Oh conservatism, thou art sick!
October 22, 2004 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Becoming what you hate : Nathan Sproul, case study in moral relativism on the Religious Right "former head of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Arizona Christian Coalition....Sproul is connected with the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration organization, Voters' Outreach of America Inc." - Sproul's firm is accused of fraud and the destruction of voter registration forms. He also failed to pay his workers and his office rent. Rick Perlstein, in the Village Voice, comments on the Sproul scandal : "Both sides are not equally bad, and any reporters who don't recognize that conservatism's very core has become shot through with a culture of mendacity should turn in their press badge..... It used to be that we could count on the conscience of conservatives to protect our democratic institutions."
posted by troutfishing (37 comments total)
The Sick GOP

"Oh GOP, thou art sick!

The theological worm

That flies in the night in the howling storm has found thy bed of crimson joy

And his dark secret love does thy heart destroy."

- with apologies to William Blake
posted by troutfishing at 3:13 PM on October 22, 2004

And this is in addition to the skany goings on in South Dakota and New Hampshire that Josh Marshall has been following... Not that I ever really believed that the Republicans were the moral, upstanding citizens they fraudulently pose as, but c'mon... Where are the stories about Democratic ill deeds that can even begin to compare to this level of bullshit?
posted by JollyWanker at 4:12 PM on October 22, 2004

there aren't any...we've cleaned up our act since the olden days, while the repubs have gotten dirtier.
posted by amberglow at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2004

Where are the stories about Democratic ill deeds that can even begin to compare to this level of bullshit?

Democrats set the tone for voter-fraud & intimidation for most of the twentieth century. The Repubs are belatedly cribbing from that political model.

Also kinda funny/sad:
posted by dhoyt at 5:31 PM on October 22, 2004

Name something from after the 60s, dhoyt...and that Gore example in your link is a crock--nothing was given to those people nor mentioned to them until after they voted. Next someone will be spinning the handing out of pillboxes at a recent Kerry rally as voter fraud--sorry.
posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on October 22, 2004


I think the angry attacks on signs fall on both sides. In my town, all the Kerry signs get regularly driven over, spray painted on, and stolen, while the Bush ones seem fine.

It doesn't help or hinder either side more than the other to share anectdotes like the ones at whenangrydemocratsattack
posted by mathowie at 5:54 PM on October 22, 2004

Indictments were handed out to Sproul and associates for destroying ballots in South Dakota today. Good old Christian Coalition boys hard at work! Meanwhile the Bush campaign moved them to Ohio to try and throw the election process there. And there's the by now always dependable Florida with all their shenanigans going on again this election doing their damndest to thorw the process there too.

Does democracy mean nothing to the GOP and their cohorts, the racists and fundies and wealthy corporatists and the just plain stupid and gullible?

At long last, have you no shame GOP?

And lets not even get started on the slime machine Rove has cranking right this moment. Does everyone know yet that the secret funders and backers of the Sinclair political propaganda slime piece was actually the NRA (the lobbying arm of the firearm manufacturers)? I'm gonna buy a firearm allright, cause it looks like that's the only thing that will save democracy in America! Fuckers!

WTF is wrong with electing leaders? What's the problem with running for office on facts and truth and issues instead of lies and slime? Is this what the Holy Corporate States Of America looks like? I want no part of such corpulent crap!
posted by nofundy at 6:05 PM on October 22, 2004

Name something from after the 60s


>>The South Dakota Democratic Party reportedly paid the person at the center of a voter fraud investigation more than $12,000 in the last three months. Elsewhere in the state, officials said duplication, registering dead people and forging of signatures have been reported.

>>Maine Democrats lost a bid to keep independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader’s name off the Nov. 2 ballot

>>Nader: "That's the way it seemed to a 58-year-old supporter of ours in Oregon. On Aug. 12, 2004, she was at home with her two grandchildren when she answered a knock on her door and found a man and woman who she said began threatening her with jail if there was any false information on the petitions she was collecting for our ballot access. These people, who called themselves "investigators," were dispatched by a law firm that has worked extensively with Oregon trade unions that have supported Democratic candidates.

>>In 1998, former Democratic Congressman Austin Murphy of Pennsylvania was convicted of absentee ballot fraud. "In this area there's a pattern of nursing-home administrators frequently forging ballots under residents' names," says Sean Cavanagh, a Democratic county supervisor who uncovered the scandal and was so disowned by his party that he turned independent.

>>More than 1,000 voter registration forms and absentee ballot requests may be fraudulent in Lake and Summit counties...Lake election and law enforcement officials said their investigation is centered on absentee registration attempts by the nonpartisan NAACP's National Voter Fund and an anti-Bush, nonprofit group called Americans Coming Together, or ACT Ohio.

>>"There was a lot of fraud committed," said Mac Stuart, former Miami-Dade field director for ACORN. Among his allegations -- that ACORN "quality control" workers routinely kicked back Republican voter registrations while paying for Democratic ones.

"Name something from after the 60s" is a pretty weak response to decades of Democrat-sponsored fraud, btw. Isn't that exactly the same kind of apologist arguement you regularly hang on Repubs who defend their own?

mathowie: I linked to that site as a joke. ("Kinda funny").
posted by dhoyt at 6:24 PM on October 22, 2004

None of those things are voter fraud. Show me one vote fraudulently cast as a result of the links you listed. Show me one person not registered when they thought they were (I can show you many, as a result of Sproul, and we'll all be seeing them in courts after nov.2nd.

--registering nonexistent people so you can get the cash is not voter fraud--they won't be voting.
--absentee ballot requests are not voter fraud either--when they're handed in it is. Show me that.
--intimidating people is not voter fraud either (and look at the organized GOP intimidation in FL and the south for years).
--kicking back voter registrations is not voter fraud either (destroying them IS tho, which is what the GOP is doing all over the country).

I'm still waiting. It's not a weak response at all--it shows the progress made at rooting out corruption in the Democratic machine. Show me that progress on the GOP side.
posted by amberglow at 6:50 PM on October 22, 2004

dhoyt: I love the line in the caption of the photo of the vandalized car that says "we decided to buy Bush/Cheney bumper stickers for our cars" [my emphasis]. Gotta hand it to the Republicans. We give our bumper stickers/signs away.
posted by AstroGuy at 6:51 PM on October 22, 2004

make that when the absentee ballots are cast and sent/handed in to the officials.
posted by amberglow at 6:52 PM on October 22, 2004

Metafilter: Two wrongs make a Right.
posted by Jimbob at 7:07 PM on October 22, 2004

I also believe that the existence of Presidents Nixon(2x), Reagan(2x), Bush, and Bush are testaments to the successful reduction of corruption in the Democratic Party--at great cost.
posted by amberglow at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2004

Actually, I had to buy my Kerry yard sign from the local Democratic party.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:19 PM on October 22, 2004


Sorta anticlimactic, that one: Spray painted Bush signs, a couple of broken car windows, some kids holding anti-bush signs and giving the finger (yikes!), a garbage fire and a coupla photos of Moore and Al Franken at the GOP convention (Oh lordy lordy look at those angry liberal Democrats!! What is this country coming too....such disrespect!! Shameful..shameful....).

Phew. I'm now officially convinced that democracy is certainly dead and democrats killed it.

I think it was Charles Bukowski who said "Opinions are like assholes. Everyones got one" You can substitute "Websites" for "Opinions" and it still works pretty well.
posted by Skygazer at 8:01 PM on October 22, 2004

But it is kinda funny.
posted by Skygazer at 8:15 PM on October 22, 2004

I thought it was funny just for the title. Petty vandalism is committed by zealots from across the whole political spectrum, obviously. Skulduggery is not a one-sided partisan practice, though, which is what I'm trying to get amberglow to concede (nofundy, et al, are beyond reason) rather than splitting hairs about one type of fraud vs. another.
posted by dhoyt at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2004

Actually dhoyt, you trying to equate private companies'/non-profits' incompetence and possible corruption to a wholly-GOP-funded and created nationwide network of corruption and demonstrated illegal acts is laughable.

Simply ridiculous. I'm still waiting.
posted by amberglow at 8:57 PM on October 22, 2004

It's killing you to acknowledge any recent Democratic wrongdoings, so sidestepping it and getting me to split hairs about the degrees of dishonesty is your only recourse. Sorry, the "B-b-b-b-but Democrats haven't been totally corrupt for at least a few decades, just partially corrupt" isn't swaying anyone. Your first mistake is thinking politicans on "your team" (or of any stripe) prioritize yours or my needs above their own corrupt impulses.
posted by dhoyt at 9:30 PM on October 22, 2004

I don't have to acknowledge recent Democratic wrongdoings--no one has shown any.

Your links are not wrongdoings of the Democratic party or leadership, not created or assisted or funded by them--I don't know why you continue to equate ACORN with the Democratic party--they're not at all the same, completely unlike the GOP-created, funded, and led Sproul shit. You need to acknowledge the difference. It is entertaining for you to keep trying to spin them as equivalent tho.
posted by amberglow at 9:38 PM on October 22, 2004

dhoyt, here's analogy :

You're hosting a party, and things get a little rowdy. People are having fun, and passions here and there flare up.

You walk into your kitchen and there - unabashedly - is this guy who has pulled down his pants to squat and take a voluminous and rather runny crap on your kitchen floor - and a woman with an especially delicate stomach full of too much beer, who has stumbled on the spectacle and the stench, is vomiting in the corner

You're speechless, and then another guy emerges from the bathroom, looks at the crapper, and shouts "look at that. Godamn it! He did that at a party yesterday, and the day before that, and last week at a concert, and....."

At which point, the crapper responds to the allegations : "Well, isn't this the pot calling the kettle black! Look at him - his fly is down and there are drops of urine on his pants!" - And it's true.

Meanwhile, crapper conlcudes wiping his ass and - grabbing a questionable and stale slice of pizza off the counter, inhales that, chases that with a handful of laxatives washed down with the dregs from an anonymous half empty plastic cup of keg beer, and - muttering all the while "I just can't believe all this self righteous, hypocritical BS....can't believe it..." moves on to the next party.

Meanwhile, a local AP stringer is in hand to pick up the story : "Republicans, Democrats trade accusations of toileting impropriety" .

Back in the real world, nothing the Republicans are accusing the Democrats of is even remotely comparable to the Sproul scandal : a longtime Republican Party member and leader of the "Christian Coalition" - with direct ties to the RNC and the Bush Campaign - is caught perpetrating massive. multistate vote fraud.
posted by troutfishing at 3:00 AM on October 23, 2004

That was a great Rolling Stone article, trout. Terrifying, but maybe it will wake some people up.
posted by squirrel at 4:42 AM on October 23, 2004

I am related to a whole cadre of Bush supporters. I am a Democrat (more like a Socialist, I guess.) I know more about Bush's platform then they all do put together. All they know is that they hate the 'Islamofascits' and that Kerry is the most liberal Senator ever. They also distrust me because I (and this is a quote) 'am all messed up from reading all those newspapers.' They are full of hate. They have no policies or issues that they track or feel strongly about -- if Bust decided to raise taxes to cover the deficit and pull out of Iraq they would *support him* and still find a way to hate the liberals. I feel that the article is correct -- there is no conservative agenda anymore... it is simply an anti-everyone-else party. It is like a cancer or the perfect storm: it seems at times to only exist for it's self-propigation. And my fear is that the Dems' primciples are going to eventually erode from having to fight them. I am becoming more and more sure that this evolutionary dynamic is the prime source of political evil.

I hope that means that its days are numbered.
posted by n9 at 7:18 AM on October 23, 2004

I come from a similar gene pool, n9 - and our collective family experience is part of what terrifies me enough about this election that I've actually started consulting with my humongous, globe-bestriding company to look at job opportunities outside the United States.

I cannot see this as just an election between Democrats and Republicans. I can only see this election as a referendum on how far the Republicans have come - and how low the Republicans have sunk - in the years since I've been politically aware (I'm old enough to have seen Nixon's resignation speech on TV and to have known exactly what was happening). They operate free from any serious media scrutiny, free from any sense of obligation to the average American, free from any concern for the rest of the world, free from anything even remotely resembling a conscience or a sense of moral order... They flat out lie, without impunity - and, if the polls are correct, something slightly more than half of my fellow citizens believe them and are willing to vote to allow them to continue. This isn't about on which side of the Cambodian border Lt. Kerry spent Christmas Eve, this is about whether an issue like that can even be considered vaguely relevant.

They have successfully created the impression that the media they control via spin, selective reporting and out-and-out advocacy is, in fact, under the control of the "other side," that ol' "liberal elite." Now, that's not true, we know it's not true, they know it's not true - but the vast majority of voters do not know it's not true - what they know is what the Republican media masters spin out for them. That over 90% of the voters who say they support BushCo believe that Hussein was responsible for 9/11 and that we've found WMD in Iraq is testament to the success of the Republicans' strategy. If their intent were not so inherently despicable, I'd instead be marvelling at their skill.

I read - in literal amazement, every day - Media Matters and Daily Howler and Campaign Desk and I have no faith left that there's a Woodward and Bernstein just about to drag all this out in the open, forcing this Nixon to resign. It's already out in the open, and guess what? Americans don't fucking care. I have finally concluded that, despite fighting against it all my adult life because I didn't want to believe it, we really are as ignorant and as backward and as parochial a people as most foreigners have long believed us to be - because we're demonstrating it right now.

The only thing that stands between me and finally accepting that conclusion right now is Tuesday, November 2nd. I couldn't possibly care less about John Kerry's qualifications to be President, his military career, how liberal his voting record has been or whether he owns his own camo jacket to go goose hunting in. I couldn't possibly care less about George W. Bush's skipping out on the last nine months of his TANG obligation, his professed-but-sketchy evangelicism or whether or not he claims himself as a "timber company" on his income tax returns. What I care about is how we will consent to be governed. Either "they" govern in our name, on our behalf and deeply and irrevocably responsible to us - or, "they" govern in our name, as they please and with no regard for nor sense of responsibility to the people who voted to put them there.

I suppose you can guess which path I'll choose. If enough Americans feel the way I do, great, maybe we can repair the tracks, get the train back on them and start moving forward again; at the very least, we can stave off the eventual overthrow/downfall for another four years. If not, well, I suppose I should feel privileged to have witnessed this historic change and while it doesn't bode well for an America fifty or a hundred years for now, it certainly hasn't been unexciting. This chance won't come again, no matter what non-Republicans want to tell themselves - there will be no "Next time..." because I can all but guarantee you that "next time" will be even more managed, even more controlled, even more spun than "this time" - after all, we "told" them this was an OK way to behave - and they won't risk losing their grip on power.

This, in the end, is why I see a referendum, not an election. I haven't been and won't be urging people to vote for John Kerry; rather, I urge people to vote, and to vote with all their hearts and minds. I don't mind at all having "my" candidate "lose." What I want to know, so I can plan my own future, is the truth: Who are we going to be when we grow up? Is the run, indeed, over? Or will we, the People, recognize in time the rabbit hole we've already started to circle and scramble our way out of it before the forces of nature suck us in and leave us no choice?

(I predict conservatives and/or Republicans will decry what they see as my heightened hyperbole; part of their strategy is to downplay and ridicule concerns like mine, because they don't want their intentions to get any public airing that will expose the longer term vision. Ask them about what the Reconstructionists are up to, and why those people have such enormous influence in the structure of the Republican Party...)
posted by JollyWanker at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2004

Bush/Cheney 2004: Power at any price.
posted by clevershark at 8:32 AM on October 23, 2004

Well said, JollyWanker!
posted by rushmc at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2004

Meanwhile, a local AP stringer is in hand to pick up the story : "Republicans, Democrats trade accusations of toileting impropriety" .

Great metaphor Troutfishing. I see this all the time on the "news" and sadly it seems to have become more pronounced since the ill-fated CBS news fiasco.

As for the GOP they've cashed in all their chips and favors and managed to alienate a good chunk of their own party to get Bush re-elected. I predict that whether they win or not the party will implode. You can rule through fear or rule through earned respect and party who rules by fear and intimidation has no true friends, only flags of convenience.
posted by Skygazer at 8:36 AM on October 23, 2004

Skygazer - It's even a staple on Public Radio : the myth that, when one side serves up 99.9 % pure lies with relish and slathered with an excellent rhetorical mustard which hides the rotting meat underneath, that being "evenhanded" is somehow justified.

Things have changed : FOX is the least of the propagandistic organs shrieking out propagandistic garbage - tens of millions of Americans watch little else than the 700 Club and related religious programming and - until the left somehow builds an entirely new media, complete with broadcast satellites and cable networks, and until Public Radio and the major networks pull their complicit heads out of the right's collective ass, we're sunk.

Unless those who recognize what is going on realize the stakes : leave the country soon, or FIGHT these trends.

One thing to realize though - to leave, though that might make personal sense - won't entirely work in the long run, and the problems you run from here will eventually catch up with you, one way or the other.

Remember - Germany was NOT the most powerful nation on the planet in 1939, and the axis - in WW2 - was ground down more through attrition than anything else.

But the US has a whole hell of a lot of military heft and throw weight right now.

Think about it, everybody, before you make that decision.

Can you run far enough away ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:26 AM on October 23, 2004

JollyWanker: They flat out lie, without impunity - and, if the polls are correct, something slightly more than half of my fellow citizens believe them and are willing to vote to allow them to continue.

That was well written and I hope you've articulated what most Americans should be feeling right now. I know it's the way I feel. But it's amazing that, half of our fellow citizens buy into this horseshit. I hear it all the time, that same sentiment, spoken with incredulity from people. How can this be? I honestly think it's the course of all empires that grow stagnant. It might seem like running away is the only sane way to cope with it, but I'm afraid it simply might be human nature and I don't know how to run away from that. We've coasted so long on the assumption that this nation stands for freedom and justice for all and good that I think those ideals have become hollow and taken for granted. You can travel to any country in the E.U. and find these same principles revered and respected. Even more so as they don't seem to have the residue of a puritan heritage to deal with. If we're no longer at the forefront of these ideals and they've been so successfully appropriated worldwide that we're lagging then it makes me think that this country is at a dangerous juncture of obsolescence. Seems that during the course of the last half century, the powers that be decided we as a nation had achieved perfection and so we could quit striving towards a better more just country for all (except the rich) and that was deeply damaging. Freedom and justice is like love, it either keeps growing or it dies. And it's like a rot, like the sort of unseeable corruption and rot that comes from the blindness caused by absolute power and privilege. There's really nowhere to run from that, as an an American you and I have the power to work from the inside to change things. Whether Bush loses or not Americans have to redouble their efforts.
posted by Skygazer at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2004

One thing to realize though - to leave, though that might make personal sense - won't entirely work in the long run, and the problems you run from here will eventually catch up with you, one way or the other. [...] Can you run far enough away?

I don't know - how far are you thinking I'm going to have to run, simply to not be an American any more? I think I'm making the informed decision not to continue living in a society that's decided that it wants some kind of theocratic, empire-mad, conscience-less government. I have no idea how old you are, troutfishing, but the arguments you posit above are the political ideals of a very, very young person. I'm not young, and I'm feeling older every day we get closer to November 2nd. As I said, very specifically, I view this as a referendum, not an election; my perspective is that to move forward down this path is to commit to the path utterly. If you do not stop those who would build this American Theocratic Empire now, I am very sure you won't stop them any time soon. We've been telling them - by electing them over and over - since 1980 that we're behind them on this.

Consider how Bush was made President in the first place. Arguably it was legal, if the Supremes say it is - but it was absolutely unfair, unethical and, to all appearances, just un-American. Given the shady nature of its birth, you'd think that Adminstration would go out of its way to appear fair and ethical and American - not adjectives any clearheaded person would use to describe them. Despite all that, the election race is too close to call. Doesn't that tell you that some large part of the American population - if not a clear majority - think how Bush was annointed President and how BushCo has operated since then is perfectly fine?

And with all due respect, Skygazer, no, I do not believe there's any amount of "staying to fight the good fight" that's going to change that, or I wouldn't be talking seriously about leaving if they win. I'm no Arek Bardwin, threatening to move to Canada every time a Senate race doesn't go my way; I'm an American, born in Texas of all places, I carry an American passport and I've never lived permanently outside the United States. I simply don't want to be a part of a culture that wants to be like the America of George W. Bush and Pat Robertson. I don't want to live in a "Christian" America, nor an America that's the seat of an empire, nor an America whose entire political and cultural life seems to be defined by how low and vulgar you're able to stoop.

I look at it this way. I'm in mid early forties now. I'll live another thirty five or forty years. It will take at least that long for the American Theocratic Empire - or, whatever it styles itself as - to completely secure the American government, spend some dozens of years in a "Cold War II" with Western Europe as the "Evil Empire" and become entrenched enough and self-deluded enough to finally believe they can take on Western Europe and win.

In those forty or so years, the American Theocratic Empire will surely wreak havoc on the rest of the world, perhaps most sadly on their own soil; Israel will most likely be, quite literally, wiped off the face of the earth by some non-state terrorist organization with nuclear devices purchased from Pakistan or North Korea; travel to areas and countries outside of one's own home jurisdiction will probably become extraordinarily difficult; and I will pass away, after going about my business and my life in London, or Paris, or Barcelona - cities that survived the passing of a first Holy Empire and will probably survive this impending second one. I will have had nothing to do with what happens to Americans, because they will have decided for themselves that this is the America they want, while I wanted a different America, the America we read about in books in grammar school and that people like troutfishing, apparently, believe is easily reclaimable even after Empire has begun. So, you tell me: how far do I need to run?

But hey, it's not over yet. My side may yet pull out a victory Tuesday a week. If they do, I will be here to do whatever I can to ensure that America works, and is perpetuated, and that the nascent American Theocractic Empire is buried and cannot be easily exhumed.
posted by JollyWanker at 12:08 PM on October 23, 2004

JollyWanker -- that was inspiring. Thank you.

I hope it's not too late. I'm a few years a head of you, but have a young child and I desperately want to make sure that he grows up in in some version - however fucked up or imperfect - of a free democracy.

It goes way beyond being a Democrat or a Republican - or at least, what the Republican party used to represent. We need to get the word out. I've really made an effort (not easy for an introvert) to talk to people about these issues. I've had some success, convincing (I think) four undecided Florida voters to go for Kerry. Well, one was my mom, but still...

We need to get the word out there. The internets are great, but there are LOT of people that either don't have access, or (sad to say) lack the time, ability or inclination to read anything critically. These people are not stupid, they're not uncaring, but the neocons have learned to serve up their cheese in convenient, easily consumed packages. It's a lot less work to adopt a pre-packaged opininon instead of cooking up your own.

Americans used to be pretty damn good at detecting bullshit, I'm optimistic that that this ability will resurface before too much longer.
posted by groundhog at 1:26 PM on October 23, 2004

JollyWanker - I'll have to reread that comment ( it was more than a "comment", still.... ) of yours tomorrow -

Yes, I know the stakes: I was thinking ahead to an imagined end game.

The other route you decribe demands an utter discipline of a rapidly vanishing knowledge. I may go that route.

The times frames in question are very uncertain : maybe tomorrow, maybe twenty years.

We all roll the dice.
posted by troutfishing at 8:26 PM on October 23, 2004

very well said.

This may help when talking to others--The Election Made Simple
posted by amberglow at 8:45 PM on October 23, 2004

JollyWanker, thanks for articulating so well what I feel about America right now, particularly your shock and disdain for what the "average American" appears to applaud.

I'm an American, born and raised in Northern California. My partner and I were living in Thailand when the 2000 campaign went to the Supreme Court. I have to say that it looked really fishy from overseas. Much worse than it must have looked for those plugged-in to the American media matrix.

Here's something I recommend for every American: spend half a year or more outside of America, as far away as possible. And while you're there, don't rely on the same news sources you did back home. Watch the local news, if you can; read the local English papers. Unplug from the American media respirator and breathe a little fresh air. You're get a perspective that you never would have imagined.

During 2002-3, I lived in the US, and now I'm living in Vietnam. I'm not exaggerating when I say that being in America now is like being at a party where everyone is wearing headphones. The influence of the media is so strong and so pervasive that it becomes invisible, except that the behavior of the people influenced by it is totally whack.

I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a fellow expatriate (our numbers are climbing, and there's room for more) in Chiang Mai. He said what I have heard a lot since 9-11: "I can't stand being in America now. There is a fog of paranoia and vengeful self-interest that is so pervasive that it colors all thought. In such an environment, no one is capable of truly independent thought. Even liberals have been sucked into this one way of thinking of things as framed by the designers of this farce of a war."

You're right that November 2 is a referendum, JW. Either the people are going to stand up and say "no more," or "yee haw, praise the lord and pass the ammo." If the people ask for more, or don't revolt when more is thrust upon them, then America is no place I want to be.
posted by squirrel at 11:59 PM on October 23, 2004

Well, if were talking about historical context, dhoyt does have a point. For decades the Democratic party was (especially on the local level, and in the Northeast) the party of corrupt ward heelers and blatant patronage. And, in historical context this could account for gradual rightward shift. And those people who shifted gradually rightward raised their kids with those beliefs, too. Other issues that the Dems of the 70's were weak (or percieved as weak on) like crime (which peaked in the mid-70's) were partly responsible for the shift, too

Mind you, I'm not saying that there's comprable wrong doings between the two parties now, just adding some context.

Now, I don't like the current administration and I'll be voting against it. But "American Theocratic Empire" aside, it's not simply a fundies vs. liberals thing going on here. The fundies aren't half the us population for one thing. Alot of people I think are merely confused and overwhelmed by political information, is one theory I have correct or not. They're also scared post 9-11/madrid/fallujah/beslan, so the whole "islamofascist" thing can't completely be dismissed no matter how cynically the Bushites have exploited it.

Now the above is not and argument for Bush, just an attempt to explicate some ideas I have. Although I have a feeling it won't be taken that way.
posted by jonmc at 8:19 AM on October 24, 2004

jonmc - well, sure. But today, Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation, while the highest rates of divorce are concentrated in the Bible Belt - which, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is where the densest clusters of hate groups in the US are.

A good deal of the rightward shift, though, was not so much organic as it was was engineered - by televangelists, PR groups, and so on.


As a psychological principle, try this on for size :

You become what you associate with (or hang around).

After decades or railing against the perceived "moral relativism" of the left (in reality there are vanishingly few true moral relativists in the world) I believe the religious right in America came to absorb what it perceived as the ethical practices of that moral relativism that it inveighed against with such vitriol.

After decades of preaching the hatred of Liberalism and "Secular Humanism" (another overblown threat of a largely mythical creature), I feel that many on the religious right have become hateful.

squirrel - fear is the mother of violence.
posted by troutfishing at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2004

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