In political conversations with friends and family of left-liberal, vaguely progressive inclination, I often find myself telling them they don’t know the full radical pre- and proto-fascist extent of what they are up against on the authoritarian new militarist American right. The comments I’m about to paste in might
seem outside the margins of acceptable political discourse in “liberal” (broad sense) America, home of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. In fact, however, its not terribly far from things I’ve heard both in direct conversation with seemingly regular “mainstream”/ordinary Americans and on “mainstream” (right-wing) talk radio (which I occasionally monitor in my automobile, when the White Sox aren’t playing) — at outlets like WLS 890 AM in Chicago.
Before you read this comment, which calls, in essence (whether its author knows it or not) for the construction of something akin to an open police state in the United States, let me tell you that its author is a woman — she shall remain anonymous, but let’s call her “Apple Pie” —- who participates in a political discussion room among and between mostly young American mothers connected through a listserv that is primarily about sharing ideas and techniques towards the healthy feeding and care of infants.
“Apple Pie’s” comment was sent to me by a progressive participant in that listserv, who tells me of her concerns with the large number of her fellow participants who seem to agree that “everybody – that is all Americans – who disagree with [their] vision of the current political situation should be interred with no freedom and no rights.”
The comment from “Apple Pie” reads as follows:
“How about this? We divide the country in half, those who support the war on terrorism and those who do not. The ones who choose to fight and support our freedoms are the only ones who get those freedoms. The other half well they basically have no freedoms because they want everyone else to do all the work and suffer all of the pain so therefore they don’t deserve the same freedoms. The half that does not support the “war” now has no freedom of speech or freedom of expression, if you are caught burning a flag or hanging it upside down, you are tried for treason, well, heck you don’t even get a trial because you no longer have that right since you aren’t willing to fight for it. If the terrorists attack your side don’t count on us to help you out, you didn’t support us in the first place so now we will only help ourselves. You can then live peacefully amongst the terrorists trying to convince them that there is no need to attack you. Meanwhile our side will enjoy all the freedoms and safety our country currently enjoys.”
“Apple Pie” followed up this chilling formulation with:
“Yes my previous post was harsh but I really get fed up with liberals expecting everyone else to suffer and pay for our freedoms while they just sit back and reap the rewards. It seems terribly unfair and selfish.”
And then this:
“Honestly, I want to know, why do those who are not willing to defend our freedoms or support those who do deserve to live here in this country? I’m not saying you have to strap on a machine gun and go off to war yourself but at least support those who do.”
Then, my progressive listserv informant continues, came the following statement of support from a different authoritarian young mother:
“Ths is EXACTLY what I’ve thought since day one, but I will admit, was too chicken-shit to say. But you know what – ITA and I stand right by you and don’t give a flying hoot what anyone here thinks about it.”
“Right down the middle . . .how sweet would that be.”
And there was this, from another supporter:
“In life, there are givers and there are takers.”
“You live in this country and take from it – all the blessings of this:”
” ‘ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”
“The words in that document are the ideals we strive for – but they aren’t guaranteed. They have to be fought for – and preserved. And someone has to do THAT job.”
“Not everyone in this world believes in that statement – or that we are endowed by our Creator ..or any creator for that matter. There are those who don’t believe those rights are ours – and are willing to take them away if they can.”
I’m not going to do my usual thing of breaking down all the absurdities and contradictions in this newly respectable radical right and hard nationalist discourse. Most of this blog’s readers are already ahead of me on that. Nor will I bother with my standard rant on the extent to which the Founders would be horrified by the new American militarism and imperialism. Google/yahoo up my name along with with “James Madison” and various semi-useful essay reflections (some more original than others) will come up in a few seconds. My point is that all progressives of whatever stripe (and I am near the leftmost edge, though some would dispute that I imagine) need to fully gauge the depth and degree of the right-authoritarianism that is embraced by some significant number and percentage of Americans…including some mothers of small babies. These young ladies are not alone and you ought to hear what the fathers of their children think.
…Sorry, nothing on porn…and no self-righteous hyperbole on the ZNet blog system and how other ZNet bloggers choose to run their own blogs.