Bill Maher seems to have put a punctuation point on the 2012 election cycle when he said conservatism today is “just being a dick”. How do you disagree with that? Republicans are dicks, and it’s pretty obvious from Karl Rove on down. They seem to revel in their dickish behavior, sucking every ounce of joy out of life with their selectively cruel legislation.
Sadly, despite all this dickishness, as George Lakoff points out, they’re better at selling their ideology. This was true when Dick Cheney ran…er, George W. Bush ran the country and it is true with the Mormon King wannabe Mitt Romney trying to usurp democracy.
Can things get any uglier? Sure! The Republicans could actually win in 2012, which would be the last time in American history Democrats were actually allowed to have a say. Following a Republican victory in 2012, America will move forward on a one-party model. Liberalism will be delegitimized and Democrats disenfranchised. Fundamentalist Christians and corporatists will finally have the vision of America they have wanted to impose for decades.
Sure other countries will laugh at us. But Republicans will have their fingers on the nuclear football, which may make the future of democracy a moot point. After all, they can safely throw all the nukes around their dickish behavior dictates because Jesus is going to touchdown either in Jerusalem or Independence, Missouri, and fix everything.
And he’ll get the ball underway by initiating the biggest holocaust in human history, one that makes Nazism’s efforts look like burning a bug with a magnifying glass. Everybody is going to die in that one. All except the righteous Jesus freaks, or so they believe. It will be a sad end for American democracy, but perhaps a fitting one.
Someday, perhaps, if any humans survive, scholars will ask, where did the European Enlightenment go wrong? The answer would be that it didn’t. The answer would be that people just stopped thinking and started believing. When Tug McGraw said, “You gotta believe!” he didn’t mean people should turn their minds off.
Turning your mind off is pretty easy when you’re being a dick. I don’t imagine anyone thinks bullies spend a lot of time thinking about what they’re doing and bullies are the ultimate expression of dickishness, probably what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of as orcish behavior.
One thing Republicans and bullies (and orcs for that matter) have in common is a totalitarian mindset, which explains a lot about being a dick when you think about it. As Wikipedia informs us,
Boy does that sound like the GOP or what?
It has also been suggested that a prejudicial view of subordinates can be a particularly strong risk factor. Some doctors have argued that a bully reflects the environment of his home, repeating the model he learned from his parents.
And isn’t that exactly what Maher was talking about?
“I’m not trying to slam these kids, because being an asshole is totally understandable when you’re fourteen,” Maher says. “But my point is to Republican adults. When 14-year old boys sound exactly like you do… maybe you should rethink the shit that’s coming out of your mouth.”
Like dickish father like dickish son – not a great name for a TV show but it encapsulates conservative family values and the need for Hitler Youth, er, I mean Jesus camps, rather well, along with an abiding hatred for higher education where people might have their eyes opened to the world and disregard their trailer trash upbringing.
Wikipedia goes on to note,
Further studies have shown that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying. Research on the self-esteem of bullies has produced equivocal results. While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others can use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels empowered.
Yeah, we are definitely talking about Republicans here. What other political party beats people up when they ask questions?
This sound entirely too much like a frothing Führer spectacle. I don’t think anyone will disagree that National Socialism was the ultimate in thuggish dickishness and the Führer Principle is nothing more than the Dick Principle, embodied by the childish rant “Do what I say!”
The bad news for Bully-in-Chief Norquist is that when he came to Capitol Hill to read them from the Good Book, of the 236 out of 242 Goppers who had signed his tax pledge, ”at most 20 members” showed up, reported The Hill.
As the Maddow Blog opines, Norquist wouldn’t have shown up at all if he wasn’t the least bit concerned that people might be having second thoughts about his dickish mandate. We might note here too the comment of Professor James Ceasar of the University of Virginia, related to the governing body of the University of Virginia in the wake of its removal of the school’s president:
Anytime someone feels the need to declare his or her authority, it is a sure sign that that power is slipping. (Remember Al Haig‘s “I’m in control here” moment?) Consent does not come on command.
So dickishness truly does abound and far from wondrous are its ways.
And speaking of dicks (Jimmy Kimmel would say “asshole”), I’ll end where I began, with Bill Maher and with an even bigger dick, a dick BOGO in fact – Bill Maher and one of the biggest dicks of them all in fact, Allen West. The other day, taking to his blog, Maher said,
“[T]he idea that the blame for our government’s dysfunction is equally shared by the parties just is a giant, steaming mound of horsesh*t and anyone who has paid attention to politics over the last 20 years knows it. Or as I like to call it, ‘The Rise of the Party of the Apes.'”
Maher illustrated his point by pointing to something Barney Frank had recently said about another conservative dick:
“…people have said to me, well, why can’t you work out things with the Republicans and my answer to my friends has been: Exactly on what issues do you think Michele Bachmann and I can compromise?” Basically Barney is saying, look, how do you expect me to work on the 2+2=4 bill when the other side believes math is a liberal plot to turn your kid queer?”
Or take Allen West. Seriously, take him to the padded cell and give him 20 CCs of the high test. Ornstein and Mann start off their Post op-ed by noting that recently Rep. Allen West said that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. And not one Republican said, “Allen, come on. You’re making us look dumb.” Not one of the Republican candidates for president said anything. Because in today’s Republican Party, that’s not even edgy anymore. They probably saw him later on and were like, “Word, Allen. Word.” Because that’s how they think black people talk.
Allen West was equal to the task of being a real dick by unveiling an emailed fundraising image that completely misrepresented what Bill Maher said:
Allen West certainly does not lead the party of the apes – that’s West’s hubris talking and as Marcellus Wallace famously said, “That’s pride FUCKIN’ with you! You gotta fight through that shit! ”
But Republicans are totalitarians and they want to embrace that shit, not fight through it. And you know what they say about pride: pride goeth before a fall. Let’s hope it’s true in 2012 because then maybe Goppers like West will see the truth of something else Wallace said:
“You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t.”
We can make that happen in 2012, and if the image of West’s ass turning to vinegar (sort of a reverse Jesus miracle) doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
[10:10 am]: updated to reference James Cesar’s 6.24.12 opinion piece in the Washington Post.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.