Sunday, July 10, 2011

Conservatives Don’t Believe in Democracy

Posted by Desert Crone

A most serious problem in the United States, in my view, is that there is a subset of Americans who believe that government is illegitimate if their chosen leaders aren't elected. They simply don't believe in democracy. Voting is a ritual for them, something one does, like going to church. But it's expected that their preferred leaders will always win and their preferred agenda is the only one that will be enacted. (In one of the greatest ironies ever, they are undoubtedly the same people who stuck with George W. Bush to the bitter end --- the most illegitimate president ever.) They get very, very agitated and angry whenever they are not "in charge."

I watched it happen in the 90s in the unrelenting attacks and hearings on both of the Clintons. Obviously, Bush v Gore was successful in unseating the real President-elect. Candidate Reagan possibly negotiated with Iranians to undermine and unseat President Carter. We saw this obsession to unseat an elected president rise up almost immediately after President Obama was elected. The right wingers believe that they are "the people" in “We the People,” and Americans who disagree with them are either unworthy or irrelevant --- or they don't actually exist. And I’m not even discussing the hijacking of SCOTUS in this piece, which is also undermining our democracy.

While I do believe that racism motivates some of these right wingers, that is not the only impetus. The birth certificate issue, the communist grandparents, questioning of academic credentials, etc. are all methods used to delegitimize the President. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the racism and the typically perverse right wing trickery. And it really doesn’t matter, does it? The goal is always the same—delegitimize a democratically elected President if he is a Democrat.

The latest attempt to undermine Obama’s legitimacy is to disenfranchise and suppress voters who would most likely vote for him. States that have passed new “Jim Crow” voter qualification laws are targeting minorities, students, and the poor. One way or another the right wing will bring down this duly elected President.

A companion piece to the voter registration laws is the conservative Christian pledge signed by many conservatives, including Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. The pledge claims that slaves were actually better off than today’s African-Americans are under the leadership of Obama. Clearly, Americans have always been in denial about the atrocities of slavery, which Toni Morrison calls the “American holocaust,” but this pledge is beyond comprehension.

What is so insidious about this latest egregious attempt to divide President Obama from a segment of his base is the assumption African-Americans are so ignorant, illiterate, and apathetic that they would not know their own history. (As an aside, there are those on the Left making the same attempt to turn the African-American vote away from the President.) The idea behind the pledge is so evil in its absurdity, assumptions, and arrogance that it just leaves me breathless.

The Republicans remind me of one of those huge rollers used to level asphalt. They are rolling over us. We cannot and must not let President Obama fight this battle alone. The motto is “Yes We Can,” not “Yes I Can.” We must fight at the local, state, and national levels to stop this insidious assault on our democracy while we still have a shred of it left.

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