How to Take America to Extremism?

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We told you a few weeks ago about the “How to Take America Back” conference, which this past weekend brought assorted conspiracy theorists,  hate-mongers and lunatics on the far right to St. Louis from across the nation. (Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum was one of the event’s organizers.) On the agenda were workshops like “How to defend America from missile attack,” “How to recognize living under Nazis and communists,” and “How to counter the homosexual movement.” Altogether, it seems to have been a real “Lollapalooza” of right-wing nuttery.

Anyway, we’ve been seeing a number of reports the last few days about the conference, including from People for the American Way’s Religious Right Watch. Here is a selection of some of the videos and reports you’ll find from that Web site:

– Rick Scarborough, president of the Texas-based group Vision America, charged that President Obama is using his middle name “Hussein” in a “dangerous trend” to “reach out to Muslims worldwide.”

– A Republican congressman called President Obama an “enemy of humanity” because of his policies on abortion.

– Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly told her audience that “the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today. . . . My analysis is that the gays are about 5 percent of the attack on marriage in this country and the feminists are about 95 percent.”

– President of the right-wing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons claimed that President Obama is “reenacting” slavery by pushing for health insurance reform.

– Workshop speakers urged members of the audience not to worry about being nice or polite in attacking gay rights: “Christ wasn’t about being nice.” The speakers employed Nazi imagery in attacking gay people as a danger to children.

There’s plenty more. Enjoy.

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12 Responses to “How to Take America to Extremism?”

  1. William Says:

    Two words:

    Nut. Jobs.

  2. JAck Says:

    I would like to know why so many highly intelligent people subscribe to TFN and their mission. I would like to believe at least half of TFN followers would raise their hands when asked if they believe in Gandi’s teachings. Yet the action word in TFN’s headlines is FIGHT. (Fight the extreme right/religious right) Now I might not be as educated in Gandi as I would like to be but his main approach to change was through peaceful demonstrations. I would expect other intelligent people to understand and realize that “Fighting” never accomplished anything besides plant a field of hate and discord. That in turn perpetuates rivalry, demonstrations, and leaves behind victors of demolition and victims of obscenities. I would have a lot more respect for TFN if they understood and employed the measures of cultural growth. Change through hard work. The only way to change something is to work hard until that change is accomplished and, if you really believe in it, be willing to die and trust that the ones you pass the change onto will accomplish it or their successors.
    Instead TFN has taken the route of lambasting organizations and running their mouths in hopes of changing the world. Just watch the comments in response to my posting, discord and emotion. Shut your mouth and work hard for the good of the people. Let the religious right show themselves for the frauds they are by allowing the public to see the difference between hard work and hot air. Dependence on publicity vs motivation to change the culture. Slow and steady vs Emotional discourse.

  3. Ben Says:

    JAck, one of the definitions of “fight” is:

    “campaign determinedly for or against something, esp. to put right what one considers unfair or unjust : I will fight for more equitable laws.”

    Your argument is largely a straw man.

  4. Charles Says:

    Rick Scarborough said: “At the How to Take Back America conference this past weekend in St. Louis, I heard Rev. Rick Scarborough, a conservative pastor and author who endorsed Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, express outrage at a video of New Jersey schoolchildren singing a song praising President Obama. After his speech, I asked him what had disturbed him about the video.

    “Whether he is spawning these things or people are spawning them, it’s a kind of human worship which I believe is dangerous,” said Scarborough.

    Translation: It’s bad enough that we have a black man as President—but even worse than that—some people are actually celebrating it. That’s just too much!!! The Bible says that darkness will descend upon the Earth as time draws to a close. “Darkness” has already descended on the White House and on our great country. These are the end times for sure. Jesus was caucasoid you know.

  5. Charles Says:

    Jack said: “instead TFN has taken the route of lambasting organizations and running their mouths in hopes of changing the world.”

    Hi Jack. I have heard of basting poultry but have no idea whether people baste lamb when it is in the oven. However, when cooking far right political action organizations, I very much doubt whether lamb basting is really necessary.

    Gandhi and King were against physical violence. They achieved what they did through a warfare of words. Dr. King was never afraid to call out his opposition on their misguided beliefs or behaviors. To continue our cooking metaphor, the thoughts that you stated in your post are a recipe for ROLLING OVER AND PLAYING DEAD. The Religious Right would love nothing more than to have sweet, soft, wimpy, little voices pleading on their knees for mercy, good sense, and reason when they value none of those things themselves and have no intention of behaving in a kind or gentle way. The Religious Right likes the idea of using an AK-47, bowie knife, and baseball bat to mug a toddler in Central Park. We tried what you said (or tried nothing at all) for two decades, and it did no good. We were the toddler and we did get mugged. Today our side has the verbal Ak47s, bowie knives, baseball bats—and some RPG words—and we are ready to rumble.

  6. Mars Bonfire Says:

    Ouch, JAck! That really hurt!

    You said mean things about our calling an ace an ace, about our recognition that these “Christians” are impervious to kindness, respect, tolerance, and the search for common ground. The modern fundamentalist right wing theocrat is demonstrably unresponsive to civility, diversity, the notion of common good.

    We noticed that your “point” is facetious… we are not, after all, the ones bringing AKs to political speeches, and it is not an unpeaceful thing to be intolerant of intolerance.

    Take your own advice and drop the ‘more enlightened than thou’ bleating. Stop running your mouth at the defenders in the cultural war of words and enlist in Gandi-like servitude for the cause.

  7. trog69 Says:

    “…and, if you really believe in it, be willing to die and trust that the ones you pass the change onto will accomplish it or their successors.”

    Uh, I think Jack has either been hitting the sauce a little harder than necessary, or he’s a very confused person. Considering the rhetoric and hyperbole used by the religious right and quoted in the article he is commenting on, I’m hoping it’s the former, unless he’s somehow unaware that the people quoted have been making statements like these, and worse, for decades now.

  8. trog69 Says:

    President of the right-wing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons claimed that President Obama is “reenacting” slavery by pushing for health insurance reform.

    Now that is a bunch of unashamedly greedy, grasping, pigs. I wonder how many of them have Rick Scott posters?

  9. Cytocop Says:

    What the hell does slavery have to do with health insurance reform? Man, these people can’t even distinguish between what is and is not related. If you gave them one of those logic tests, a question could go like this:

    Select and circle the two related objects: Horse, dog, apple. They’d probably choose dog and apple.

    Or a question like this: “Bat is to ball as….” and then there’d be 3 appropriate choices and one inappropriate one. The inappropriate choice might be “….as elephant is to pajamas.” Of course, that’s the one they’d choose.

  10. Charles Says:

    Hi Cytocop. I laughed and laughed and laughed at your post. My score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) back in my college days was fairly poor. According to my score, not only was I not ready for graduate school, there was serious doubt as to whether I should have been let out of middle school. I found the analogies portion of the GRE to be particularly disturbing and still do to this day:

    For example:

    Telephone is to Cow Pie as Garage is to ___________.

    A) Satan

    B) Sally Field

    C) Ice

    D) Bob the Tomato

    E) All of the above

    One maybe—-but 50 of those!!! I don’t think so.

    With regard to slavery and health care reform, they probably think that the various mechanisms applied to reduce costs will result in doctors being paid less per patient visit, test, or treatment. In their minds, that would be like doctors working for free (slavery).

    I would remind the good doctors that they should be thankful for their blessings. In the Soviet Union, which hailed the primacy of the industrial worker, a steel mill employee was near the top of the heap in pay and medical doctors were down there with the guys punching the cash register at the McDonalds they were still several years away from getting. Doctors have it good in this free enterprise system of ours, and that will continue to be the case. A few less dollars here and there will help poor people who are sick, and the doctors will still have more than enough bucks left over to buy that new Ducati motorcycle they have had their eye on for a while.

  11. Cytocop Says:

    Charles, that’s priceless. 🙂

    In evil socialist countries, doctors are not paid as much as they are paid in the U.S. under our current system. That’s true. However, they are also not bankrupted by going through medical school; they are subsidized for their effort. I believe they should be since medical school IS brain surgery.

    If the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons is an example of good medicine, I’m better off with alternative medicine than to trust myself to AAPS whack-jobs. I would remind the good docs there that there are doctors in America right now who are paid salaries regardless of office visit, test, or what-have-you. One example: Mayo Clinic. And I don’t see those doctors starving and homeless.

  12. JAck Says:

    Charles: “Hi Jack. I have heard of basting poultry but have no idea whether people baste lamb when it is in the oven. However, when cooking far right political action organizations, I very much doubt whether lamb basting is really necessary.”

    One word: Vocabulary

    lam·baste (lām-bāst’)
    tr.v. lam·bast·ed, lam·bast·ing, lam·bastes Informal

    1.

    To give a thrashing to; beat. See Synonyms at beat.
    2.

    To scold sharply; berate.

    I think all of you took my comments a little to far! This religious right stuff is definitely scary. My point was that it just needs to be largely ignored. Giving celebrity status to these crazies is far to generous. That is what this “fight” has done. I am talking about working quietly and effectively to make the policy and legislative change to shut those voices down. My argument is that TFN’s approach is the SAME as the religious right. Loud, obnoxious, intrusive, RESPONSIVE, emotional and many other things. We are giving the religious right a voice. Ignore them.
    Hate is not the opposite of love indifference is. Pouring time, energy, emotions and money into this “fight” shows our attraction and need for the religious right. If they didn’t exist neither would TFN.
    Meaning: TFN stands for nothing other than wasting resources fighting and yelling at another organization.
    Which will accomplish nothing except create more discord in our country. I like the narrow American mindset. travel to another country and see distended bellies groaning in hunger and then think about the money wasted. Then lambaste me!
    ; )

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