Drawing by Devin Flynn
I hate the right because they're all about thwarting people's potential. They hinder imagination and the ability to move forward toward enlightenment and modernity.
It's because of the right that we keep revisiting the same culture wars, militarism in all of its forms, and their version of manliness, which includes the lauding of anti-intellectualism. I mean, I can't believe we're talking about women's rights and gay issues again. We're even talking about the end of days again.
This repetition, all of the right wing's laziness and negligence, results in a culture that is almost premodern. If you watched the Republican National Convention, it was basically the Flat Earth Society convening in Madison Square Garden. I covered the convention for Air America Radio, hour after hour after hour. It was the worst collection of white people in America, under one roof, I've ever seen.
The right wing loves easy symbolism. They love to pretend that they are the patriots, and they love to pretend that they support the troops. But what's their number one thing? No taxes. That's their number one prime mover—they don't want to pay into the system. They don't want to take care of the infrastructure. They don't want to pay more taxes that would result in veterans' benefits or public education. The people of the right are the ultimate in arrogant selfishness, and they lead incredibly unexamined lives.
This is tied into that anti-intellectual urge, where it's bad to take a moment to make any kind of inquiry into how things work, but it's good to make strong pronouncements like "Stay the course." They seem to be unable to look beyond their own interests, and that's where you get crony capitalism and no-bid contracts and privatizations for the free market. It's basically a "you can go fuck yourself" ideology. They're not capitalists—they're corporate profiteerists. They're robber barons. Guys like Grover Norquist are trying to push things toward a feudal society. And that's also part of the right's machismo thing. Like "Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!" Like some outdated Horatio Alger thing. What they don't account for is that some people are born with long bootstraps and some people are born without any shoes at all.
The right also has this idea that if you give money—corporate tax breaks and corporate welfare—to wealthy people, they do good things with it. But if you give any kind of breaks to poor people, they become lazy.
Then there is the immigration issue. This is interesting with the right, because there's a little bit of elasticity there. Whatever's politically expedient, whatever will get more votes, they'll vacillate toward it. Of course, you also have the Pat Buchanan right-winger, who is very isolationist and xenophobic. With Pat Buchanan, at least he's an educated guy who can speak knowledgeably from his many, many years of experience in government; plus, he's an avid reader. But what you can't take out of Pat Buchanan is his upbringing by a strict Irish-Catholic father. Eric Alterman said it best: "Pat Buchanan is Archie Bunker with an Ivy League education." And that to me says it all. This is the type of guy who's a racist, but who couches it in a rhetoric of jobs and quotas. He neglects to mention that the jobs he's talking about are things that nobody does if immigrants don't do them for four cents an hour. Things like sharecropping, busing tables, and toilet cleaning.
This country was founded on immigration. Every single one of us can point back to our great-grandparents, some to our grandparents, and they were immigrants. Right-wingers have a problem with immigration for the wrong reasons. There are sound reasons to be worried about immigration, such as the fact that all these people are coming in without appropriate educational systems or healthcare. Those are not the reasons that most right-wingers are anti-immigration. They are more worried about the economy being burdened. That's kind of ironic, because right-wingers today are not fiscally prudent. They are by no means "conservative" in the original political definitions of the term. They are corporate profiteerists who believe in nothing other than entrenchment of power by any means. It's very cynical.