Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Grasping At Straws!

When you can't find anything to say about a current President, go after the previous ones - no matter how far back!

Hillary Clinton has made waves among right-wing bloggers by suggesting that her "basket of deplorables" (and boy, in retrospect, did she call that one right!) are part of a MAGA cult which mindlessly worships Donald Trump.  She sarcastically suggested that maybe they need "deprogramming."

The right-wing blog-o-sphere went nuts.  "See! Democrats are the fascists!  They want to lock us up in mental institutions!"  The people saying this, of course, have a history of mental illness and probably have already been committed to an institution at one point in their life or another.  So you can appreciate their paranoia.

And we have Elron Hubbard to blame for this.  His made-up "Scientology" "Religion" targets troubled young adults with mental health issues who don't know if it is snowing or blowing (I've seen this firsthand, with mentally ill friends being drawn into things like "Eckancar" or whatever).  Republicans saw this and took note - hence the Cult of MAGA.  You can get crazy people to believe anything - flat earth, anti-vaxxerism, trickle-down economics - and if you arm them with a gun, you have a perfect windup soldier.

And no, it is not "normal" to plaster your truck with political stickers and flags (and yes, Democrats have their own share of cult-followers, they just don't make it the centerpiece of their party).

So yea, Hillary was right, it is a cult.  But who cares what a failed Presidential candidate has to say?  I mean, her pronouncements on anything are as irrelevant as.... mine.  She was a former Senator, former Secretary of State, a former first lady, and a two-time loser in the Presidential race.  Once you are out of office, what you have to say or what your opinions are, are irrelevant.  Most politicians realize this, and just fade away.  Don't hear much from George W. these days, doya?

But for some reason - a reason we will get into later on - the Republicans and their right-wing media mouthpieces, are obsessed - obsessed - with the likes of Hillary, Obama, and even poor old Jimmy Carter.  Not a day goes by when some far-out "news" organization (and I use that term loosely - most are just websites or podcasts) attacks Obama for being gay and his wife for being trans-sexual (no word on how they had children, but I am sure they have a slur against them, too).

Who the fuck cares?  Obama has been out of office for over six years now, and quite frankly, his eight years in office now seem, in retrospect, a quiet period of normalcy in America.  Sure, the crash that occurred under Bush and the bailout of the banks that Bush signed were horrific.  But once Democrats restored regulations in the marketplace to prevent Wall Street from turning into one giant casino, the economy improved, modestly (as it should) with each passing year.  I'll take modest, steady increases over wild swings any day of the week.  The Republicans always seem to want to "juice" the economy, as it puts more money in the pockets of the rich, and robs from the working class.  We are seeing this right now, as the result of four years of Trumpism.

But it is telling that the GOP and its minions can't even articulate something about Obama's policies that was bad - because quite frankly, there isn't much there to critique.  And even if there was, their followers' eyes would glaze over during discussions of policy points. They want red meat! So instead they come up with these crazy and outlandish conspiracy theories about his sex life and the gender of his wife.  It is grasping at straws.

Similarly, they have a host of theories about Hillary and her "server" (a word as dirty as "laptop" in their minds).  They repeat words like this (and "Benghazi!") over and over again, even though their own partisan investigations repeatedly find no wrongdoing.  Oddly enough (or no so odd) they are relatively silent about Bill Clinton, as grabbing pussy is something Republicans are into (when they aren't bending over a the Congressional Record).  So who does that leave?

Poor old Jimmy.  Carter is roundly mocked for.... being a decent person.  He builds houses for the very poor and tries to do the right thing.  Sadly, he got the short end of the stick from the "ratfuckers" in the GOP, who engineered a delay of the release of the hostages in Iran - until after Reagan was inaugurated.  Oliver North brought the Ayatollah a cake - and they traded arms for hostages and used the money to fight a dirty war in Central America - a war whose aftershocks are still being felt today, as refugees from central America flock to our borders.

Carter, not Reagan, was the one to deregulate the airlines - but to hear Republicans tell it, it was all Reagan's doing.  Of course, rewriting history is nothing new for the GOP.  They don't like to talk about how Nixon instituted wage and price controls (no communist he!) or signed into law the legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency.  What being a Republican meant back then was a different thing than today.  The only surviving legacy of Nixon was his paranoia.

But Democrats seem less obsessed with dredging up past issues involving politicians out-of-office, or inventing weird stories about them.  And in a way, it is because they don't have to.  There is enough dirt right now with elected Republican officials that you don't need to grasp at straws or make up stories about Republicans.  Every day, we are treated to new revelations about Santos, Gaetz, Green, Bobert, and other court jesters of the GOP.  The tired old songs about dissolving Social Security and Medicare, cutting taxes for the very rich (who already pay little or no taxes) and removing regulations that protect our environment and stabilize markets are old news now - to the point where people gloss them over in favor of salacious lies about Obama's sex life.

Hillary was right - it is a cult.  In a cult, there is a "supreme leader" and the follower sacrifice everything they have for the leader - their wealth, their labor, and even their lives.  How else do you explain how a poor person is willing to vote for a candidate who promises to take away what little they have?  How can a pensioner vote to abolish his own Social Security and Medicare?  Why would anyone in the lowest tax brackets vote for tax cuts for Billionaires?  It makes no sense at all, until you apply the cult model to the equation. Deep down, they want to be punished.

Trump supporters often have no logical arguments as to why they support him.  It is more a matter of tribalism than anything else.  "He built the wall!" they cry, but in fact, he just wasted taxpayer money building sections of a wall you can cut holes in, with a battery operated Sawzall - often in places where migrants don't cross, anyway.  He ended up doing little to stem migration - but made life hell for migrants in the US.  Meanwhile, staunch Republican business owners and farmers scratch their heads and wonder why they can't find anyone to work in their restaurants or harvest crops in their fields.  Gee, what happened to all the migrants?

How far do you have to go into the cult to think this way? All the way. It is how Scientology "followers" end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get "clear" and be told the inner secrets (spoiler alert: that we are all space aliens and psychiatrists are the enemy - you see how this attracts crazy people).

But in the defense of Scientology, all they do is exploit their own followers - who voluntarily join the cult and voluntarily hand over their money.  No one coerced them, despite what disgruntled ex-Scientologists say.  And no one in Scientology (to my knowledge) is trying to take over the government by force and institute a dictatorship.  I have never heard of a Scientologist calling for "Civil War" or executing those who disagree with them.

Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to force their will upon the majority, through gerrymandering, fear-mongering, voter suppression, and other undemocratic tactics.  They are manipulating people by distracting them with "social issues" while in plain sight, they gut the government, stack the courts, and one by one, take away our freedoms - in the name of freedom.

You are, of course, still free to buy a gun, and pretty soon, you'll need one.

No, Hillary called it right - it is a cult, and a dangerous one.  Because unlike other cults in history, the GOP has more money and more followers than any other cult before it.  Well, except maybe the Catholic Church.