“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”
- Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, September 16, 1981
While following the media circus that is the Republican primaries, I was reminded of the above quote and realized how prescient it has proven to be. The fact that those words were spoken by a member of the GOP makes me wonder how the party’s philosophy has become so twisted over the last three decades. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, but I believe that Goldwater’s statement is a good starting point to examine the evolution of the Right Wing. Oh, did I just use the word evolution? Sorry, Darwin debunkers, I didn’t mean to imply that you are the offspring of apes because that would be the height of hubris. The tire swing in your living room and strict banana diet aside, I think you are good people at the core. Ignorant and deluded, but good. So, if that is true, how did these good people attain their demented belief system? Before I address any of that, I would like to define two terms I will be using quite often; Serial Narcissists (SNers) and Brainstemics (BSers).
“Serial Narcissists” is pretty self-explanatory. These are individuals who are care about no one but themselves and toss around terms like “free market”, “individual liberties” and “socialism-is-coming-to-rape-your-wife-and-eat-your-children-and-you-have-that-black-Marxist-Muslim-in-the-White-House-to-blame-God-Bless-America-Amen”. (Okay, fine, that last one isn’t a common refrain but I am a snarky bastard and occasionally like to stick a figurative shiv betwixt the ribs of far right wing retardation.) SNers are often wealthy and hate “big government” unless it involves banning gay marriage, birth control, abortion or anything on the biblical blacklist. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that SNers often claim to be Christian. A different breed of Christian, though. The kind of Christian that doesn’t have time for all that “love your fellow man” and “the rich will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” jazz. That type of ridiculous propaganda, perpetuated by the King of Liberals, Jesus Christ, has no place in our lives. I mean, was that guy a stark, raving socialist or what? (Breathe deeply, brothers and sisters, and let the acrid scents of irreverence and irony fill your nostrils! Hallelujah!) But enough about the pseudo-Christians…
Before I explain the meaning of the term, “Brainstemics”, let me provide some background information. The brain stem, also called the “reptilian brain” (or R-complex) by those self-serving charlatans called scientists, is the most primitive part of the human brain. It is where obsessive-compulsive behaviors, superstitious/ritualistic beliefs and conformance to the past all reside. I define “Brainstemics” as common folk who cannot understand complex problems unless they are reduced to an over simplistic sound bite. For example, when the Sultan of SNers, Rush Limbaugh, goes on his show and says, “There is record snowfall on the East Coast! Where’s all this global warming we hear so much about?!” Sounds pretty reasonable, right? (If you just answered in the affirmative, please stop reading this and go find your coloring book and crayons. I’ll wait...thank you.) Wrong. What Rush is doing is taking an issue with many facets and reducing it to one easily digestible nugget for the BSers. There are numerous scientific factors that help explain global warming but focusing on the word “warming” makes Rush seem logical and reasonable. I have just one seemingly unrelated question for Rush and his minions. Why do people with heat stroke get chills?
“What? That makes no sense! That never happens! YOU ARE LYING!” screams a mortified BSer in protest.
“Damn right, he’s lying! And he’s a Godless pinko commie with a drug-addicted welfare mother, too!” adds Rush, in one of his patented raw-meat-for-the-grinder retorts.
That’s another interesting thing about a BSer, if an apple of logic is too large to fit in their fruit basket of a brain, it’s rotten. Period. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter perpetuate their ignorance for profit. Speaking of which, let’s address my favorite comedy network on cable; Fox “News”. (Yes, I think Fox “News” is hilarious but I also have a tendency to giggle at funerals so I’m a lost cause.) How can anyone take anything seriously from the network where former White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, said, “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term”? Wh-wha-what?! The words left her mouth and I waited for Sean Hannity to correct her. I am still waiting. Statements like Dana’s are made on that network daily and always go unchallenged, which is why I laugh and move on. Am I enraged by this? Yes. But why waste energy harping on it when I could be doing something more productive like napping? Fox “News” is the anti-intellectual well where BSers can fill their proverbial buckets with tainted water. Many people have covered the ridiculousness that is Fox “News”, repeatedly, so I won’t belabor the point any further but I will ask this question; why do the BSers eat this stuff up? A distorted variation of the expression, “I’ll believe it when I see it” explains it all. The BSer lives by the credo, “I’ll see it when I believe it”, which means that person has abandoned reason and ceased to evolve. (Damn, there’s that word again!) No amount of intelligent discourse will ever change their mind. That watermelon is too damn big for the basket! Case in point; I once had a conversation with someone whose name I will change to protect the guilty. Let’s call him, Dum Dum. I provided Dum Dum with the percentages 50%, 70% and 91% and explained that they were some of the top marginal tax rates over the last 70 years. I then asked him to name the President in office for each tax rate. After a few seconds he responded, “Clinton, Truman and Carter.” (Boy, the BSers sure hate that peanut farmer from Georgia, don’t they?) A surly smile of self-satisfaction spread across his face but immediately faded after I said, “Reagan, Nixon, and Eisenhower.” What followed was not a serious discourse on the point I was trying to make but an attack on my patriotism and supposed socialist agenda. I even tried to explain that some of the percentages carried over from Democratic presidencies, in an attempt to ease his rage, but to no avail. (The fact that those Republican presidents never lowered them was my next point but I never got to it because Dum Dum was foaming at the mouth!) I had insulted his intelligence by stating facts, which is why having arguments with BSers is an exercise in futility. That is why I now write about it instead. I always get the last word…which is nice.
I realize that I have touched very lightly on the influence of religion on the Republican Party, thus far, which I will remedy now. (Batten down the hatches, BSers! Thar be treacherous waters ahead!) Back in the late 1980s, Goldwater’s prediction came true, as the evangelicals dug their claws into the GOP and have been entrenched in its flesh ever since. I will not demonize religion or the people who practice it, because I believe it has value, but when religion mixes with politics, I smell trouble. The Constitution is in no way vague about the separation of church and state, regardless of claims that the United States is “a Christian Nation.” It is not. Do most religious people who reside here practice some form of Christianity? Yes, but the nation was founded on the concept of religious freedom. The Founding Fathers saw how much power the Church of England had over every aspect of people’s lives and were resolved to avoid such influence in the democratic government they were creating. “But all of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians! Glenn Beck said so!” Oh, I hear you, ya precious little BSer you. However, they were not. Some were, some weren’t and some took very controversial stances on the subject, like one gentleman who wrote his own version of the Bible, in which he removed all of the miracles and supernatural elements. Can you believe the audacity of that heathen?! Hmmm, what was his name? Oh, yeah! Thomas Jefferson! The book is called the Jefferson Bible and it’s a real thing. Google it. By the way, the system of government we all live under was not pulled directly from the Bible. If it was, wouldn’t senators, representatives and the POTUS put a hand on the Constitution and promise to uphold the “Good Book” when sworn in? It’s the other way around and for good reason. If you pay attention to governments that are heavily influenced by religion, such as Iran, you see the glaring problem. Who decides which denomination runs the show? What if you don’t believe what they believe? Short answer; fall in line or perish. “Yeah, but they’re Muslim. That’s different!” Sweet, sweet BSer…I’m done talking to you. GO TO YOUR ROOM! Man, these confrontations with fictional adversaries exhaust me! Moving on…
So you may be thinking that I’ve been pretty harsh on BSers, and I absolutely agree. My biggest problem with them is that they won’t even consider an opposing view, even in the face of new information. They are right; you are wrong…end of story. To me that is a form of terminal stupidity and while I understand that no one likes to be called stupid, stupid people really hate it! They only seek out sources of information that reinforce their unwavering belief system because it makes them feel intelligent. When a pundit blurts out a talking point they agree with, it boosts their self-esteem and gives them a sense of satisfaction as they think, “See, I knew I was right!” In reality they are demented and have actually received the figurative equivalent of a cookie and pat on the head from grandma as she purrs, “Oh, you’re so smart, my little angel.” And I am in no way saying that all Republicans are BSers, just a certain radical segment of the party. Actually, some of the people I love most in the world are proud BSers and once they read this I may never hear from them again. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice I am making because…hell, who am I kidding? Those people gave up on me a long time ago. As for the SNers, they are just sideshow geeks trying to make a buck. El Stupido the Human Hot Air Balloon (Limbaugh), Chuckles the Crying Clown (Beck) and The Human Flamingo (Ann Coulter) are all people I truly despise but they aren’t going away any time soon. They stir things up to get attention, which is a technique that’s been used for centuries. P.T. Barnum once said, “If you want to draw a crowd, start a fight” and that’s what is happening today. It just seems more prevalent because we are inundated with information from all directions. Outrageous statements and general ugliness pull in an audience and all we can do is be better people by not playing that game. No more name-calling or questioning a person’s religious beliefs or insulting their intelligence. Just peace, love and…okay, I meant starting tomorrow. Jeez! Who do you think you are? Don’t judge me, punk! Wait, I…just blew my entire argument didn’t I?
Kindly disregard everything I just wrote. God Bless America. Sorry…