The Republicans have gotten No-Go Zone Fever; they can’t shake it. But it’s like watching take off a meme about the moon being made of poisonous cheese that’s going to fall on our heads. It’s so obviously absurd.
And then I think of Fox News’ Mexicans sneaking across the border with their anuses stuffed with drugs a few years back, and then it became explosives in their anuses, and then came ISIL and Ebola, and then ISIL and Ebola working together and Mexicans sneaking across the border with Ebola, and before that, it was Benghazi.
For six years we have listened to Republicans invent a fake and increasingly bizarre reality from which to attack our first black president. They complain about no-go zones, but they seem determined to turn America into a no-go zone. A no-go zone for people who disagree with the invented reality they want to impose not only on us, as American citizens, but on the world.
Their reaction to President Obama’s SOTU the other night had an air of the unreal about it, with John Boehner blaming Obama of all people for income inequality, and Ted Cruz complaining to Megyn Kelly, “he just doubled down on the same failed policies of the last six years, more and more taxes and spending and death…”
Failed policies? Where has he been? Not with the rest of us, apparently.
What they are creating is a no-go zone for facts, like passing legislation (H.R. 1422) that would prevent scientists from advising the EPA in areas where they have expertise. You know, like climate scientists. Because the facts are not helpful to Republicans and their corporate owners, they want to replace actual scientists with industry “experts” who know a lot about how to extract oil or natural gas but nothing at all about the climate or environment (and who could care less).
Or H.R. 4435, which, because Republicans don’t like the Pentagon dealing with the reality of global warming and its threat to national security, as ThinkProgress explained, “forces the Defense Department to ignore the findings and recommendations of the National Climate Assessment and the IPCC’s latest climate assessment, specifically with regard to the national security impacts of climate change.”
“You can’t change facts by ignoring them,” said Mike Breen, Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project, and leader of the clean energy campaign, Operation Free. “This is like trying to lose 20 pounds by smashing your bathroom scale.”
But that is exactly what Republicans think they can do. They ignored them or legislated them out of existence under Bush, and they are more than willing to do it again under Obama.
Just look at some of the other absurdities they want us to accept:
- The Keystone XL’s 35 permanent jobs somehow equates to 40,000 jobs;
- That there is no global warming, even though, as President Obama pointed out in his SOTU Tuesday that, “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century”;
- That it’s not rude to clap when President Obama says in his SOTU that, “I have no more campaigns to run,” but it is somehow rude for Obama to respond, truthfully, “I know, because I won both of them”;
- That there are “no-go zones” in Europe even though there are no “no-go zones” in Europe and even though Fox News has admitted that it was wrong multiple times and despite lack of any evidence of no-go zones in Europe (see the point about reality is crap, below);
- That there is a Benghazi conspiracy even though their own House Report that is the “definitive word” on Benghazi says there is no Benghazi conspiracy (see the point about reality is crap below);
- That reality is “crap” and we should ignore it when we don’t like it and invent a reality more congenial to our biases;
- That a bill – H.R. 30, the oxymoronically-named Save American Workers Act – is somehow not only a bill designed to “save American workers” but also somehow a jobs bill. But it doesn’t actually create jobs and is designed to not save, but hurt workers, stripping healthcare from them – at least a million of them says the CBO – circumventing the Affordable Care Act by defining full-time employment as 40 hours per week instead of thirty, the point at which employees currently become eligible for medical benefits;
- That another bill – H.R. 37, the so-called Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act – “would reduce the regulatory burden on Main Street workers and businesses” when in fact it is an attack on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. What H.R. 37 actually does, says the White House, is “unnecessarily puts these working and middle-class families at risk while benefitting Wall Street and other narrow special interests.” (Statement of Administration Policy here).
If all of this has a sense of the unreal, it is because it is all based on fantasy. Even post-SOTU Republican fact-checking involved simply inventing facts to pit against the claims made by the President. And that’s not how it works. Fact checking, by definition, is checking claims against actual facts. Otherwise, the process is meaningless.
The ultimate effect of this is that America will become the ultimate no-go zone, a place where reality – the scientific underpinnings of our universe included – is not welcome. Now it’s all fine and dandy to indulge in fantasy, but there comes a time you have to turn off the video game and get back to work. It’s one thing to remind our kids that their video game isn’t reality, but our kids aren’t running our families. That’s what adults are for.
Do you see the problem? Republicans want to replace the laws of physics and say, “This is how reality works now” but you can’t legislate reality out of existence. We shouldn’t have to remind the guys who are supposed to be running the country that none of that stuff they’re saying is actually true. That it’s all a fantasy. An America they would like to have. Not an America that is. That the sea levels are going to continue to rise whether scientists are allowed to talk about it or not.
Feel like you’re trapped in a nightmare yet? You should.
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.