W. David Jenkins III writes, "There's been a lot of talk during this past year over the fact that those dastardly terrorists hate us because of our freedoms. They are 'jealous' we've been told. They hate us because of who we are. They hate us for the way we live, the way we think, the way we love and for the way we wish to raise our children. The people who hate us don't like our tolerant ways. The fact that we wish to accept all religions, lifestyles and political differences drives those who hate us up the wall. We've seen these people on TV. We watch them on an almost daily basis plot against us -- and all that America stands for -- and we feel our anger build. And as we watch and listen to these hateful people, the nagging question keeps rearing its ugly head: What makes the Right Wing hate us so much?"
Why Those Other Terrorists Hate Us
W. David Jenkins III
There's been a lot of talk during this past year over the fact that those dastardly terrorists hate us because of our freedoms.
They are "jealous" we've been told. They hate us because of who we are. They hate us for the way we live, the way we think, the way we love and for the way we wish to raise our children.
The people who hate us don't like our tolerant ways. The fact that we wish to accept all religions, lifestyles and political differences drives those who hate us up the wall.
We've seen these people on TV. We watch them on an almost daily basis plot against us -- and all that America stands for -- and we feel our anger build. And as we watch and listen to these hateful people, the nagging question keeps rearing its ugly head:
What makes the Right Wing hate us so much?
Oh, I can hear the local riff-raff howling already. But history has shown us that I'm not speaking out of turn. I'm not out of line. If you are a moderate Republican or a moderate, or a left-of-center, or a liberal, or anything left of that . . . the Right Wing despises you. You are not an American. You are un-patriotic. You are ignorant scum.
Just ask Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh or John Ashcroft.
You don't deserve to live here. If you don't love America why don't you just go back to Afghanistan or Iraq where you belong? That way we can bomb your backside all the way up to your neck so you have more brains than you ever had, thus helping you to realize that George W. Bush is God. What the hell is wrong with you? Don't you realize we're at war? Don't you realize that you have to hate in these times to preserve whatever freedom George and John feel you deserve?
Well, on behalf of the founding fathers, you Right Wing-nuts . . . get a flipping grip! You should be, but of course you won't, ashamed of yourselves.
First, let me just say that I don't hate conservatives. Oh, I can hear them now. Those crazy, ignorant locals and other yokels. "You lie, you lie, and you lie! Jenkins, all you ever do is blast the Right Wing! Bush won! He's the president, thank God! Get a life!"
To those people I say just "hush up." Just listen for once in your life. I have no problem with conservatism by definition. By definition, there's really nothing wrong with conservatism. They like to play it safe. Maintain the status quo. See, conservatism by definition should be the "watchdog." The gang that says "let's not get carried away." They're the folks who are supposed to be, by definition mind you, making sure that the books balance.
Unfortunately, the Right Wing perverted conservative in the same way they turned liberal into some kind of obscenity. Seems as though the Right Wing has a flair for perverting definition. (See "Christianity" and "Patriotism")
Look, it's okay to be a conservative. But if you venture into the world of the so-called conservative right wing, well, then it's time to turn off Fox and flip your radio to FM . . . and, oh yeah, seek treatment.
The only reason I feel this subject needs to be addressed is the fact that I hear a particular phrase more and more lately:
"I'm REALLY sorry I voted for Bush. I never thought he would be like this."
See, there are conservatives out there who feel betrayed by what Bush the Little is doing now just as much as there are Christians who are severely angry at monsters like the Reverend John Ashcroft for giving them a bad name.
There is this ugly, scurrilous bloc of America, with all the same rights of expression as you and I have, that seems to be in the driver's seat right now. Actually, these folks have been driving for quite some time. And they have a severe case of ideological "road rage." Why are these people so angry? Why is there so much hate in their words, masquerading as love of God and Family?
Consider these excerpts from various message boards and other quotations I keep running across. In their own words, complete with spelling errors:
"To all american's, Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of 911 as we all know. I am a firm believer in an eye for an eye. I think that we should treat every Rag Wearing freak here in the state's the way that they treat us. Blow The bastard's up."
"Why are we Americans content to sit back, smile and nod alot,ad say,"Oh,Gosh,it'd just a small prtion of those scoudrols,it woumt happed again.Islam is good. alla is good. sex offenders are good.We mus fae the DIxie 2000 at least three times a day, and bow, and give thanks to this man who takes in sex offenders, and teacheshem the bllod and guts truth of islam."
Charlton Heston surprised Michael Moore by speculating that gun-related deaths are more common in America than in other countries, including Canada, because "we have probably more mixed ethnicity" in the United States. [Orlando Sentinel - 9/9/02]
"Sorry,if any muslims were offended,but I,myself was beyond offended last 9/11. And have been WAY beyond offended ever since. We are bowing and scraping to these people,while they continue to terrorize us. God forbid,any muslim takes offense, while they take us over."
"Most of those [political scientists] are idiots who have never worked in a campaign. I'd like to put 'em all in a room and shoot 'em," Todd Harris, Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign spokesman, Tampa Tribune -- 8/29/02
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Ann Coulter, National Review Online - 9/12/01
"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen." Jerry Falwell on why the attacks of 9/11 happened, The 700 Club -- 9/13/01
These are just a very small sample of the thought processes of the extreme right which contain hatred, intolerance, racism, ignorance, and every other adjective that can be described by the founding fathers as "un-American." In these delicate and desperate times, this is a representation of the mind-set that guides this country.
There are many conservatives out there who are beginning to wake up and say, "Hey! Wait just a damn minute! This is not what we wanted! And, dammit George, this isn't who you said you were two years ago!"
The level of betrayal of this illegal administration has no boundaries. The Extreme Right-Wingers are in this game for themselves. Period. But why do they hate -- not only those of us left-of-center -- but those on the right who aren't foaming at the mouth when it comes to Saddam or campaign finance reform or gay rights or civil rights orÃ¢?Â¦.well, anything that could be construed as "civil."
Why do they hate?
My take on much of their behavior is that they never got over Nixon. I mean, talk about having your pants pulled down. Geez, it was bad enough that he opened up relations with those dastardly communists in China . . . but to end up being a paranoid and a subversive criminal? Damn, that had to hurt.
Fast forward to Bork. That nasty little man who had no business being nominated to the Supreme Court, let alone being confirmed.
Of course, this was way back when the Democrats in Congress had backbone. The far-right never got over that one and I really feel that that's when they declared "war" against the majority of Americans. Their ugly machine went into overdrive. And they worked it well. You really have to admire their organization. It was despicable but effective. And that Ugly Machine has been a threat to the very foundations of what this country stands for ever since.
Like a wounded animal with a huge bank account, the extremists on the right have maneuvered themselves into a corner. They don't seem to know that's where they are, but it doesn't make them any less dangerous. That's where they do their best work.
They perfected "smear politics" during the Bush I/ Dukakis campaign. Their list of victims is a long and shameful one, yet they wear it like a badge of pride while ignoring the transparent hypocrisy their actions shed light on. Well - exposure of their hypocrisy would be more widely recognized if the wimps in the media had any backbone. But that's another story.
You have to admire, while holding your nose of course, just how effective this poisonous machine is.
By all rights and logic, people like Oliver North and John Fund should be in jail, not offering opinions and running for office! The Supreme Court has a dangerous majority of right-wing ideologues thanks to the outrageous assault on Anita Hill. People like Newt Gingrich or commentator Armstrong Williams or Right-to-Lifer Randall Terry -- spewing feigned disgust over the death of "family values" because Bill Clinton had an affair - all the while were guilty of the same "crime."
Then there are the folks who still believe that Little George is president because the Electoral College worked. Sorry, Charlie, the Electoral College didn't work.
Some folks keep thinking that the rules belong to those on the right while the rules apply to the rest of us. The laws of the land don't have a chance when facing that dreaded machine of extremism. None of these issues or many others that are out there have been given the same kind of exposure as Gore's Internet remarks - which were also taken out of context. That's because the machine works.
But the question still nags at us. Behind the well organized right-wing machine is the fact that they really do hate us.
They think that we are the enemy to America.
I think the fact that most people -- most Americans -- wish for acceptance of all religions, all ideologies, all nationalities, threatens these people. We may not agree or even like what we perceive as opposition but we believe, as Americans, it's right not only to exist, but be heard and be part of the national debate to help steer this once great country. Yet people like Ann Coulter, who lamented in an interview that she wished that Timothy McVeigh had aimed his truck bomb at the New York Times building, continue to vomit an ideology far removed from real American principles.
These people continuously come across as prisoners of a kind of self-imposed political bondage. They come across as if the only thing that could possibly make them happy to the core would be that we all just disappear. That way there would be nobody left to point out their hypocrisy and their intolerance. That way there would be nobody telling them that they're giving conservatism or Christianity or patriotism a bad name. Maybe then, they wouldn't feel so bound up as a minority. But that still doesn't answer the question. I think I might have a clue to the answer.
One of the things I am prone to do when listening to the words coming out of Dubya's mouth is to hear them in a different context. While I was writing this he was doing one of his lists of "why the terrorists hate us."
Then it hit me. And the Heavens parted and the trumpets played and I discovered a new compassion. In reflecting on the Right Wing's stifling bondage to just one ideal, one philosophy, one version of God, one voice - the words of Dubya enlightened me to the answer of why they hate us.
"They hate us because of our Freedoms."
W. David Jenkins III can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org