Golly, where to begin with this one? Foreign or domestic? Ethnic or bizarre? Anti-Bush, anti-bigot or anti-insanity?
Yes — actually I am talking about totally separate things here.
1. Will Rogers is Not Worthy of Emulation
Okay, let’s start with something Bush once wondered why he should even be concerned about. North Korea has said it’ll back off on the nukes … if there’s a return to a Clinton-era agreement wherein the nation is delivered half a million tons of heavy fuel oil per year and relations with Washington are normalized. Also, they want some accounts unfrozen and assistance in developing civilian nuke plants for power production.
What’s the problem with that? Simply this: In Bush’s eyes, this would be two steps backward. For starters it’s essentially a reinstatement of his hated predecessor’s approach to North Korea — which would validate Clinton’s policy and show Il Duce’s to be the incompetent fumbling that it is — but worse, since the account funds in question were frozen to control counterfeiting (again, under Clinton), a partial reinstatement of accounts identified as valid would actually leave Bush in a weaker position, at least according to his tiny little cowboy brain.
What does Bush want? I’m pretty sire I can guess. Total disarmament, no accounts unfrozen, and no fuel delivered — and only then will Washington reopen its doors to North Korea, after which the light-water reactor projects can start up once more.
But the problem is that this simply will not work. The Textard is suffering from the delusion that compromise means I remain totally stubborn and refuse to budge until you begin to see it my way. Well, since he’s such a pigheaded nitwit, it should be obvious to him that people such as Kim or Ahmadinejad won’t accept that kind of approach any more than he would. That North Korea has even offered to back down a bit suggests they’re willing to go further, as long as they can save face and get a few things that, frankly, they probably need quite desperately.
The era of the ignorant, uninformed cowboy is well past, which is what makes it so damned frustrating that we’ve got one in the White House now. Anyone want to place bets on how Il Duce will handle this one?
2. Hoods in the ‘Hood
Second up is a delightful from CNN. Klan membership is on the rise again, this time fueled by bleating about illegal immigrants (yes, Pat Buchanan, I’m looking at you). Over the last couple of years some highly irrational claims have been made about border issues (I’m still looking at you, Pat), such as the suggestion that there will be 100 million Mexican immigrants in the US by 2050 — one assumes illegally — followed by the kind of knowing nod or gravid silence that doesn’t say anything outright, but clearly suggests: And they’ll all be taking drugs, fucking our twelve-year-olds and having abortions while burglarizing our houses, murdering our white men and stealing our cars to the thumping beat of Salsa.
So the response, in addition to the hateful “Minutemen“, is to go one step further and don the sheets and hoods. The saddest, most wrenching part is that hate groups such as the Klan, Skinheads and other such filth were on the way out in the ’90s; membership was declining and they were beginning the long-deserved slide into obscurity. With doddering wretches such as Strom Thurmond dead at last, and asshats such as Trent Lott properly shamed, things were looking okay.
And then jerkwads like Buchanan got a platform as an “MSNBC Political Analyst” — and gained legitimacy — and began spreading xenophobia once more.
Scapegoating is not new; it’s as old as our species, as old as the first two tribes of humans having to figure out how to survive on one patch of land. It wasn’t simply exploited by Hitler; pretty much all warfare engaged in by humans throughout our history can be seen to be rooted in scapegoating. Since those guys over there worship a bronze dog instead of a golden moose, they’re the reason the crops have failed and the deer all have the mange, so let’s go and kill them.
And hey, since the US economy is in the shithole, maybe we should tell the Mexicans to leave.
Same logic. Same application. Same real-world utility.
The difference is that when there is a progressive, open and — dare I say it — liberal voice in the Bully Pulpit, morons like Buchanan keep a respectful silence. The creatures who practice bigotry, and the toadies who harken to it, are shamed into the darkness where they deserve to live. But when you have a belligerent, hateful administration that foments fear and anger, you can damn well expect the demagogues to lurch out from under their flat stones to try to overcome the sensibilities of what is, at its heart, a genuinely liberal population.
They do it by spreading fear of corruption by alien culture, fear of insemination of white girls by alien men, and are too often facilitated by the preaching of various texts from the Bible. (There isn’t a practice that exists in the world of men that isn’t commented upon — both for good and ill — in some passage or other of the Bible, which is just one thing that makes it useless as a reference for morality.)
The way to stop it? Simple. Tell the bigots they should be ashamed of themselves. Sometimes it works so well that major candy bar manufacturers actually change their ad campaigns. (H/T Pam.)
3. There Are No Gays; There Are Only Sinners
Finally, Ted Haggard — the meth-snorting man-buggering anti-gay megachurch minister — has announced his total cure from homosexuality. While this alone would probably be miraculous, what’s even more astonishing is the time it took. In a mere three weeks he went from smoking man-pole to biscuit-diving, or so the story goes. And the “counselors” who have “helped” him actually seem to believe this.
Okay. I don’t think we can say we’re born with any orientation per se, any more than we’re born with a given language. We’re wired for sex, and general biology will skew us heterosexual at least some of the time, but I don’t think there’s what could be called a switch or mechanism for heterosexual (or gay) — any more than there is a switch for English as opposed to French or Cantonese. You have what you’re immersed in, but the beauty of it is that you can always learn new things to do with your tongue if you want to. (Just like with language.)
So is Haggard gay? Maybe and maybe not — but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s not straight. He might have done a quick reconditioning of himself to like nooky, but I am certain beyond any doubt that eventually he’s going to want to get back to trysts with men.
There’s no problem with that (or there wouldn’t be if he weren’t married) — but Haggard, the poor bastard, thinks there is, which will lead to another cycle of denial, self-loathing, tearful confessions and all the other shit we’re continually subjected to when one of these hypocritical dipwads involuntarily unclosets himself.
What Haggard needs is not to pray the gay away. What he needs is for someone to come and open his mind a little, show him that just because he thinks something is so doesn’t mean it is, and show him that there’s a much vaster world out there than his little Bible can possibly reveal to him, written as it was several thousand years ago by utterly prescientific tribespeople to whom iron was entirely unknown.
To center one’s life so fully around nothing but hearsay accounts and the ravings of madmen is to prepare the way for one’s own damnation, right here on Earth. Ted’s not cured, and his long, long night isn’t over.