incredibly stupid things like "and I'm gonna get your little dog too". With Jimmy Carter, at least they feel once again on firm ground, so they go after him, hammer and tongs. But, since these attacks have come after their vile attacks on little children, even these have lost the sting that they once had.

The neocons have had all of their theory's for the last thirty years thoroughly, uncompromisingly tested in the last 7 years and it has been and utter and complete failure on every level and as more and more people see that, the more and more the talking heads, and leaders of the neocons will turn into the girl from The Exorcist movie, spinning their heads and vomiting pea soup to try to convince their ever shrinking audience that they were and are right, in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary.

Bruce T said...

Great piece, PM. I was taken aback at first with the title. I have always admired President Carter, in office, because he, a fellow southerner, had the audacity to forego many of the trappings of the Imperial Presidency worn by the previous resident Herr Nixon; and after leaving office, for his hands-on approach to the life of the statesman, both for our country, as emissary to the less fortunate helping them obtain affordable housing, etc, and to others dwelling in his world as election observer, prolific writer, Sunday School teacher to the world, and all-round pleasant person.

Oh yeah, then there's the Nobel Peace Prize.

I guess the Wingnuts hate him because he doesn't have to thump his chest to be heard, like they think they do.

RickRS said...

Seem there are two version of God, the loving God and the smiting God. Republican appear to pay lip service to loving God but believe in their heart of hearts that God loves them only, and more so when they get to smiting.

I bought into the "Carter was the worst President" rhetoric at the end of his term, only to be impressed by his continuing push on the world stage of human rights, and actions like voting monitoring, Habitat for Humanity, etc. The man was the best of the ex-presidents, ever.

And then I think back to the failed rescue attempt of the American hostages from Iran (the one where helicopters crashed in the desert at a staging point inside Iran, causing the mission to be aborted). Then, the military failed Carter and the Americans people. It was understandable, it was a hail mary mission, but no one mentions Carter did try. And Carter never once give into the temptation to push some blame onto the military.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. I agree with the other commenters that a fundamental tenet of republican beliefs is that *everyone is selfish* and anyone who does something for someone else, or who acts in an altruistic manner, is a phony who is trying to put it over on the rest of us *for personal gain.*

I've actually been having this conversation over and over again with my republican contractor and it took me until today to see how embedded this perspective is. I still haven't found a way to combat it. Because at root they actually *admire* that kind of phoniness (if they believe its in the service of selfish aims). What they set themselves to attack is not the person but those who believe in his goodness/altruism. They are ostensibly attacking Jimmy Carter and Al Gore but look closely at the attacks on Gore, certainly, and you can see that what they are really going after him for is the fact that *his followers* believe he is altruistic. the attack on gore for his "hypocrisy" and the assertions that he is simply going to take us all back to the stone age for his own personal pleasure, not because there is a real planetary crisis, are in their own way an hommage to a better crook than they managed to be. Underneath their criticism of Gore is always a sneaking admiration, to my mind, for his ability to (apparently) invent a whole new way of scamming the populace. If only theyd thought of it first, they think, they'd have gotten the nobel prize just as unfairly.

When new information comes out about the war my contractor always says "of course, the guy is writing a book, so of course he wants to say what sells..." and if you challenge him and say "why on earth would anyone write a book saying the war is lost and all the people who employed me screwed it up when they could just as easily write a far more popular book saying the opposite?" he's stumped. The republicans apply the same crude friedmanesque free market ideas to personal motivations and conclude that all actions are really taken to benefit the individual and to hurt others. They admire that.

aimai

votingvet said...

I'm reading Our Endangered Values and recommend it. Carter is a very simple, honest, decent man. He always has been. He refers (page 149) to a plaque he received from a cabinet member the day he left office which epitomizes why the Wingnuts hate him. It's a Jefferson quote: "I have the consolation to reflect that during the period of my administration not a drop of the blood of a single citizen was shed by the sword of war." Compare that with the "bring it on" yo-yo who has squatted like an uninvited tramp in the White House since 2001.

It's a shame but not a surprise that Carter, as a Christian, deeply committed to compassion, to teaching, to acts of kindness is hated and reviled by the empty-hearted Conservative "neo-Christians," who believe that God's love is shown by the wealth he showers on you -- or the wealth he allows you to steal; and that His disdain is shown by your impoverished condition.

Jimmy is the conscience of the country, plain and simple.

Don Kosin said...

Jimmy Carter is a HERO who is lionized by PROGRESSIVES for good reason! The greatest POTUS of the 20th Century? I don't know about that, but it makes me "emotional" whenever I hear him villafied.

For the record, I am an Alan Alda type feminist, progressive life-long DEMOCRAT and WHITE SOX FAN! Fuck Hillary and her CUBS!

Don Kosin said...

Jimmy Carter is a HERO who is lionized by PROGRESSIVES for good reason! The greatest POTUS of the 20th Century? I don't know about that, but it makes me "emotional" whenever I hear him villafied.

For the record, I am an Alan Alda type feminist, progressive life-long DEMOCRAT and WHITE SOX FAN! Fuck Hillary and her CUBS!

Richard said...

G'day from Oz. Nice post PM...click goes the bookmark. From an outsider's perspective, Carter always seemed to me to be the anode to Nixon's cathode, and the individual American's response to the mention of his name was useful IFF tag in conversations away from home.
On the broader question of why are the Right so aggressive about such things - it's fear. The driving fear of the Right is of loss - as opposed to the Left, who are mostly quite comfortable with it, can learn, adapt and survive (a la Carter). For the Right, the inevitability of loss can only be kept at bay by ring-fencing all perceived threats, and savagely beating any (figure)heads that get through the circled wagons. Carter is too successful in the outside world to be tolerated.
Wombat

ben said...

Thanks so much for your insightful and useful blog. You are bookmarked here as well. Even the comments are wonderfully readable and intelligent .

Anonymous said...

I liked what you said about compassion coming from strength. Lincoln, our greatest and strongest president, looked for any excuse to pardon a soldier scheduled to be executed. Bush has always looked for any excuse to sign the execution papers.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap,
I just realized that GORE is living what should be BUSH's legacy.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Gore doesn't have to be the President, he is the living embodiment of what a President SHOULD be, and in that way provides a foil to Bush's clear inability to be a President, or presidential in any way, shape, manner or form.

Oh, how rich.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article.

The Swift Boating of Carter is no surprise. That is the fate of anyone with enough courage to speak the truth about this incompetent and corrupt administration.

Jimmy Carter was the most decent and humane president of the past 50 years. And he still has the courage to say what he knows is right, no matter the consequences.

We need another courageous and compassionate leader. There really is only one such choice out there.

Dennis Kucinich 08 - Americas Hope

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Milo that the Republicans see everyone as greedy and self centered, with altruism being hypocricy. I have two uncles and a brother in law who fit this mold perfectly. I don't know if it's a mental defect in the medical sense, or a defense mechanism to justify their own existance.

How such people can consider themselves Christians "Christ-like" when it is so intellectually dishonest is totally beyond my comprehension. "I go to church every week, therefor I'm a good person. The fact that I delight in destroying other people's lives is irrelevent."

Powder_Monkey said...

What a lovely party we're having! Many thanks to Blue Gal for making the brownies and bringing the balloons.

Time will not permit me to respond to all the thoughtful comments, but a couple of quick hits:

rynato: Yes, Carter's sins were of omission rather than commission. But he's not a guy that Machiavelli would have picked to lead.

ralph b.: Jesus was not a company man--he left the temple, remember? But Christianity can't help but be a corporate behemoth. It's an uncomfortable match.

bruce t.: Can't say I didn't know the title would shock. But demur doesn't work in the blogosphere. So we say the unspeakable and then deny it when the cops show up.

Anonymous: Always use Republican contractors! Their sense of certainty is very useful for building things!

Thanks for visiting and the kind words all. Remember, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, so let's have fun with it!

roooth said...

Al Gore pegged it: The Right cannot acknowledge that anything they are doing is wrong because they would then have a MORAL IMPERATIVE to take corrective action, as in doing something about global warming.

But it isn't just about global warming.

The call to moral action is at the very heart of the Christianity that most Righties pay lip service to, and we have all seen what tortured knots they have tied Christianity into to support their war-mongering, selfish, greedy lives.

They drive their Hummers to their megachurches and listen to hucksters with Rolexes, who stand before pulpits flanked by the cross and the flag, and who tell them that they are entitled to wealth without conscience, that the poor just aren't trying hard enough, that God would bomb those foreigners too.

They know inside that what they are doing is not right, but their thinking is so fear-based that they refuse to see anything that takes them out of their comfort zone - like the fact that we are now using methods of torture straight out of the Spanish Inquisition - and they become irrationaly enraged when confronted with any example of another kind of choice they might have made, like Carter building houses for the poor or Gore actually trying to do something for our descendants.

Meanwhile, their idea of doing somthing for the future of their community and the planet is what? Cheney's 1% doctrine? (kill them before they kill us: if there is 1% chance of us being attacked, we have the right to strike first.) That's Christ-like. Or, have all well-to-do Americans living in gated communities while the poor can got to Hell? Or, let other people's kids die in endless wars to support their unsupportable lifestyles?

And they call themselves followers of Jesus; the Prince of Peace, the man who said we should go inside ourselves to pray - not make a show of our prayers. Who told us that we should turn the other cheek when struck and help the poor if we want to gain entry into heaven.

Jesus put no qualifiers on this, no 1% exceptions, no "follow me unless you're really scared", in which case killing is ok.

Facing up to this spiritual hypocrisy causes such a moral crisis that Righties and Fundies genuinely feel threatened and lash out with rage when confronted with ANY uncomfortable fact.

And the Right's media mouthpieces encourage that rage; they deliberately keep feeding it to their base, and enriching themselves off of it.

This is a direct contradiction of the major tenets of the faith they espouse, but their rage-fueled adrenalin rushes are as addictive as meth, and the hits they need to stay enraged are free on the radio and Fox, with extra doses of righteous violence in shows like 24.

That's why they loved Mel Gibson's "Passion" so much, they could wallow in adrenalin pumping violence porn, and walk out convinced that hatred - in that case, hatred of Jews - was acceptable in the name of their God.

And they will continue to support war without end, torture, murder, rape, and every other kind of evil, rather than acknowledge that they have been wrong, because that would require that they face up to the role they have played in allowing all this to happen. And then they would have a moral imperative to take action - as Christians. To pray for forgiveness and change everything about their beliefs and their lives.

And this isn't even new. Take a good look at German media and culture in the 1930s, before WWII, and what the German people went through after WWII, how they recovered from allowing evil to take them over.

This will continue here as long as the rest of us let it. And we let it because we don't want to confront the inevitable rage.

So we break off friendships, walk away from contentious family dinner tables, don't talk to right-wing neighbors, all because we don't want to deal with the rage we may unleash, like the rage the schip kids and their families have had unleashed at them.

And so they get to keep on inflicting their evil on all of us.....I think it's time to face down the rage, no matter what.

Mugsy said...

> he man on the street is invariably an idiot.

ADDENDUM:
...as demonstrated repeatedly by Jay Leno.

laker said...

I'd just like to point out that not one person has addressed the biggest issue that has brought him into the spotlight and has even gone so far as to cast him as "anti-Semitic"... his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" which has gained him some of the nastiest and most vicious enemies. Note that the last 1 1/2 or so years has seen attacks on him rise to unbelievable levels.

The reason why? Simple, he wants our country to question its blind support for another country that is responsible for displacing an entire population of people, occupying what land they had left, and violating human rights at a level that no "1st world" and "democratic" nation could possibly get away with, other than Israel.

Want more evidence that this is the case? Check out Mearsheimer and Walt. Look at where their careers were at before criticizing Israel, and look at them now. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the two things. First, > he man on the street is invariably an idiot.

I think that the man on the street is usually portrayed as an idiot. They take fifty people's answers and then run the most entertaining or stupidest one out there. It happened all the time in urban settings but now it is just the norm. Whether it is the trailer park or the ghetto or wall street they are going to find the stupidest person and share their views as that of the common man.

Also, in regards to Israel, the more I learn about the creation of Israel the more it seems to me the US supports it because we want a watch dog over in the Middle East that will play ball with us no matter what so we protect our oil interests, besides we stole this land from its native inhabitants claiming Manifest Destiny, why not support Israel who is claiming that God said we could live here. Now I believe in God or higher being but honestly organized religion is the biggest bunch of bullshit in the history of man, causing more war and death than any other human belief. Christian belief says that God gave us free will but then if you don't agree with me I get to kill you or torture you until you see it my way, because a devote man must know more than God. The arrogance of man is astounding.

radlib1 said...

Jimmy Carter may not have been our best President, but he is definitely our best ex-President.

He was royally screwed by the unscrupulous Rethuglicans like Reagan, Bush Sr., and Kissinger, who conspired with the Iranians to keep our American hostages until after the election.

Neither the Iranians nor the Iraqis are our true enemies. It's the Republicans within our midst. They are the captains of greed, the oiligarchs, the ones who send our poor to fight their wars for them. These people are the chickenshit chickenhawks who are sending our brave young poor people to fight and die for their greed and riches in the Middle East.

Stop the rape of Iraq and the Middle East. Bring our troops home.

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