US Politics

Moments When I Truly Feel Afraid

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I am afraid for the future of my country, given the right-wing theocratic cabal that rules it now, but I have faith that a future administration will roll back some of these draconian, kleptocratic policies. I fear that future generations will be saddled with enormous debt, ill will from much of the world, and a poor education that diminishes their opportunities, but I have faith that future Congresses and Presidents will find creative solutions to restore hope as well as our place in the world. As a nation, we have overcome the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Palmer Raids, McCarthyism, the ravages of the Klu Klux Klan–largely because reasoned debate among citizens has cooled the passions that have led to unthinkable violations of rights and government policies. The excesses of the Patriot Act, the radical distribution of wealth to the top, and our militarist foreign policy are already being curtailed, due to the thoughtful work of people from both major political parties. As grim as the politics have looked the past few years, there is hope.
But my faith is shaken more by the vitrolic hatred that is expressed by some members of the right while they are in power, in control of every branch of government. How unhinged will they become when their policies are not fully pursued? What kind of shared future can we expect to find with people who call a grief-stricken mother of a veteran unprintable names because she dares to disagree with them? People who call former Presidents traitors? People who read Ann Coulter?
Others have written more thoughtfully, and to be honest, more interest, than I can about the Washington Post’s Red America debacle. What interests and frightens me is the illogical, hateful language of people who are unwilling to imagine a world where liberals are not the enemy:

Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.

In combat great people (we call them heros) sometimes get injured and have to be withdrawn. Before you (and your family and the Post) were further injured you were able to drag yourself away from the battlefield.

In Christendom great people (we call them martyrs) stand for truth and get killed for it. Your voice in a dark world was a threat to the darkness and it felt compelled to silence you.

At RedState we have great people (we call them family) who yearn for truth, love of country, and a philosophy that we are all in this epic struggle together.

For all we know, these “editors” were a bunch of liberal kooks intent on setting Ben up to tear him down later (I’m sure Ben’s politics were no mystery to the rest of the Flat Hat staff, and these “editors” seem to be conveniently lurking on Atrios). They could have easily snuck passages into Ben’s original work, and stored this nugget away as ammunition against his promising future. It’s really sad what antics people will stoop to.

What kind of debate is possible with people with these views? What possibility for compromise, for national solutions to our problems? Sure, there is unhinged rhetoric on both the left and right, but the agenda of the hard right is actually being implemented…and that’s never happened for the far left. To be so paranoid, so angry, so hateful when they are winning, makes it impossible to see how they can adapt to a moment when they are not on top. Perhaps this is all overstated Friday night fear, maybe the same number of far-right angry Americans has always been around, but tonight, I feel more than a little fear about what is to come.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

3 Comments

  • This stuff is absolutely terrifying. It makes me sick. There was a Berube column on academic freedom where he concludes that the current conservative movement is radical because it wants to eliminate all dissenting voices. This takes that idea about ten steps further, where the author wants to kill half the country because it doesn’t agree with him/her.

    Blame Ann Coulter. This is her kind of language.

  • Wow. Let’s kill the Jews while we’re at it? That is truly the closest thing to Nazism I’ve heard in recent years. Yikes. I hope the Supreme Court hangs on; it’s the last foothold on reason. Oh wait, I don’t know what happened in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld yet.

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