Friday, October 15, 2010

The Wild Bunch

Can you feel it, America? The scent of smoke in the air, the roaring sound of many Harleys belching a defying growl as tires skid along the hot asphalt and hands grip the throttles and engines are revving into a cacophonous din that blots out all meaningful discourse? Can you see them riding in the distance, growing nearer and nearer with each passing second, hugging the curves and barreling like screaming demons across the Mojave Desert, through the cultivated Kansas plains, up the clogged highways of the Northeast?

Who are these nomads and mavericks, these people who flaunt all convention and rules, who cause liberals to spit out their organic tofu in droves?

They’re the bumper crop of Tea Party Republicans that will trash Washington, kick ass and bring the well-heeled establishment to its knees.

These lone wolves are determined to get your vote because they’re on a mission, just like the Founding Fathers. They want the entrenched politicians in Washington to go so that they, the Tea Party Republicans, could do the people’s work.

Less government!

Less taxes!

Less intelligence!

Well, the less government and less taxes part is sensible, but what of the third accusation? Are these candidates, who purport to know the Common Man to the point of sharing beers and sliders at a blue collar watering hole, not that bright?

In recent weeks, the media has focused on dumb and insensitive things Republican candidates across the country are saying or have said. Why do the Democrats get a pass? Don’t Democrats utter ridiculous and controversial statements? Is the liberal media protecting their kindred spirits? Actually, no. Democrats are pathetic and mild and don’t make a habit of espousing crazy bullshit, unless it’s Joe Biden.

When Biden hits the sauce, it’s comedy gold quote time.

With all their hostile rhetoric and take-charge attitude, what do these furious and flustered gang of teabagger upstart candidates have in store for America?

Former Nevada state assemblywoman and current Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle thinks Muslims are imposing Sharia law in Dearborn, Mich., a city with a large Muslim population. It doesn’t matter that her statement was untrue. What matters is the implication; that Muslims want to impose their own sacred laws in secular America. So who cares if Angle and other uber-conservatives want to force prayer in public schools and put the Ten Commandments in courthouses?

Angle also wants to ban same sex marriage, eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and nix abortion including in the cases of rape and incest. Now I understand she’s following the GOP’s hard-right playbook by doing away with gay marriage and public funding for education. Gays and learnin’ are America’s downfall, after all. But her position on abortion is practically medieval. So if a woman gets gangbanged by her father and uncle, she has to give birth. Why? According to Angle, it’s all part of “God’s plan.” If you really think that if there’s a benevolent spiritual force in the universe that it would want women to be raped and sexually violated by immediate family, then our religious differences diverge dramatically.

Rich Iott, the Tea Party Republican running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District had an unusual hobby. Iott donned a German Waffen SS uniform and reenacted battles as part of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, a real unit that fought the Russian Army in the Eastern Front during World War II. When questioned about his apparent Nazi fetish, Iott shrugged it off as harmless fun, saying the 5th SS Panzer Division fought Communists. Iott completely glossed over the fact that those same soldiers committed atrocities, including the murder of Hungarian Jews. I wonder if he and his slapnuts buddies ever reenacted that...

So a clueless dolt and his friends like dressed up like Nazis and reenacted episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. Iott isn’t the only Tea Party Republican to have bizarre interests. Take Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who purported to have “dabbled in witchcraft” in high school.

O’Donnell downplayed the allegations from a 1999 “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher” clip, but brought up the issue in a campaign ad, claiming that she wasn’t a witch. O’Donnell is trying to distance herself from her past appearances on Maher’s show, where, with poofy big hair and a bubblegum innocence, she claimed that evolution was a myth because monkeys were not continuing to evolve.

When a former O’Donnell staffer came out as gay, he said O’Donnell ostracized him. Of course gay bashing is O’Donnell’s modus operandi. In her primary race with Mike Castle, she inferred to him as gay, saying that he used “unmanly tactics” and told him to “put his man-pants on.”

When New York gubernatorial candidate Republican Carl Paladino isn’t e-mailing colleagues pictures of women blowing horses or a video labeled “Obama’s Inauguration Rehearsal” that shows dancing African tribesmen, he’s also bashing the queers.

Paladino said, “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual,” and criticized his Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo for marching in New York City’s gay pride parade, saying it was “not the example that we should be showing our children.”

Right, so racist and sexually explicit e-mail sent to friends is the perfect example for your children, like if your son doesn’t see daddy rubbing one out to “Horse Suckers Volume 8” he might not glean that pornography is cool and could turn into one of those limp-wristed sissies.

Asked about the content of those e-mails, Paladino retorted, “I’m not politically correct and have never been. I’m not perfect. But if the worst I ever did was send out some non-politically correct e-mails, my God.”

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint is being chastised for comments he made in 2004 when he said openly gay people and single mothers shouldn’t teach in public schools.

DeMint’s reaction to the criticism was, “(When I said those things) no one came to my defense, but everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”

Does this entire party need sensitivity training? It’s like a mothership landed in the Midwest and dropped off these bizzaro aliens bereft of empathy and personality, who joined the GOP and launched campaigns as anti-establishment candidates.

It’s difficult for people to have sympathy for you and believe you’re a victim when you act like a bully, and that’s exactly what these loose cannons are.

I’m sure none of these dullards are moved by the recent spate of suicides occurring throughout the country of young people who were bullied or teased about their sexuality or just because they were different. Not O’Donnell, DeMint, Angle, Paladino or Iott really give a wet flying fuck that kids like Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Billy Lucas, 15, and Tyler Clementi, 18, all killed themselves due to purported anti-gay bullying.

What’s being played in the political arena is carrying over to the schools with disturbing results. The bullies call gays weak, ostracize them and say that they’re not normal and are abominations in the eyes of God.

They claim that homosexuality is an immoral “lifestyle choice”, that they’re troublemakers and are different from you and I. And what they want – the right to marry and serve openly in the military – we won’t give them.

I’m all for freedom of speech, and I’m all for assclown candidates saying whatever outlandish shit they want, but this anti-gay crusade based on some highbrow morality has got to go. Yes, in the Old Testament homosexuality is a sin, but the Bible also says that eating shellfish is bad, owning slaves is okay and marrying 11-year old virgins was how ancient God-fearing men spent their summer holidays.

Yet these Tea Party moralists cloak themselves under the veil of religion and bleat about “the gay agenda” as if a clandestine group of queers in a Greenwich Village apartment and a condo in San Francisco’s Castro district are planning a nationwide conversion of all heterosexuals. Like some gay Al Qaeda – Al Queera - would creep into our apartments at night and whisper gay thoughts into our ears as we sleep and in the morning, we’d all be strangely inclined to redecorate our living rooms and drink mimosas.

The only political voice of reason I’ve heard this year was Joel Burns, an openly gay Democratic councilman from Fort Worth, Texas who gave an impassioned speech from the dais describing his own struggles in his youth with bullying over his sexual identity.

He recounted the incidents of teen suicide from anti-gay bullying and told those young people battling this inner war of sexuality and sadness to not surrender to despair.

“I know that life can seem unbearable. I know that people in your household or in your school may not understand you and they may even physically harm you, but I want you to know that it gets better,” Burns said.

Burns related his own experiences with harassment by other students who called himself a “faggot” and said that he would be punished in hell.

“To those feeling very alone tonight, please understand that I know how you feel, but things will get easier. Please stick around to make those happy memories for yourself,” Burns said. “The attitudes of society will change. Please live long enough to see it.”

Of all the petty-minded, nonsensical bullshit spewed from suit-wearing hypocritical holy-rollers and sign-waving yahoos this year, of all the division and spiteful rhetoric, it’s refreshing to hear Burns’s speech. It was emotional, healing and compassionate, and didn’t rely on the scapegoating of race, class, gender or sexual orientation as the root of society’s evils.

It’s about time we heard a message of unity and kindness instead of the cackling voices preaching division and ignorance from Jesus freaks, Nazi re-enactors and sunshine patriots.

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