May 6, 2010

A Country Where The Lunatic Fringe is Still at Center Stage. Where?

We have way too many loons in this country, and unfortunately the have ..critical mass so they are a force that steers our polity into the wrong direction. Several recent events have showcased something ugly about our society.

One. The love of guns. When the framers of the Constitution thought of the "right to bear arms" all they knew was the technology of the 18th century. In that time you could carry a musket and a knife. In our times this right definitely doesn't mean ownership of attack helicopters, bazookas, F16s, and nuclear warheads. For the life of me, I don't understand why so many Americans don't want any restrictions on gun ownership. We have members of the US Congress that say a known terrorist shouldn't be restricted in buying AK-47 assault rifle, even though such person is on the no-fly list and can't board a plane.

What kind of a country do we want when we allow every person (usually without any background & mental checks) to own & carry openly? In the reality of the frontier strapping one on your hip was perhaps necessary but at some point civil communities decided that it was better for pubic safety to have law enforcement do the gun totting. Now in certain states, persons can carry guns to coffee shops, bars, and everywhere else! Sure, I can't imagine a problem with this. 

Guns are openly displayed by angry men at political rallies too. Have you noticed the violent rhetoric of those idiots? How about the rhetoric of their leaders and other irresponsible talking heads? "It's time to re-load," and "put the cross-hairs on the target," the Sarah Palins extort us!

Can you imagine the reaction of the wingnuts if blacks were using the same rhetoric and carried guns to demonstrations & political rallies?...

Two. When Congress tries to pass comprehensive health care coverage, the usual suspects cry, "stop government takeover"!  At least 10 states are suing arguing that the latest health care bill is unconstitutional! Yet, the other provisions of the Bill of Rights--like due process--are ignored.  Did you see a poll that suggested most Americans approve of the new Arizona immigration law? Geesh.  On suspicion of being  an unauthorized immigrant, the authorities can detain you if you don't have the proper papers. Nice. We're safer now, aren't we? But, what are those crimes we should be really concerned about?

The criminals who infiltrate our borders don't come over to steal a job from an American. They're hear to satisfy another demand: illegal drugs.

Speaking of terror, why should we shred the Constitution in the illusion that we'll be safer? Provisions that give suspects (and, yes, criminals) certain rights are there to protect the rest of us. Due process, legal representation & procedures define our system. The would-be Times Square bomber (whose smoking SUV was spotted and reported to the police by a couple Muslim street vendors) is cooperating with the authorities. Same with the Xmas airline bomber who became cooperative because of the proper (and civil) treatment he received. No torture has been necessary.

Three. We have a unquenchable thirst for energy and for petroleum. I'm told that it's our g0d-given right to use resources like there's no tomorrow, but something has to be done about it now. Funny thing, some states that are more pro offshore drilling are feeling the ill effects of the BP disaster in the Gulf.  Kudos to the guvernator of CA that changed his mind after seeing the catastrophe.  

But, why worry about the environment when Jesus will return in the near future? I'm not kidding. The majority of Americans believe that the messiah will make an appearance in their lifetime (next 30-50 years?) at which point you can kiss the world goodbye! Yeap, and the Theory of Evolution is just a guess--this is the belief of the majority of our countrymen. Sad.

PS/Update (5/10/10): Just is case you think the lunatic fringe is limited to just a few disgruntled individuals...  I don't believe that all conservatives or Republicans are stupid, bigots, ignorant, selfish, and mean. No, but the loons are most likely to be conservative and Republicans. Unfortunately, the GOP has shifted way to the extreme conservative side in order to appeal to such people.
Take for example the second populous state, Texas, and the state Republican party there. Here's the Texas Republican Party platform--their official ideology & policy proposals. Yeah, this is where much of the GOP is located today.