RUSH LIMBAUGH SAYS THAT LIBERALS AND PROGRESSIVES HATE AMERICA

IS HE RIGHT?

Mr. Limbaugh hourly rants that liberals and progressives are destroying America.  His claims, in his words, are about the so called “Nanny State” he accuses us of trying to create and impose on everybody, thereby destroying the Horatio Alger “rags to riches” myths that buttress conservative claims on making America great.   Us liberals will make sure that Americas is no longer great should we prevail in our crusade.  Well, you might be able to call Sweden and Denmark “nanny states” by his definition if you call universal health care (not “universal access” to healthcare as we have here) financed though taxes some huge social evil.  But America?  Nah.  No way.  Sure you can call Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare "nanny state socialism," but these three socialistic programs are the most popular such programs in the country but barely scratch the surface of the kinds of benefits citizens of real socialist states receive.  Researching the French "nanny state" a while ago, I discovered that new Moms get a year of public support to take care of their babies and France has a troupe of doctors who actually make house calls at night, to say nothing of the fact that French students get free college tuition and have for years.   (Can you imagine doctors making house calls in America in 2017?  Right.)    

But Rush is not totally wrong about liberals and progressives “hating” America.  Personally, there are many things I “hate” about America, President bobble-head right up there at the top of my list.  But there are more.  I hate it when facts and data share equal time with conspiracy theories and debunked memes.  I hate it that “we” have instituted a Muslim Travel ban that’s discriminatory and totally ineffective.  I hate it that "we” have mocked the disabled.  I hate it that “we” keep on giving tax cuts to the rich while decimating working and middle class people.  I hate it that “we” in so many states have passed voter disenfranchisement laws that are targeted at suppressing minority voters. 

And there are more, I guess, if I thought about it a bit longer. 

But I don’t hate “America.”  Nearly all of the “hates” I’ve noted above are reversible.  They aren’t necessarily a permanent stain on America but like many other eras in our history represent a throwback during troubled times.  The Voter ID Laws and tax cuts that benefit the wealthy have been products of the conservative side of America’s social ledger and more specifically by Republicans.  So I guess I hate Republicans too.  But Democrats in my book don’t get a pass.  For a couple of decades now Democrats have been enablers in all the destructive legislation, attitudes and trends that have spread across America like a virulent disease at the hands of conservatives.     

What I hate is what America seems to be becoming.  We’ve gone from being the world’s beacon of liberty, freedom and democracy on the world’s stage to the world’s biggest belligerent bully.   What I hate is how we are governed by slogans and propaganda rather than facts and data.  Trump’s Wall is the perfect example of how far this trend has infected our politics.  You could use the Muslim Travel Ban or Paul Ryan’s “Trumpcare” healthcare legislation, both of which are driven not by facts (Obamacare is collapsing) but by conspiracy theories and right wing talk radio as a couple of other illustrative examples.  This is what I hate about America.  And Democrats have allowed this slide into fictional governance by not standing up to fake news (Obama was born in Kenya) and unfounded slogans passing as economic dicta (cutting taxes creates jobs).  

One of the substantial divides between me and the Rust Belters is that I accept the fact that America – the United States Government – has made mistakes, has done bad shit in my name.  When I was growing up no one believed that the Federal Government was somehow a hotbed of unpatriotic, anti-progress crushing secret warriors out to undermine the whole of American society.  But then along came the war in Viet Nam and the Pentagon Papers that proved the Government had been lying to us about that particular disaster.  This was followed by the near-impeachment of President Richard Nixon for using the government to destroy his political opponents.   The following Administration, Ronald Reagan, also got caught in a lie when the Administration - and Reagan himself - stated publicly that they did not trade military weapons with Iran for the release of American hostages and the denial by the Reagan Administration that it was not secretly funding and supporting soldiers dedicated to overthrowing democratically elected regimes throughout Latin America.  Particularly instructive here is the CIA's assassination (alleged, of course) of Chile's socialist yet democratically elected President, Salvador Allende.  (Google him if you want to know more about this vile period in America's domination of Latin America.) 


So we learned that our government was doing stuff behind our backs.  It was shocking.  It was discomforting.  But we believed that the unveiling of these events would help to ensure that they would not happen again.  Naïve, perhaps, but hope springs eternal, right?  Then came the invasion of Iraq.  But unlike conservatives who simply cannot acknowledge that, in fact, the United States government was and is complicit in perpetrating shit both here and around the world but believe that such criticism is traitorous, we liberals and progressives believe that holding folks accountable or at least attempting to do so for such actions is the way to help ensure that they don’t happen again.  We are not so naïve to believe that we will prevail, our criticism will somehow magically prevent another Iran-Contra or Iraq War, but silence in the face of such malfeasance is only enabling.   And this we will not tolerate.  

Quite the contrary.  We believe that by criticizing government, we are attempting to make sure that officials, Republican or Democrat, are not undermining the ideals of America (that includes honesty in our dealings with other nations and with the government's dealings with us) or breaking the law but providing a check on unbridled malfeasance by our elected representatives and our government. This is decidedly counter to how conservatives and Rust Belters see what we do.  We are called America-haters, America destroyers, unpatriotic and dangerous to the future of America.  Every day we are labelled the vilest of traitors on right wing talk shows every single day.   This theme serves the Rushes of the world extremely well.  Such efforts derailed Hillary Clinton as a result of countless fake news claims about her criminality and ensured the election of a conspiracy theory believer.  The daily drumbeat about liberal and progressive collusion in the wholesale destruction of America, is pure bullshit.  If you actually look at our legislative history at the Federal and state levels over the past three decades, what you will find is the few liberal successes - same sex marriage and EPA regulations to rein in corporate malfeasance - shine like sparkling diamonds floating in a sea of dark, conservative shit.  

On the other side of the ledger, what we find is the continuing rise of religion as public policy (Hobby Lobby), the state defunding of Planned Parenthood across the country, the continuing diminishment of voting rights in Red States, the dominance of corporate control (internet privacy rights) and an overall trend of conservative ideas and legislative initiatives that basically reduce your and my ability to live peaceably in a country that is amenable to freedom, democracy and liberty.  And the diminishment of our rights continues.  Many Red states have recently passed laws to criminalize street protests which are basically restrictions on our First Amendment Rights in protesting what the fuck is going on in our country.  And make no mistake about it, Conservatives and Republicans have a stranglehold on our current public discourse over Democrats since Republicans have worked to forge a vast, interconnected web of propaganda outlets that continue to dominate our public policy discussions.  Democrats have no comparable structure to counter this destructive public discussion that is headed up by Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and Fox News.  This situation, of course, is typical of the Democratic Party since historically Democrats have corralled a much more diverse and eclectic band of Americans to their cause and don't demand that every member of this coalition adhere to the party line.

But here in 2017, we liberals and progressives have been stymied in our efforts to change the public discussion about who we are and what we the people actually represent.   However, the ascendance of Trump to the Presidency has energized liberals and progressives (and here I include Millennials) to a degree that is unprecedented in American political history. This, to my mind, is one of the most effective and far reaching protests in all of America's political history,   What we are facing is a frontal attack on our very basic ideals that define us Americans.

What we are faced with is not some Republican vs. Democratic party dispute but a fundamental contest about who we are as Americans.  This is the issue.  This is the underlying factotum of our current situation when it comes to our political "system." There is no other issue that raises to the level of importance to all of us as the Trump Administration.   So far, the Trump Administration has revealed itself as an enemy of everything we stand for as Americans.  It remains to be seen where all of this might lead us.  For me, I see an Administration that is much more attuned to propaganda and Infowars conspiracy theories than the real world of facts and data.  How will this play out over the nest few years?  Who Knows?  If the allegations of Russian rigging of our last Presidential Election bear fruit, we might see the destruction of the Trump Administration much like the Nixon Administration.

We are in brand new territory here and God knows where it will all end up!

It's A Beautiful Day Here In The Capital Of The Free World!























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