Midterm Elections U.S. Style: Get Out the Hate
By Kit-Bacon GressittThere is nothing like a midterm election to reveal our putrid political underbelly. It is a dark, stinky place where paranoia, distrust, disaffection and outright deceit are reduced to hatred in a cauldron fired by fear and boiling over in a miasmic wave of bigotry.
Throw in a recession and all its attendant terrors, and what do you get?
“Double, double toil and trouble” from a bunch of — well, to be kind, let’s call them “witches,” and they are dishing misogyny, homophobia, racism, Islamaphobia and your everyday fear mongering, while they await the party that would be king.
And the lowly peasants, what do we do? Do we stand idly by, lackadaisically poking pitchforks at those we’ve been told are monsters? Pretty much, a lot of us do, but let’s take a closer look.
Pick your favorite monster and respond.
Strong women in the political arena? What would you do?
1. Call her a whore for snagging a coveted endorsement. 2. Call her a whore for simply serving in public office with chestal hangings. 3. Push her to the ground and stomp on her head, then demand her apology. 4. Take a swing at her. 5. Admit you’re a misogynistic troglodyte and stay home until you’ve read the entire Domestic Violence Awareness Project website.Homosexuals claiming equal rights? What would you do?
1. Resort to the abomination theory. 2. Promote the disenchanted gay voting bloc theory, that slow progress will keep gays from the polls, thereby undermining further progress, à la Sharron Angle (see below). 3. Tell straight-and-narrow folks homophobia is A-OK — because Brian Brown says so. 4. Post a Facebook rant, encouraging gay suicides. 5. Admit your sins, beg forgiveness, then lighten up and have a gay old time.Brown immigrants turning your day gray? What would you do?
1. Run an ad à la Sharron Angle that attempts to disenfranchise Latino voters by discouraging them from voting. 2. Run ads filled with threatening Latino faces and claim they aren’t racist. 3. Tell Latino high school students that you can’t distinguish Latinos, because some of them actually look Asian. 4. Declare undocumented immigrants are rapists. 5. Admit you’re a bigot and stay out of politics.
Deluded into believing all Muslims are terrorists? What would you do?
1. Redefine “Arab” as a slur and sling it at a campaign opponent. 2. Redefine “Muslim” as a slur and sling it at a campaign opponent. 3. Spread your irrational fear by announcing that every time you see someone in Muslim garb it gives you the creepers, even though you know it shouldn’t. 4. Tell your supporters Sharia (Islamic religious law) is creeping into U.S. cities. 5. Remember Timothy McVeigh, read some Tea Party Patriots comments, and admit to the enemy within.So, how’d you do?
There are, of course, no right answers. But, then, what is the answer?
What do you suppose it is that renders such behaviors acceptable in our political discourse? It’s dismaying to think that our economic woes, September 11, and all the other crises we’ve borne in the last few decades might have turned us into a nation of loathsome, Bubbafied bigots. Have we transformed the welcoming arms of Liberty into xenophobic fists? Home of the brave to home of the bully? Land of the free to land of the terrified? Are our huddled masses yearning to take out their miseries on the lesser fellow?
A friend signed off a recent email with, “Hate fills the air. Best regards–," and I wonder: Which candidates are best equipped to fill the air with love?
Crossposted at the OB Rag.