Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Where's the Beef?

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
Dr. Seuss. Mr. Potato Head. Rigged elections. Cannibal pedophile Satan worshipers. Vice President Kamala Harris' book. Meat rations.
   You don't need to be a Poli Sci major, a very dedicated news aggregator or even a consumer of it to know what the above "topics" are- They're every right wing conspiracy theory that's gained traction since the 2020 election. And that's precisely what they are- Conspiracy theories that don't even rise to the level of hood ornament issues.
    Those at least are issues that mean a great deal to at least one side, such as gay marriage, transgender rights, Native American land sovereignty, the minimum wage or 1000 other things. At least hood ornament issues involve those that actually exist and are of importance, especially to those who are on the right side of those issues.
     But no "woke corporation" took away Dr. Seuss. The 2020 election was not rigged and was, in fact, according to Chris Krebs, the most secure one in history. Hillary Clinton is not a satanic pedophile cannibal either in or out of a pizzeria. And, no, President Biden isn't going to ration meat to four pounds a year (and how the government could enforce that is anyone's guess).
     If we lived in a reasonable country, with actual, sane people that held legitimate political beliefs on either side of the spectrum and in between, these things wouldn't need to be said, much less denied. But we don't live in a universally reasonable nation, much less a world. Instead, we live in one in which major figures of a major political party subscribe to conspiracy theories. It's easy to draw an unbroken line between the lunatic fringe of the Tea Party that 11 years ago were screaming about death panels to those who'd stormed the Capitol on January 6th or not so silently cheered on those who had.
     To those official conspiracy theorists in government, this is  just an ongoing cynical ploy to fundraise. Trump did it, Marjorie Taylor-Greene did it, Ted Cruz is doing it, Matt Gaetz is doing it. With the exception of MTG, we can be reasonably sure none of them believe half the shit they trowel out on a daily basis. To a party completely apathetic to charges of hypocrisy and completely blind to optics no matter how horrible, it doesn't matter what they believe. All that matters is that those goobers on the receiving end of those panicky, sweaty fundraising emails believe in the conspiracy theory of the month long enough to write out a check before they go back to worrying about liberals they refuse to elect taking their money.

A Little Objectivity, Please?
Perhaps if more of us stepped back a bit and appraised the right wing for what it is, we'd come away with the same conclusions the rest of us had: That the most radical faction of the right wing comes off looking like a bunch of screaming, pin-headed, thick-necked morons screaming for red meat and more guns that the president isn't trying to take away. Can Carl's Jr. and energy drinks be far behind?
     Unfair, grossly exaggerated caricature? Perhaps, perhaps not but then again so are the conspiracy theories that are no longer the domain of UHF, local cable access channels and pirate radio. It's the bread and butter of multi billion dollar right wing media corporations such as Sinclair, the ironically-named Clear Channel and Rupert Murdoch's News Corps. It's what brings out the parishioners in Republican Party fund raising emails and mailers screaming about the homosexual agenda or the latest "proof" of Joe Biden's Socialism.
     And now it's threatening to subsume the establishment GOP to the point where party insiders fear that Marjorie Taylor-Greene will be the pin-headed, thick-necked face of the GOP by 2022. And if she isn't enough to worry about, there's Amanda Chase running for Governor in Virginia (she's the top GOP contender for Ralph Northam's seat),
     Chase once, ironically, accused Democrats of treason and recently had a suit tossed out that her own party's nomination rules for picking gubernatorial candidates was illegal under coronavirus regulations (marking perhaps the first time a Republican has gone on record as supporting such a thing). And if that wasn't enough to establish her far right wing bona fides, she's also been traveling around with armed escorts comprised of Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. Because, you know, you can't be too sure about them antifa ninja assassins.
     At best, these liars and professional conspiracy theorists are hucksters who cynically milk the right wing rubes who listen to them with slack-jawed devotion. Or they're morally-supine ineffectual "leaders" like Kevin McCarthy, who, as the rioters were breaching the Capitol Building, abandoned Republican Congressman Bruce Westerman in his inner office to leave him to fend for himself in his toilet clutching a toy sword while McCarthy's security detail hustled him to safety.
     Republicans look silly to the rest of us in the reality-based community as we watch them try to fend off illegal voters, zombie voters and multiple voters, antifa rioters and meat rations even as the real threats swarm around them (Maybe Bruce Westerman can tell you all about that, maybe not). And now the adults have taken back control and, thus far, Republicans haven't given us on reason to give control back to them.


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