|Here is something special for a certain person who took offense for me calling Putin a thug and him a tool.|
Sunday, December 4, 2016
There was a time in my life when I flirted with the ideas surrounding conservative Republican philosophy. Hindsight being what it is, I am severely embarrassed about those four or five years I bought into the hateful rhetoric, the blatant lies, along with the stunted and backwards views on humanity and the world. Curiously enough it was the combo of Bush/Cheney that made me wake up and realize the party of Lincoln was hopelessly corrupted and morally bankrupt as any human-created entity could ever fall. So, in a weird way, they were my passive Luke Skywalker while I, as Anakin was less brought back to the Light Side of the Force and more repelled by the Dark. A small distinction I admit, but in these bizarre, almost surreal times we find ourselves living you take what awareness the universe offers and run with it.
Let me state this, conservatism is not inherently evil even though many followers of that movement are at least indirect accomplices to those who promote hate and a complete disregard to the welfare of less fortunate Americans and the rest of the world. The best example for this is Congressman Paul Ryan who stated something to the effect that Donald Trumps words during the presidential campaign were racist and wrong but still wanted the Republican nominee to win the election. Then there are the spineless antics of both Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney who are even now groveling at Donald's feet after commending his actions.
Going with the idea of a yin and yang balance, liberalism does require a counterweight to prevent it from drifting off into its own form of excesses. So, for that reason alone conservatism, the rational type, is needed because any group or belief can fly off the rails. The trouble is that conservatism, at least the American type, has become mired in fear and prejudice and is suffering from a delusion that the 1950's era United States was some Golden Age where the country was great. And I'm not going to touch conservatism's bizarre appeasement to white Southerners who many even in the twenty-first century want to ignore slavery.
Simply put the United States we live in now is not the same one that existed in the 1950's and sure as hell isn't the one that existed at the ratification of the Constitution. As much as conservatives want to petulantly stomp their feet on the ground while whining about the original intent of the Founding Fathers, they are a full-fledged detriment to the United States. Men such as John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington among many others all suffered from the usual flaws but where they were exceptional was in that they crafted a document that allowed the United States to evolve beyond its eighteenth-century limitations.
While modern American conservatism came into being during Barry Goldwater's run for president, it was Reagan who brought it into power. Believe it or not, I'm not here to further my bias views towards what I've already called corrupt and morally bankrupt. What I have recently discovered though is how conservatives are now rallying around a new standard bearer who has dedicated himself to the preservation of “traditional values.” This new hero of conservative values is none other than Vladimir Putin, president of Russia and authoritarian tyrant who gleefully suppresses basic human rights and murders political opponents.
None other than most ancient of conservative dinosaurs, Pat Buchanan, the architect of Reagan's“Moral Majority” and the leading warrior in the so-called“culture wars” here in America just gushes like a lovelorn teenage girl over the macho Putin. Buchanan being the man who once championed the fight against Russian communism and the promotion of American values. Of course, Buchanan's moral and civic piety was lost after his series of books spelling out his inherent fear of immigrants and those who do not live up to his self proclaimed moral standards. His conclusions in those books can all be summed up in his ideas that everything was totally cool with Western Civilization as long as white, Northern European Christian males were in charge of running society. And that Western Civilization downfall is coming because women have more control over the bodies, thus lowering the Caucasian birthrate, while all those nasty, ignorant people with darker skin shades are popping out babies like there is no tomorrow.
The incredible irony that people like Buchanan totally fail to appreciate is that the values of Western Civilization of liberty and democracy have won. Overt nationalistic fascism and Marxist-Leninist communism are, as Reagan predicted, on the ash heap of history. Now, this doesn't include the more subtle forms of fascism, based on ancient ethic and nationalistic beliefs promoted by Putin and his kind, nor the corporate communism of Red China who have embraced capitalism but refuse to allow democratic elections or basic liberties.
Instead of working harder to promote and spread Western values, Buchananites are getting increasingly fearful and deranged over the fact that to be true to those principles we have to include groups that have normally been left out and oppressed. Even worse, there are those in America for whom Putin's macho stance appeals to their less than informed minds or their own stunted and stupid views on what it means to be a tough man. I personally know one fool who admired Putin because the martial artist actor Steven Segal worships the ground the Russian president walks on. This feeds into those Americans who believe President Obama wasn't born in the United States and those who think Putin is somehow defending Christian folks in the Middle East and the rest of the world. I have a dim view of all religions but if Putin and those who support him, and Pat Buchanan for that matter, are in anyway Christian I have no worries about going to hell after I die.
Say what you will about Ronald Reagan, if someone went back in time and brought him to 2016 I have no doubt he would be appalled at those supposedly following his beliefs. I'd bet money I do not have that he would consider Trump an abomination and Buchanan's, a long time friend, embrace of a murderous tyrant over another freely elected American president treasonous.
You have to give the Devil his due though, while for decades the Soviet Union tried to split the West with all their communist propaganda, it looks like Putin has finally found an effective weapon in the form of appealing to our age old fears and prejudices. As someone who has lived in the American South for most of my life, nothing scares ignorant white people more than the specters of angry minorities and strange folks who do not fit the overall social and cultural mindset.
While I love the city of Charleston, South Carolina if you ever visit take one of the historical carriage tours and pay careful attention to the houses built before the Civil War. Those rich Antebellum types were so fearful of their slaves killing them in the middle of the night many second floor windows have mean looking spikes mounted just below to prevent anyone from climbing up the walls and breaking in. Reading a little history will also show the greatest fear for all whites, especially plantation owners were slave rebellions. It is cold comfort that at least Southerners share common prejudices with the rest of sorry ass humanity when it comes to shunning those not fitting current cultural norms. It's damn easy to point fingers at those who, for whatever reason, do not fit in with the majority.
The thing about all this that really bugs the living shit out of me is that if you and yours feel so threatened by all the gays, Hispanics, Muslims, transgender types, and anyone else that you feel forced to look to a murderous tyrant for leadership I feel a sick pity for you. Because as much as the Millennial kids are spoiled and difficult to get along with, they do not give a rip about others peoples sexual preference, ethic origin, religion, or any other superficial label the current pillars of moral supervision force upon us all. Even where I live, a community so politically conservative it rivals the stifling attitudes of the 1950's, the kids here are overwhelmingly open minded and accepting of those that are different. Are these kids perfect or the harbinger of some Aquarian Age? Hell no, I would still move my family and me to a “Blue State” in a New York minute if circumstances allowed. But like I described Pat Buchanan, the ridged and narrow-minded like him are dinosaurs lazily glazing in the pastures of their fears. But there is a huge ass asteroid on its way in the form of the young who a few generations further down the road will be embarrassed at the beliefs their grandparents and great-grandparents held.
So keep your goddamned Putin and any who look to him as a savior of traditional values. The arc of history has an imperfect but steady liberal trajectory. What is almost funny in all this is that Putin's moral crusade is less about protecting traditional values and more to shore up Russia's global presence and influence. But if he is the best Buchanan, Segal, and their likes can come up with I actually might be able to dredge up a little optimism for humanity's future.
Now, after two decades in the economic basket, Russia is decisively back as an ideological force in the world — this time as a champion of conservative values. In his annual state of the nation speech to Russia’s parliament in December, Vladimir Putin assured conservatives around the world that Russia was ready and willing to stand up for ‘family values’ against a tide of liberal, western, pro-gay propaganda ‘that asks us to accept without question the equality of good and evil’.