It is no surprise that the angry white conservative movement a.k.a. the tea partiers has come to life since the election of Barack Obama, because they were fine with George W. Bush’s many violations, illegal wars, suspension of habeas corpus, etc. What lay at the heart of conservative opposition is their loss of control – and a black man in the White House.
So Bush wipes his ass with the Constitution for eight years. He treats it not as a binding document but as a rough set of guidelines – to be ignored or not as he chooses – even refers to it as “a goddamn piece of paper”! But we do not see any of the following:
States rights movements
Talk of impeachment
And in complete contravention of fact, it is liberals – Obama, not Bush – who are now accused of treating the Constitution like a “living document.” I suppose there is something in that, since at least under Obama the Constitution is alive, whereas for Bush it was a dead letter – as inconvenient as any other fact.
From all this there is only one conclusion we can draw: that despite the narrative we are now being expected to swallow, conservatives are not standing on a set of eternal and unchanging principles. No, they are hypocritically opposing our constitutionally elected government because they don’t control it.
Conservative outrage has nothing to do with the narrative’s gospel. If it did, they would have formed Oath Keepers (2009) during the Bush administration. We would have seen the Tea Party (2009) begin during the Bush administration; we would have heard cries for Bush’s impeachment (2009) and the states rights’ movement (2009) would have been in full swing. But they were fine with Bush’s many violations, illegal wars, suspension of habeas corpus, etc. What lay at the heart of conservative opposition is their loss of control – and a black man in the White House.
Nossir. The events of the 2008 elections brought them an America they had not signed up for.
How did they respond? By picking up their toys and going home. But they insist they’re not racist as they sing “Barack the Magic Negro” en route to their storm trooper-style hate fests.
What is truly at the heart of the narrative?
White Christian privilege is a precious thing to many. They’ve had it since the founding, after all. And things can get pretty entrenched in a couple of centuries. And shouldn’t they have had cause for optimism by 2008?
Look at the progress they have made: in 1954 they got “one nation under God” added to the pledge of allegiance; in 1956 they managed to get our national motto changed from E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One), a completely accurate (and secular) motto chosen by our Founding Fathers, to “In God we Trust” – a motto which our Founders could have chosen – but significantly, did not.
They’ve even re-written the history books to show that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that the 13th century was the “true” Age of Reason. Only conservative white Christians are “real” Americans, according to the narrative they have established. Anyone who opposed their president opposed God.
Under the Bush Administration, they finally had things set up exactly like they wanted them. Back to the 13th century we went; we even had our own crusade in Iraq. Let the good times roll.
Though these changes from a secular orientation (per the Constitution) were not solidified until the conservative hysteria of 1950s, the narrative insists that they have always been part of our Nation’s identity – as a White Christian Nation: sort of a KKK writ large.
A place of White Christian Privilege, almost a nature preserve, but one that is artificially stocked and which stands at odds with the reality world around it – and in many cases, with history. Their fanaticism is in direct and inverse proportion to the growing threat (an increasingly diverse population in terms of ethnicity and religion) to their privileged position.
The racism inherent in the narrative is real and it is deeply entrenched; the narrative is stock full of ethnophobia, homophobia, and religious intolerance. Is it any wonder that the prospect of a crusade against “godless” Islam got them salivating? They could even dream of a little ethnocide. What good old boy won’t sign up for that?
And to give them credit, the good old boys down south make no pretence. They admit what it’s about. You’ll find the rhetoric at Tea Parties as well.
It’s reality check time: At least when the south seceded they had the intellectual honesty to admit what it was about: they didn’t want their slaves taken away and they didn’t think African Americans were real people, and neither, really, were immigrants. Heinous reasoning yes, but we don’t see that kind of honesty from today’s secessionists. It isn’t real events that concern them but the products of their fevered imaginings – the old line used when Clinton ran was used when Obama ran – “he is gonna take your guns away and give them to the niggers.”
And they seem to have convinced themselves that this is true. Though Obama has not made any move against their guns (just as Clinton didn’t) states are busy easing gun laws. Just last month, the New York Times reports, “the Indiana legislature passed bills that block private employers from forbidding workers to keep firearms in their vehicles on company property.”
But contrary to the narrative, Obama has signed bills in the past year that allow guns to be carried not only in national parks and but in luggage on Amtrak trains! But these are inconvenient facts; they interfere with the narrative! And the narrative insists that Obama’s administration is going to take away your guns – a fear that resonates with “real” Americans.
After all, Obama is not one of them – he’s not white, and he’s either not a real Christian or not the right type of Christian (again, in violation of the narrative, Obama has kept Bush’s Religious Right-friendly Faith Based Initiative in place but this, too, is ignored).
And so in the rush to enact legislation to make it possible for people to murder each other in volumes not seen since the Wild West, the states play into the narrative of the big bad government vs. the honest, hard-working “real American” citizen, even though Obama has not taken away any rights.
Bush’s list of Constitutional violations is staggering. The First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment, there are only 27 Amendments. By my count, Bush violated a staggering 22% of them.
But where was – where is – the outrage? We hear some admission that Conservatives strayed from their “core values” during the
Bush Administration but this is lip service. Bush is no less a hero to conservatives today than he was before Obama took office.
To the contrary, though he has not gone far enough, Obama has eased some of the more egregious outrages of the Bush Administration – outrages none of these current groups complained about when they were enacted by Bush, but for which Obama is now being blamed.
But then Bush was one of them: an anti-intellectual good old boy – a conservative white Christian – a “real” American.