Monday, July 28, 2008

Bigotry, Cowardice and Selfishness: The Hallmarks of Contemporary Conservatism

We've known for some time that Dick Cheney is a pretty creepy guy. Today the New York Daily News reveals that Cheney will not give a speech unless all participants have been quarantined for at least two hours beforehand. Apparently, it doesn't matter that the speech is being given before a group of disabled war veterans, Cheney's fear of assassination prevails and the same quarantine directive is issued. Personally, I find this level of fear creepy in much the same way I find Michael Jackson's germ phobia creepy. But it is also distasteful that a man who urges savage, preemptive war on a host of non-belligerent countries and who is one of this nation's most high ranking proponents of interrogation under torture should take such extreme steps to guarantee his own personal safety. One of the great unnoticed hallmarks of the noe-conservative movement in this country is that it is largely built on cowardice. The notion that we must sacrifice our values, our personal freedoms and our nation's noblest traditions to ensure that no harm ever come to any American on the home-front is, in my view, a sign of simple cowardice. Ordinary citizens send other people's sons off to die for them, yet refuse to sacrifice even the slightest degree of personal security to ensure that our nation lives up to its promises of liberty and respect for the rights of man. Which brings me to:

Bigotry, Cowardice and Selfishness are the keystones of the modern conservative movenet.

Bigotry: because conservatives have a long history of demonizing minorities of all stripes (whether it be racial minorities, religious minorities or sexual minorities) to drive their supporters to the polls. Witness the host of voter initiatives aimed at enshrining discrimination against gays and lesbians in state constitutions during the last presidential cycle. And it's not as if there is anything underhanded in these tactics. Karl Rove brazenly announced that this was going to be the Republican strategy long before those elections took place.

Cowardice: because conservatives exploit their supporters' fears in order to consolidate power and undermine the guarantees of liberty that are enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Is there a man among their "base" who would sooner die on his feet than live on his knees? Doubtful.

Selfishness: because conservatives shower the top one percent with massive tax cuts by throwing a few bones off their banquet table for the peons to gnaw on. In the meantime the federal debt grows by shocking leaps and bounds. Has it ocurred to any of these people that their children will be left to clean up after the party? Do they even care? ...and don't get me started on the environment.

It's clear that Dick Cheney embodies all these qualities. The man who skipped serving his country in Vietnam because he had "other priorities," who has made millions for himself in corporate America while pushing for irresponsible tax cuts that would net him even more, the father of a lesbian child who stood firm with his party even as it demonized people like his daughter to stay in power is also the man who insists that disabled veterans be locked up in a room for two hours before he will deign to address them, as a precaution against potential threats to his personal safety.

Dick Cheney: he's the ugly face of the modern Republican perty.

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