As I have often noted on this blog, I was once an active Republican and held a City Committee seat for 8 years in Virginia Beach and was precinct caption for one of the most solidly Republican precincts in that city. Moreover, I am from a family with long ties to the Republican Party. Back in those days, the GOP stood for fiscal moderation, efficient government, and moderation on social issues. That whole political world is gone with the wind just as completely as the world of the Old South of Margaret Mitchell's acclaimed book, Gone with the Wind. And what has come to replace it is something truly frightening and ugly. Today's GOP is now identified with far right religious extremism, fairly open racism, fiscal terrorism and so-called patriot groups who are arming themselves as angry white Christianists see themselves losing both privileges long taken for granted and the power to inflict their rule on all other citizens. A column in the New York Times looks at this very disturbing phenomenon and it becomes very clear that this groups are all too often armed and militant white supremacy groups. Here are some column highlights:
That sound you hear is the sound of a cultural paranoia by people who have lost their grip on the reins of power, and on reality, and who fear the worst is coming.And they are preparing for it, whatever it may be — a war, a revolution, an apocalypse.These extremists make sensible, reasonable gun control hard to discuss, let alone achieve in this country, because they skew the conversations away from common-sense solutions on which both rational gun owners and non-gun owners can agree.These people, a vocal minority, have extreme fears — gun confiscation, widespread civil instability, a tyrannical government — from which they are preparing to defend themselves with arsenals of weapons and stockpiles of ammunition.If you pay attention to the right-wing’s rhetoric, you can hear a string of code words that feed the fears of these people and paralyze progress.Pay particular attention to the suggestion that guns are an essential guard against slavery’s resurgence in this country. And who would be the slaves and who the enslavers?As the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a Spring 2012 report, the number of so-called patriot groups surged after Barack Obama was first elected president.“The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding,” the report said. “From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274.”(According to the center, “Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the ‘New World Order,’ engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines.”)The militia movement engages in paramilitary training aimed at protecting citizens from this feared impending government crackdown.”That’s why it is both shocking and predictable that James Yeager, the C.E.O. of a Tennessee company that trains civilians in weapons and tactical skills, posted a video online Wednesday (since removed but still viewable at rawstory.com) saying he was going to start killing people if gun control efforts moved forward. He said, and I quote:
LGBT Americans need to understand that most of these groups are not only racist and anti-government, but also embrace the Christofascists' jihad against gays. Fanning the flames of this paranoia are Christofascists like Tony Perkins of the hate group Family Research Council who spewed this batshitery via press release:“I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot. I’m not putting up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. And I need all you patriots to start thinking about what you’re going to do, load your damn mags, make sure your rifle’s clean, pack a backpack with some food in it and get ready to fight.”
"As we learned yesterday, liberals are no longer satisfied by the church's silence on homosexuality. They will accept nothing less than the active embrace and celebration of what the Bible calls sin--or use totalitarian tactics to get it. What was once outrage over Christian activism has been replaced by outrage over Christian association. The White House has declared that anyone who holds to the belief--spoken or unspoken--that sexual immorality is wrong has no place at democracy's table.
"This should be a wake-up call to every evangelical who thinks they can pacify the Left by making the symptoms of immorality their sole focus and being silent on the cause: sin. . . . . but it will not mollify faith's detractors. Nothing less than one hundred percent capitulation will."
And all too frequently, people like James Yeager and Tony Perkins are competely welcome within the ranks of today's GOP. Sane Americans need to fear what these literally insane "patriots" and "godly Christians" and their GOP enablers and apologists may yet do as their delusions spin out of control.