One might be forgiven if they are baffled by the way in which the Right embraces the wrong side of history. What person would be proud of the fact that history would record that they were a racial bigot, someone who subsidized the rich and crush the impoverished, and fabricated rationales in order to send thousands to die in a needless war? It is astonishing fact that there are plenty of people like this here in America.
Of course, there are variations in the level of common sense and credibility. Take for instance Donald Trump; the good thing is that he doesn’t hold public office, and thus isn’t as dangerous as, say, Michele Bachmann. Another politician who seems intent on out-doing her colleagues in exposing the ass-end of history is the blonde, blue-eyed demi-fascist and social conservative Marsha Blackburn—who happens to be a representative from the state of Tennessee, where there is no shame in ignorance.
Blackburn is one of the original “birthers,” and so naturally she has to reinvent herself as a “skeeter.” This is in regard to the latest “controversy” surrounding Barack Obama—his claim, in response to gun control legislation, that he often skeet shoots. I doubt this is true, but on the other hand, I doubt he would have made this claim if he had never skeet shoot before; he probably did in on a whim once, or twice. It’s not a big deal to me or most people if this is the case, and to turn this into a focal point for ideological battle merely shows to what lengths extremists on the right desperate for an “edge” will go to. As I heard someone on the radio say, at least Obama didn’t shoot someone flush in the face with buckshot—like Dick Cheney did. I mean, where do these people get their sense of “balance” anyways? Fox News?
Blackburn—who has drawn derision for her claim that the do-nothing (except start unpaid wars) Republican Party is the party of “big ideas”—has had frequent run-ins with Democrats on television news shows, angering her counterparts and questioners by perpetually veering off-topic or making claims that have no basis in reality; this probably explains why the far-right American Conservative Union annually gives her a “100 percent” rating. The ACU happens to sponsor something called the Conservative Political Action Conference, whose “big tent” has room not just for paleo-conservatives like Blackburn, but for speakers and sponsorship from hate groups and otherwise extremist organizations like VDARE and the John Birch Society.
Although Blackburn is one of the more extreme of the current crop of Republicans in Congress—frequently referring to Obama in borderline racist terms, no doubt emanating from racist inclinations—this is only enough to rate her a 60 percent by the Birchers. But not to worry; that is the “average” score that the JBS gives to Republicans, especially those who don’t (publicly) support the things that are near and dear to a Bircher’s heart—like the complete abolition of civil rights safeguards, voting rights, Social Security, Medicare and other things that are not explicitly mentioned in the original draft of the Constitution. Most Democrats rate so low that Birchers don’t even bother with them.
It is an unfortunate fact in our low-information news media world that people have heard of the John Birch Society, but have no clue what the society stands for; in fact, most people probably think that it is just some harmless gathering of old farts. That must have been the case the day some years ago that I walked into the “old” Kent Public Library, when they used to have a glass enclosure in the lobby in which local organizations could post displays. On this particular day I noticed that there was a new display, which was something about being a “patriot” and opposing the multicultural threat to America; there were pictures of “nice,” fair-skinned Caucasian families to demonstrate the “point.” I found this somewhat ironic, because most of the clientele of the library were minorities, probably because they didn’t have as much access to computers and the Internet as the white folks in those pictures did.
I noticed something else about that display: It was sponsored by the John Birch Society. To say I was appalled was too slight a word. The audacity of the group was beyond belief, if the patrons of the library were actually aware of its beliefs; but it is a testament of how the extreme-right has gone “mainstream”—or how the media had allowed so many people in this country to be so ill-informed. The “ultraconservative” Birchers—who actually claim to be “constitutionalists” but don’t believe it safeguards the rights of minorities or the poor—first gained infamy with their claim that the politically moderate Dwight Eisenhower was a communist agent, and that the fluoridation of water was a communist plot (a conspiracy theory lampooned in Dr. Strangelove); during the 1960s, their hyper-opposition to civil and voting rights legislation made them as popular as the Ku Klux Klan in the Southland.
Environmentalism and the UN’s “Agenda 21” initiative on “sustainable” growth is also a frequent target of the JBS, which fits in the organization’s prime directive to discover the communist “bogeymen” and other threats to the White American Way in every dark corner; the problem is that these mainly exist in the dark corners of their own minds. Not surprisingly, anyone who is not of European origin is particularly concerning to them, since they are for some reason associated with “communism” and “socialism.” To the Birchers, nonwhites threaten to “destroy” their anachronistic vision of what America is. It is ironic, then, that there is a tendency to ignore the fact that “socialism” in some form or another (like universal health care) is a concept European in origin, and most countries employ some facet of it.
Anyways, I immediately went to the front desk and demanded to know who allowed that display, and asked if they were aware that the JBS was a fascist, white supremacist organization; I received the impression that they were surprised that someone could have such strong feelings about this. I didn’t stop there; I wrote an email to the King County Library expressing my outrage. When I returned a few days, the display was gone. But the Birchers had their “say,” even if hardly anyone paid any heed to its “message.”
And the Birchers and all the right-wing money that backs them has an ally in the Blackburn, who believes in “free speech”—which is why she is calling for “21st Century” regulations to Internet, meaning that she opposes “net neutrality” and equal access and distribution of content on the Internet, which to the Right is little differentiated from the old “Fairness Doctrine." You can’t just let those “liberal” bloggers say anything they want, like facts and such. All this means, of course, is that it is OK to regulate people, but not corporations. But are not corporations “people”? Oh, never mind. This is all of course done in the name of corporate “competitiveness,” since businesses who run the “free” Internet must be able to control its content and who has access regardless if the access has been paid for. The question then is who is allowed “in.” The fanatical fringe that visits right-wing favorites like the neo-Nazi website Stormfront?
We can’t allow such an imbalance of access and opinion in a country where the top 20 percent own 90 percent of the wealth; it is only the “free” access to the Internet that is keeping anything close to a balance in the struggle to be heard in this country. People like Blackburn who psychologically are still living in the days of plantations and slavery do not exist in a vacuum, and having a standing at all with the John Birch Society (it should be a point of shame for anyone who “achieves” a higher than 10 percent rating from the Birchers) testifies to the fact that too many members of Congress are ideologically tied to extreme groups backed with money from shadowy rich guys (oh yes, Blackburn also believes it is a “competitive advantage” for wealthy sponsors of right-wing propaganda Internet sites to conceal their identities). Someone has to expose them, even if the audience that needs to know is too busy doing other things—like being mere appendages to their “smart” phones, or watching the lives of the pathetic privileged on “reality” TV.