The United States has always had it’s radical, rabid, right-wing contingents.
Probably the one quality they’ve all shared throughout the centuries is their resolute resistance to change. Often coupled with their reactionary tendency is religious zealotry, bigotry, racism, shallow-mindedness, stupidity, a woeful lack of education, chauvinism, misogyny, servile loyalty to the houses of wealth and power and, last but not least, a love of tradition for the sake of tradition.
For this reason, conservatives are fairly easy to manipulate. Conservatives have always been kind of dumb, and kind of mean, and that’s what keeps them together. They validate each other’s world view. The ruling class knows this, which is why they maintain their power by pandering to conservative bigotry, and exploiting conservative ignorance.
With a wink and a nod, and sometimes directly, conservative powers tell their followers and supporters that it’s okay to be a little racist, because in doing so you’re being real. It’s okay to think that Jesus is the best God there ever was, and that every other religion is some kind of devil’s playground. It’s okay to hate gay people, because it says so in the Bible, etc.
Today, the words conservative and Republican are interchangeable, but only when applied to people and events after the 1960’s. Before that, conservatism was more closely associated with the Democrats, and before them the Tory’s.
We can trace the spirit of this pervasive, anti-progressive belligerence back to the Revolutionary War. From there it’s but a hop and a skip to the Civil War. After that we had to wait about 120 years for the Reagan Revolution to transpire, when the phrase “Greed is Good” literally became a right-wing rallying cry, and “Got AIDS yet?” was the funniest homophobic gay joke at the country club.
Post Reagan we had a very brief period of quasi-centrist policy under George H.W. Bush, but with the election of Bill Clinton came the birth of Newt Gringrich’s Contract with America which was ultimately a draconian anti-tax “me first” policy, a policy of “party before country” and “win at all costs” even if it meant shutting the government down–which it did.
Without a doubt, that was bad, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen the kind of conservative insanity we have today, and I think that’s mainly due to one distinct media agency established in the mid-1990s: Fox News.
From its very inception twenty-five years ago, Fox News lied. And Fox News still lies. Fox News has always lied. Almost everything on Fox News is about ninety percent lies, and the ten percent that isn’t a lie is merely the fluff of Fox News patting itself on the back. “America’s News Headquarters!”
There are Fox clones, of course, and all of them basically echo the same talking points as if reading from a script, but Fox News is the biggie. The grand daddy.
Fox News will always lie, and when the day comes that Fox News can no longer freely disseminate lies, then Fox News will cease to exist as we know it.
The funny thing is that virtually everybody on earth is perfectly aware of this fact except for one salient group of people: the conservative Republican idiots who watch Fox News.
At present, despite all evidence to the contrary, Fox News is still pushing the lie that the election of 2020 was somehow rigged and dishonest, and that Trump was cheated out of a second term. This implies that Biden is an illegitimate president, which is a very dangerous precedent the likes of which I don’t think this country has ever seen before.
This lie eventually lead to an insurrectionist storming of our nation’s capitol on the afternoon of January 6th, 2021 — an insurrection planned and fomented by none other than Donald Trump himself and a handful of his enablers.
Five people died, and we were lucky it wasn’t worse. Much worse. That was fifteen days ago, and the Republicans are acting like it never even happened.
One would think that after witnessing such an event, the entirety of it motivated by damned lies spewed by a conman…one would think that Fox News would be more careful about making false claims about stolen elections.
But they’re not.
Because that’s their job.
Fox News is the greatest single threat our nation’s ever seen.