Monday, February 19, 2007

God’s Bullies

from the diary: “Tuesday 4/29/86

“I’m finishing God’s Bullies, all about the ‘New Right’. Jerry Falwell and his cronies. Good book, icky people.”

On his website author Perry Dean Young writes, “I have to recall with some embarrassment and a little humor that I pushed my publisher to get this book out before the 1982 elections because I felt the religious right was a passing phenomenon, a mere blip on the national political scene. We needed to get the book out because the religious right would no longer be a force in future elections and my findings would no longer be relevant. Boy, was I ever wrong. Twenty-two years later, the religious right is now more powerful than ever. It is no longer a mere radical lunatic fringe, but a force that has quite literally taken over our government.”

Yeah, a lot of lefty commentators & bloggers seemed surprised by the ascendance of the Religious Righteous, as though they were some new phenomenon. I remember them clearly from early in Reagan’s reign. They never went away. Having deified George W. Bush one may hope the Rightites will crash and burn with him. Of course, Bushie hasn’t quite crashed & burned, has he? The steady downward march of positives in the opinion polls haven’t done much to thwart him. He sure as hell ain’t gonna resign.

Coming up to the 2004 elections I was predicting his ouster. After all, Gore didn’t really lose in 2000. No way would anybody who voted for Gore vote for Bush, and I was sure Bush hadn’t won more friends. As Young says, “We simply could not believe that a majority of our people had fallen for the lies and misrepresentations of George Bush and his administration. What made this defeat all the more painful was the fact that [we are] faced with one of the most immoral administrations in history. … And, yet, the people clamor for more of the same.”

Part of why I knew the Rightites never went away? I’ve been reading the gay press. The gay community has been the particular target of the Rightites all along. The homos seem to scare money out of the pocketbooks of little old ladies right into the sweat-damp pockets of the preachers. I guess most of the nongay left has been oblivious. Who cares about this gay stuff? As the relatively liberal Charles Barkely, in responding to the latest contretemps over gay men in the locker room, put it, “Gays don’t bother me.” But, then, he doesn’t much bother about them, does he?

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