A group of white American citizens gathered yesterday to exercise their Constitutional rights of assembly and free speech, exposing to the world the true colors of the Republican party: racism and hate.
Exhorted by the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, they flaunted the ultimate symbol of racism, the flag of the Confederacy. They cheered a speaker whose message to President Obama was, “put the Quran down … get up off (your) knees, and … come out with (your) hands up.”
This is how the most ignorant and mean-spirited among us deal with their frustrations at having their most cherished and most noxious notions rebuffed in the democratic process: 40 losing votes in the House on repealing the Affordable Care Act, repeated refusals by the Congress to attach draconian social issue caveats to proposed spending bills that could have ended the government shutdown they caused.
They are no longer just a loud and vexing minority. They are a national disgrace,
They and the propaganda tanks like the National Heritage Foundation, which pull their puppet strings, provided the impetus for the governmental follies that have destroyed whatever influence and prestige the United States once retained among the nations of the world. All it has left is the capacity of bombs, nukes, drones and military incursions to create ever smaller "coalitions of the willing" in the manner of playground bullies.
Forget the moral high ground. We relinquished the last vestiges of that a decade or more ago. We are an empty suit in the eyes of the civilized world. "Land of the free and home of the brave" is an international laughing stock. "The beacon of democracy" in Washington is a flickering myth. "Hope of the free world" is an outright lie. We are morally bankrupt. We have allowed two successive administrations to whittle away our civil rights, cancel the Constitutional balance of powers, create a ruling corporate oligarchy and turn most of the public into lemmings and sheep. Those who dare to dfissent are bullied into silence or jailed. (The Occupy movement.) Those who speak the truth, to Power and to us, are jailed or forced to flee into exile. (Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning.) A subservient mainstream press has enlisted full throat in the conspiracy to hide these unpleasant truths from us. (Miller to Sanger to Fox.)
This is the legacy of those who made a spectacle of themselves Sunday in Washington. Their brothers and sisters in ignorance all through this land watched approvingly. But abroad in lands where wisdom and prudence are more cherished than they are here, observers turned their heads from this ugly demonstration of racism and hate in a country many of them once admired. Japan and China, holders of roughly two-thirds of our national debt, have warned our so-called leaders to grow up, but to no avail.
If the nations of the world are going to solve the great problems confronting them -- war, starvation, massive global climate change, poverty, human rights abuses -- they will have do do so without the leadership or even the cooperation of the United States.
It can't even figure out how to pay its bills on time. Some superpower.