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Steven Weber

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CSI: GOP

Posted: 05/04/2012 2:10 pm

You can tell a lot by what's left over in the wake of a destructive act, just like you can divine the shape of an object when observing the "negative" space surrounding it. Like those unfathomably attractive CSI investigators do on TV, residual carnage can tell the story just as vividly as if the crime were observed in real time.

So whenever the right wing levels its latest froth-flecked attack upon, oh say, gay people, women's rights, health care, climate change, social services, the middle class, corporate regulation, peace or just true stuff in general, the carnage left behind speaks more to the inner workings of the attackers than to the attack itself. Of course, the right's behavior is merely a construct to justify its ideology, which itself is a loud, histrionic exercise in corn pone clubbiness and fringe xenophobia. It appeals to the basest instincts of its base, exploiting the meanness inherent in people who are already, for whatever reasons, so scared shitless by a black president that they have to further demonize him beyond even his loathed skin tone and humble beginnings.

The corporate right wing in general (and the GOP in particular) daily demonstrates a fetishizing of negativity, seeming to enjoy the "death by a thousand cuts" approach to getting their way. But the true perverseness is that, in this case, they inflict those cuts upon the rest of us.

Witness the slow, steady assault on abortion rights: while mostly ineffective in the macro, the anti-women's rights movement has instead sought redress in the micro, seeding lower level government with partisan ideologues and -- in a snicker-inducing twist -- patiently waiting for those seeds to come to term.

Or the manic embrace of the lethal fraud that is "gun rights".

Or the sheer hormonal thrill derived from large and small scale bullying of the weak and the disenfranchised.

The corporate right wing GOP fantasy of a walled-in, unregulated, American Exceptionalism-spouting population is up there with Heaven and Atlas Shrugged, better relegated to a video game or a theme park. As utterly unattainable as it is plain dumb, the right wing salve for ailments both supposed and real go no deeper than the surface, their policies never aiming at root causes but only at topical outbreaks (ginned-up by connected companies who specialize in the cleaning up such outbreaks).

And speaking of vacuums, where's W?

The conspicuous absence of the previous two-term president -- absent from the stage, absent from the conversation, a complete un-president -- belches volumes as to the right's deep awareness of their own actions. The complete excision of George W. Bush and his atrocious record from the scene shows that the party leaders are all too cognizant of what they've been wreaking.

But all the right wing demagogues, mouthpieces and trolls actually perform a great service for the nation in that they provide an up-close assessment of the greater know-nothing machine, pulsing reverse barometers of the virulence racing through their veins and out their mouths. Like being on Nixon's enemies list, it is a clear sign that you're probably doing something worthy if the right attacks you with its trademark ferocity.

And the space once filled by a loyal opposition now appears as a glaring, howling maw; the absence of sense and civility from the right has made modern conservatism into a truly scary monster. Anytime the right wing demonizes an issue that benefits one of the aforementioned subjects, their formerly sane identity -- what the right used to be -- becomes more defined and deeply longed-for. From their point of view, their movement has been pushed by decades of liberal legislation to evolve into the crusaders for justice they now fancy themselves as being. But they are evolving to certain extinction.

And in their absence, the record left behind of the destruction they wrought will be their greatest gift to the future of this country.

 

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