Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whiny Republicans and Their Fantasies of Martyrdom

What is it about the current crop of Republicans, that they continue to whine and cry about how put-upon and victimized they are, even as they consolidate their power in the halls of government and the corporate media outlets? After all, they run virtually everything these days -- the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, most major corporations and the majority of news organizations. Is it that they must keep up the appearance of being the underdog to continue to generate sympathy from the red-staters, the mouth-breathers, the folks who just can't be bothered to pay too much attention to realize that they've been voting against their own best interests for years now? The canard about a so-called "liberal media" is easily disproven, and would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that so many Republicans and even moderates and apolitical people seem to believe in it whole-heartedly. The concerted effort to demonize and marginalize anyone claiming the title "liberal" or "progressive" or even "Democrat" has worked so well that it has left many voters feeling that they have no choice but to vote for the Republicans even when they can see that they aren't truly representing them and their interests, because they fear the amorphous and not very well-defined presence of "liberal oppressors" more than they fear the very real incompetence and demonstrated disregard of the Republicans they keep electing.

In Crawford, where our "disassembling" Preznit rails on about the noble and ever-shifting cause that Cindy Sheehan's son Casey supposedly died for, the backlash against Cindy from these poor 101st Fighting Keyboardists grows daily. How dare she try to confront our Preznit, they scream. She met with him once already! Let it go! She's just a tool of the left, someone being manipulated by a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy for their own treasonous ends. They are attempting to portray our Moron in Chief as somehow being a victim of this poor woman and her hordes of protesters. Unbelievable.

(Funny how they raise such a hue and cry against Ms. Sheehan being used as a "tool of the left," yet many of those same people were more than happy to jump on the Terri Schiavo bandwagon when their own right-wing darlings were using her tragic case to promote their own agenda. Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.)

Another current example of how they play the victim card is this ridiculous comic book (and many thanks to Eric the DiscoBoy for the link), described thusly in the breathless opening paragraph of the website about it:

It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City... And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations-dominated ultra-liberalism.

Jeee-zus. Spare me the strawman scenarios, the histrionics about traitorous liberals and the faux-heroics of the mighty chickenhawk heroes of the right. This is pure and simply a load of unadulterated crap, with no grounding in reality whatsoever. As such, it will probably hold broad appeal to those mouth-breathers and know-nothings mentioned above. They like their ideology simple, their sound-bites short and punchy and their world views all in black and white.

It reminds me of a time, a few years back, when I was helping out a friend by sitting in on a panel judging short films for the unfortunately now-defunct Taos Talking Film Festival. There were about eight or ten of us, and we would spend a day or two each year viewing dozens of entries to the festival, mostly short fictional films, animations and documentaries from all over the world, then giving our recommendations to the folks who made the ultimate selections. One film that we watched still stands out for its political slant, despite the poor production values, the stilted dialogue and bad acting, simply because it was so over the top. The basic premise was similar to the one posited in the comic book above -- "liberals" had taken over America and turned it into a nightmare state of oppression, and most, if not all, of the current freedoms that we as Americans now enjoy had been severely curtailed. There was the sound of black helicopters overhead throughout this overwrought piece of right-wing agitprop, voice-overs from the radios and TVs in the film intoned about current events such as Rush Limbaugh being captured and put to death (hmmm...), Congress mandating abortions for all girls under 14, all that sort of ludicrous bullshit that so many Republicans seem to believe will happen if they ever lose the majority in DC; and the plot -- what there was of it -- had to do with some conservative freedom fighter meeting clandestinely with a series of people trying to get a load of contraband into the hands of one of his compatriots. The end of the film revealed that the forbidden substance he was so desperately trying to pass along was... cigarettes! In this right-wing vision of an America taken over by lefties, tobacco had been effectively banned, and was only available through the efforts of brave and dangerous black marketeers. The message of the film was apparently "God damn those wrong-headed PC liberals for taking away our rights and our smokes! We must rise up as one to prevent this from happening!"

The irony of depicting tobacco as contraband in a liberally-controlled US compared with the very real prohibitions on marijuana under the current War on Drugs (which, to be fair, plenty of Democratic politicans support as well, not to their credit) was obviously lost on the film-makers. That particular piece was made before 9/11 and the Patriot Act, so the comparison of Americans losing many of their civil liberties in the film versus what has already happened in reality in the past five years wasn't able to be made; however, in retrospect, it seems obvious that it has been the Republicans who have been most instrumental in turning this country into a fascist (and leaning more and more towards the theocratic) police state than any Democrats to the left of Joe Lieberman would ever have dreamed of doing. But the overriding theme of the movie -- just like the comic book -- the fiction of right-wingers as some sort of oppressed minority in this country, continues unabated to this day.

I think Tom Tomorrow may have put it best when he said, "The only thing Republicans like to whine about more than the politics of victimization is about how victimized they are."

Don't you feel sorry for them?
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