Tag Archives: 1st amendment

What conservatives don’t know can hurt you

Some of what conservatives believe defies logic. OK, a lot of it does. But far too much of it defies the truth. And I can’t figure out if they’re willfully lying or if they just simply don’t understand.

I suspect it’s both — their “leaders,” if, by leaders you mean craven hypocrites who would sell their mother and infant children if it kept them in power, know the truth but count on the average American to not know it — and believe them without question when they lie.

Hate to say it, but such is ignorance.

Take Sarah Palin, for instance — please. She’s on the record (tweeting and facebooking, of course) in support of poor Laura Schlessinger who has been forced to quit her radio show because the evil liberals won’t leave her alone about her rabid rant in which she used the dreaded n-word 11 times, totally freaking out her caller, who, inexplicably, had expected Schlessinger to help her with her problem, whatever it was.

Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)

For the Twitter impaired, here’s the translation:

Dr. Laura: Don’t retreat — reload! (I’m stepping aside because Dr. Laura’s First Amendment rights ceased to exist. Thanks, activists (Sarcasm). Trying to silence “isn’t American and it’s not fair)

Palin seems to have forgotten 2008, when Schlessinger was “stunned” and “extremely disappointed” that McCain had chosen her as his running mate.

Couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn’t want a “mature” woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?

That’s part of Schlessinger’s schtick, y’know — the family thing. That and not whining, which is exactly what she’s done since announcing she was quitting the radio show on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Plus, this isn’t the first time Schlessinger has mis-whined about the First Amendment. About 12-13 years ago, she went on a different tirade, this one about the dreaded homosexuals. She said gay men and lesbians were aberrations or some such nonsense, and denial of her First Amendment rights ensued, apparently by gay men, lesbians and their supporters exercising their First Amendment rights not to shop with her sponsors. As it was all at about the same time she was getting a TV show, the show was the target. It opened to pitiful ratings, because apparently masochistic losers who like to be berated by shrill non-doctors who once posed nude don’t watch much TV, and not surprisingly, didn’t last long.

But it pains me to have to remind conservatives, once again, about the Bill of Rights, in general, and the First Amendment, in particular. Here’s what it says:

Congress shall make no law …

Hold it right there. That’s as far as we need to go. “Congress shall make no law” in this case, “abridging the freedom of speech.” Did Congress pass a law kicking Schlessinger off the radio, or forcing her to curtail her bullshit while I wasn’t looking?

I didn’t think so.

These same conservatives, and it is the very same ones, seem to lack understanding of other parts of that same amendment, too, like the part that says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

That’s why they can’t shut up about the not-at-ground-zero not-a mosque in New York. And to argue against it, they use all kinds of really fucked up analogies. Like, “What if the United States put a memorial to the Enola Gay in Hiroshima?”

Let me break this down for them, because I know complex ideas are difficult. First, Park51 is not a memorial to the airliners that hijackers flew into the World Trade Centers. Actually, that’s all we need to say. Same goes for the analogy wherein Japan would put a memorial to kamikaze pilots at Pearl Harbor, or Nazis put a memorial up at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Again, Park51 is not a memorial anything. It is an Islamic center that seeks to promote peace and understanding. And those are apparently concepts that conservatives have no understanding of whatsoever.

These ignorances are dangerous, and if they are indeed blind followings of lies and obfuscations of the so-called conservarati, they are even more dangerous, because what other lies can they tell that will be bought lock, stock and barrel by the ignorant masses?

A few days ago, I read an interview with a Teabagger in which he was asked if he’d actually read the Constitution, a copy of which he carried in his pocket. Not really, he said, “but I know my country’s history.” Really?

That made me cringe. I don’t expect everyone to be the history and news junkie that I am, but a little basic understanding sure would be nice. Sadly, that went the way of condiments being mere condiments in school lunches, a product of the right’s determination to keep us stupid by destroying any chance at a decent educational system in this country. So far, so good.

Conservatives sometimes, for reasons known only to them, like to deny that the United States is a democracy. “It’s a republic,” they say, which I think somehow implies that the people have all the power and the officials they elect, well, fuck them and the people who voted for them. Let’s try out some definitions:

A republic:
A state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

A democracy:
A government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

I don’t see a heckuva lotta difference, except that “republic” specifically refers to the country and “democracy” more specifically refers to the government. Whatever. They’re wrong. We are a democracy. And a republic. But to deny the former in favor of the latter is a separatist, militia thing to do — it sets up the basis for an armed insurrection.

Then there’s all the nonsense about how keeping taxes low for rich people helps the economy, creates jobs, etc etc etc. Except it doesn’t For the period of time since George W. Bush got his tax cuts for the rich passed by the same methods the Republicans now condemn when Democrats do it, there as been zero job growth. Zero. Zip, zilch, nada. Big fat nothing. Didn’t work, idiots. And yet, in the face of the obvious evidence of complete failure, the Republican leadership keeps saying it works and the ignorant masses keep believing them.

Speaking of taxes, we pay one of the lowest tax rates in the world, and the conservatives say we pay too much. That’s because they don’t want to pay any taxes. And corporations — good lord, they pay hardly any taxes on the billions they make, mostly because they hide their money in offshore tax shelters. But the conservarati don’t talk much about that.

And let’s not even get started on global warming. Sure, there’s a natural element to it. But we’ve helped it along quite nicely, thank you. And just because it has a natural element doesn’t make the idea of a world several degrees hotter than it is now and an ocean several feet higher than is now something that’s no big deal. Just ask the mastodons.

About 1,000 words or so back, I noted that some of the things conservatives believe defy logic (Obama is a socialist, secret Muslim who wasn’t born in the United States comes to mind), but I haven’t really addressed any of those. Five or six years ago, however, a list circulated that pretty much covered it (you can add whatever more modern ones you want). The gist of the list is this: IOKIYAAR.* Here it is:

  • Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  • The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
  • Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.
  • “Standing Tall for America” means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.
  • A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  • The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
  • Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you run for governor of California as a Republican.
  • If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
  • A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
  • HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.
  • Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
  • Global warming, and tobacco’s link to cancer, are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
  • Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.
  • A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  • Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
  • The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.
  • You support states’ rights, which means (former) Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.
  • What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.
  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

* IOKIYAAR: It’s OK if you are a Republican.