Friday, May 2, 2008

March of the Charlatans

Tin-Foil Hat time again, folks.

As all of you know, I just love me some big, juicy conspiracy theory. I think it must have something to do with being born and raised in the cradle of modern American conspiracy theory: Dallas, Texas - November '63 and grassy knolls and magic bullets and all of that - so, as I see it, rich & powerful white men pretty much invade, assassinate, blow up and destroy at will under the guise of what we normally call "politics." They rig elections, intimidate voters and generally undermine the opposition as often and as maliciously as any common thug or tyrant in any third-world banana-republic backwater. Money and global influence just make their actions seem less like outright crimes against decency and humanity and more like, a-hem, respectable official government policy.

But they still don't want the wrong people voting, that's for sure. Or having actual input into the process.

So, despite my paranoid mindset, I can actually be correct enough to sometimes have someone respectable say the same thing, but with proof and all that fancy, journalistic stuff, and man, I just love it when I'm smart enough to anticipate the more nuanced and articulate points of someone smarter and more gifted with the language.

Sara Robinson is one of those people. She is a sometimes contributor to the brilliant and incisive "big picture" blog Orcinus, as well as writing for the Campaign for America's Future. This week she takes on the Jeremiah Wright non-story story.

She explains it all to you, about why the media just won't let this one go - basically because they are under orders from on high to destroy a respected and vocal critic of the "Word of Life" prosperity gospel charlatans. You know who these people are, those transparently crooked Chri$tian operators who, by way of preaching that "God helps those who help themselves," makes it the fault of the poor for being that way and wealth becomes its own proof of virtue.

Thus, by their solipsistic logic, the private jets and exotic golf trips and luxury cars of the church leaders become evidence of fealty to God's Good Word (paid for with the accumulated tithes from desperate widows on fixed incomes, BTW) and something to strive for, while if you're poor it's your fault for not believing hard enough in Jesus. It's a gospel tailor-made for the "I've Got Mine" ethos of Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun's modern Church of the GOP. Government attempts to help the poor interfere with God's Will. Wealth proves God's Love.

Among the denizens of this rapacious, sleazy milieu, Jeremiah Wright is not a popular man.
Wright has been a visible and articulate critic of the GOP's new pet theology over the years -- one of a noisy clutch of ministers who've made no bones about the mischief inherent in this new theology. He's also a respected and insightful proponent of black liberation theology, holding (Martin Luther) King's torch high in the face of unscrupulous preachers who think they're helping poor people by cajoling them to vote away their safety net and toss their government checks in the offering plate.

Beyond that: unlike the vast majority of these ministers, most of whom attended small Bible colleges of dubious accreditation (if they attended seminary at all), Wright has degrees from Howard University and the University of Chicago Theological Seminary. It's gotta go down hard that he's a black man who is far better-educated than they are, and can argue circles around them about the Bible or anything else. Take it as a whole picture, and it's not hard to see that Wright is very sharp thorn in these people's sides. As long as he and his friends are out there, their 30-year investment in the whole Word of Life movement is at risk. Obama's candidacy put him in the spotlight, and thus magnified the threat. So now he has very powerful enemies on the religious and political right.
Yet, the media - with all the depth and subtlety one can portray in a five-second sound-bite - get to depict this educated and articulate man as some kind of buffoon, a dancing clown hardly above the level of a minstrel show, thereby undermining his dangerous message by killing the messenger. Rod Parsley, John Hagee and their fellow band of thieves are truly enjoying watching their long-time critic be dismantled. Hence:
turning Wright into a national demon was a two-fer. They could not only tank the Democrats' front-runner; they'd also take down a serious and persuasive theologian who's been calling them out hard on one of their longest-running and most successful efforts to sell the conservative worldview to the very people who stand to be most harmed by it.
So, Wright is correct when he says that an attack on him is an attack on the black church. And I was correct for agreeing with him. Although, in all fairness, my assertion was that this whole kerfuffle was an attack on the black church generally as a center of stability and independent power within the Democratic coalition (which frustrates and pisses off the Reich-wing collaborators within the Dems) rather than a coordinated attack from The Right on a threat to their prosperity and power.

I guess it seemed a little too obvious to think it was somehow, once again, related to the Rethugli-bots. Over-compensating for fear of sounding like a broken record, I was just looking in the wrong place. Although, in my defense, wide swaths of the Dems are nevertheless still willing to capitulate to yet another attack from the GOP goon squad, laundered as it is through a compliant media.

Like I said, this one is going to get ugly. These people have had a collective chip on their shoulders about the wimmin-folk and the uppity neeg-ras and the Lib-ruhl "coastal elites" for about, well, the entire history of the republic. Or thereabouts. Every so often, they get the upper hand in politics and the last four decades, they have been ascendant. The old-money GOP has successfully leveraged the anger of the rubes' and shit-kickers' since the Goldwater debacle in '64 into electoral success, which serves their ultimate purpose of undermining anyone who truly threatens their privileged lifestyles as some form of the "dirty fucking hippie," fear and loathing for whom is the only thing that unites the disparate Coalition of Hate in the GOP.

Some within the coalition have been itching for a race war since the 1960's. Some have been itching for a religious war since the 1960's. Some have been itching for a class war since the 1960's.

If all of this race-baiting and ecclesiastical hornet's nest-whacking goes deeply, terribly wrong (as playing with fire usually does), especially as the other looming catastrophes mature into actual news stories as opposed to the end-of-broadcast curiosities they are right now (I'm referring of course to Peak Oil and Climate Change), then they may just get all of those wars. All at once. It could turn into a Lockean war of all-against-all, which is the natural end-point of their asinine "libertarian" philosophy anyway. Until some hayseed nazi arises as a strong-man dictator to put a stop to all the violence, kind of like, well, any other thug or tyrant in any other third-world banana-republic backwater.

And if he's a good, Christian thug, then he'll get to have Blackwater as his private, Christian shadow army, shadow navy and shadow air-force - and secret police - all the better for keeping order.

But, then again, maybe it will all magically work itself out for the better.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are the one who seems filled with hate. It's so sad that people like you continue to blame, blame, blame in a country where opportunity is there for anyone and more equality exhists here than anywhere else. Seems like the only thing that would make you happy is if all white people were dead. And you call yourself humanitarian? What dillusional and racist thinking. Read some history and get enlightened. White people are the most generous, caring, compassionate people on the planet. They give more than anyone. Maybe mistakes have been made in the past, but no worse than anywhere else if you know your history. I know, I'm from India where philanthropy is pretty much non-existant among so many other problems. I moved to America 5 years ago and never looked back. People here have been kinder to me and more tolerant than what I ever experienced in my own country. I made a good living here and gave my family what they could never have had in India. America is the best country on Earth no thanks to people like you and Jeremiah Wright. Very sad to see such wrong thinking about this great country. Very sad indeed. I pray that you will find love in your heart for all people and accept those around you for what they trully are and not for what you wrongfully project onto them.