The degradation of discourse in the public sphere

Rise of fascist politics: xenophobia, hate-mongering, patently simplistic scapegoating, frothing at the mouth, a reversion to simplistic binary thinking and extreme hyperbole, a glaring disregard for the historical record when uttering accounts of the past or present

Former leaders considered fascist: Mussolini, Franco, Hitler

“Let’s beat the other side to a pulp!” Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, shouted to the last stand of Tea Partiers on Sunday night. “Let’s chase them down! There’s going to be a reckoning.”

From Timothy Egan’s  blog today at NYTimes:

“[T]he defining images of opposition to health care reform may end up being those rage-filled partisans with spittle on their lips. Whether the outbursts came from inside Congress — the “baby killer” shout of Rep. Randy Neugebauer, and his colleagues who cheered on hecklers — or outside, where protesters hurled vile names against elected representatives, they are powerful and lasting scenes of a democracy gasping for dignity.

Now, ask yourself a question: can you imagine Ronald Reagan anywhere in those pictures? Or anywhere in those politics? Reagan was all about sunny optimism, and at times bipartisan bonhomie. In him, the American people saw their better half.

The Republican Party has taken some of the worst elements of Tea Party anger and incorporated them into its own identity.

Compare that to the closing days of a week that will soon be chiseled into the larger American story. One Democrat, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, said he was called a “wetback” by Tea Party hecklers at a meeting a few days before the vote. Black members of Congress say they were spat on, and called racial epithets. Bricks were thrown through the office windows of two other Democrats. And now, the inevitable death threats.

From the leader of the opposition, at least, was expected a level of decorum. But instead, Rep. John Boehner, the Republican who wants to be the next speaker of the House, predicted “Armageddon,” and shouted “Hell, no!,” his perma-tan turning crimson in rage.

But it’s always better to be building something than destroying it. John McCain had a positive campaign slogan in 2008 — “Country First.” This week, he vowed “no cooperation for the rest of the year.” This is an adolescent living in the shell of a former statesman.

Having welcomed Tea Party rage into their home, and vowing repeal, the Republicans have made a dangerous bargain.”

From Wikipedia (full article here) :

Fascist governments forbid and suppress openness and opposition to the fascist state and the fascist movement.[20] Fascists reject and resist autonomy of cultural or ethnic groups who are not considered part of the fascists’ nation and who refuse to assimilate or are unable to be assimilated.[21] They consider attempts to create such autonomy as an affront and threat to the nation.[21]

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One Response to The degradation of discourse in the public sphere

  1. Montana says:

    Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) have been “haters not debaters”. In my opinion this is what the small portions of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. They are good at “Follow the Leader” of their dullard leaders, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think? The world is complicated and most republicans (Hamiliton, Lincoln, Roosevelt) believe that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them are just going along and fanning the flames.

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