Right-wing extremism is all about patience. That is, until it makes its move and then it is sudden and explosive.
And I'm not talking about reports of the much warned-of right-wing extremism that, kudzu-like, is spreading ever inward, culminating in regular episodes of violent gunplay and seething hate-spew.
I'm talking about the overall political ideology that was once relegated to the farthest outskirts of our societal fabric but is today part of the daily outpouring of talking points and legislation by the now fully-formed embodiment of patient right-wing planning.
Because a few decades ago, sometime after Jimmy Carter's arguably failed presidency was supplanted by the cartoon feel-good Jingoism of the Reagan years, the emboldened would-be sowers of neoconservatism scattered their seeds to the prevailing winds until they eventually took root in the lowest tiers of government and the basest levels of culture, where they were watered and tended by zealous caretakers who relied on patience and stealth until the seeds could germinate unnoticed by the masses.
Until by 2000, when they eventually flowered.
The George W. Bush years marked the full maturation of those patiently nurtured ideologies and empowered ideologues and it wasn't very long before we witnessed them flexing their muscles.
And it just as quickly became clear who they were and where they had come from. There was something familiar about them. Indeed, history had spoken of these types before, and when utilized properly, history helps us to recognize patterns and behavior that continue to define humanity's ever evolving tenure, marking where we've been and where we need to go.
Take, for example, the pattern of lying, distraction and obstruction that has defined the most recent generation of right-wing exponents who reside within our corporate-owned sociopolitical infrastructure.
They are the same people who for thousands of years ripped away land and dignity from native peoples, marginalized the rights of women, oppressed and sold whole populations into brutal and ignoble slavery, trumpeted their supremacy at every turn and did so all the while wrapped in a flag and brandishing religious totems. Only today, however, much of this is accomplished in a more covert way, their intentions hidden beneath a cloak of acceptable commercial civility rather than outwardly identified by blood-spattered armor, threateningly wielded bayonets or stern proclamations (abusive activity against constitutionally protected demonstrators, as well as the psychotic drivel emanating from selected flat-earth congressmen excepted, of course).
Such a proliferation of brutality within an imperfect but nevertheless successful democratic society like ours will almost certainly enjoy a triumph over its naturally less aggressive opponents who favor reason over zealotry, facts over faith, mercy over ferocity. The sheer physics make it so.
But never, it seems, has the demarcation between sides been so clearly drawn and history, once again, serves to remind us of the simple gauge of what makes life in a democratic society good and what makes it bad.
And it's fairly clear which choices serve and which choices harm.
A nation which strips people of their basic human rights, shows flintiness in the face of suffering, denies people access to health care, demonizes education, sacrifices young men and women to an insatiable war machine, twists facts into facile untruths and spits on plain, sensible values having to do with thrift, service, mercy, humility and a spirit of inquisitiveness -- what those aforementioned right-wing flowers seek to do -- is bad.
A nation which still believes in the legislative process and stands for liberty and equal opportunity, understands her changing face, celebrates education, embraces diversity, honors her elderly, cares for her sick, protects her disenfranchised and ventures unafraid into the future of her potential instead of dragging it back into a fantasy of what it really never was to begin with -- is good.
It's that simple.
And our patience is at an end.
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