Tag Archive: religious right

I have no wacky uncles. Leading up to Thanksgiving, the interwebs were full of advice on how to deal with your crazy tea partier uncle and the theories he was sure to bring to the dinner table.

This year, as usual, I was blessed with a distinct lack of crazy uncles, and a table-full of mostly intelligent, liberal to lefty people who backed Obama, believe in universal health care, science and history, think the Republicans have been irresponsible troublemakers for the better part of 4 (or 12, or 30) years, and have no patience for the tea party, in the form of Uncle Jim or anyone else.

For this, I am truly thankful.

To be sure, in my family there are wacky uncles, and aunts, and cousins galore I’m sure, who are holed up in their tight little worlds, still trying to figure out how to get that Kenyan Muslin Usurper out of the White “It’s called that for a reason, ya know” House. There is a whole arm of the family in Eastern Washington and elsewhere who, I’m sure, are planted firmly in front of Fox News on a pretty regular basis, and who take their talk radio from the likes of Rush and Hannity.

But they’re not sitting at my dinner table. And I’m not really sorry about that. There was a time in the 1980s when my brother was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh and the right wing nut jobs of that day. Even though he railed wildly on extreme themes, was dangerously lacking in fact checking, and was downright rude to my girlfriend (he didn’t speak directly to her for 2 years), you could, sort of, have a conversation with the guy. Because he was a thinking man, after a while he shifted his views to more of a progressive Libertarian stance, and eventually  worked hard to get Obama elected in 2008.

Even back then, conversation was at least possible.

But the New Millennium version of the family right-wing nut job is a lot harder to deal with, and I’m very happy not to have the arguments of this era over the holiday meal. My larger extended family of right-wingers does their holiday on their own these last few decades (probably with Fox News tuned in somewhere in the background). At my own Thanksgiving table, we sit much in accord with each other, and it improves both the conversation and the digestion.

There are differences, to be sure, along our Democratic-to-Libertarian spectrum, but it’s founded in basic common ground: government, though prone to the failings of any large bureaucracy, can do good, and is how we pool our common interests and resources. All people are valuable. Religious freedom is serious stuff, and has nothing to do with protecting extreme Christians from having to acknowledge the very existence of other faiths or no faith. Women (and men) should be able to determine their own medical needs. A family is a family, straight, gay or otherwise. Education is valuable. Science is based on careful research and analysis. The world is not 6000 years old.

And I’d like to think that if a whacky uncle or three sat down at the table, we’d all be strong minded enough to actually have a great conversation together, to agree to disagree, to keep it sane out of sheer numbers, so many of “us” speaking truth as we see it to “them.” And I’d like to think we’d change some minds, open some doors, sweep the blight of right wing media lies from Uncle So-and-So’s thinking.

But I must admit, I’m glad I don’t have to.


16 September 2009

Seems to be a theme today…

Right Wing Watch today reports on this lovely press release on the Christian News Wire site.  Randall Terry comes up with another bizarre protest tactic:

On Thursday, 9/17 and Friday 9/18, Various Pro-Life Groups Will Stage Protests at High Schools From Noon to 1:00 P.M., Showing Pictures of Aborted and Healthy Babies — the Same Pictures Jim Pouillon Was Showing When He Was Gunned Down

[…]“We will not be intimidated into silence. We will continue to show images of aborted babies at high schools, no matter what the cost.


“President Obama condemned Jim Pouillon’s murder – which is good – but he said nothing about protecting pro-lifers. At least by going to Sidwell Friends School, we know we will have police protection. ” Randall Terry, Director, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex.

Protests will be held on Thursday from Noon to 1:00 in DC and Baltimore, and the following Schools….

Sidwell Friends School is, of course, where the Obama girls attend school.  Why the other schools were picked I do not know.

This upcoming event offends my sensibilities.  To protest at schools seems really slimy, and I’ve thought for three decades now that showing pictures of supposedly aborted fetuses is over the top sensationalism.  My thoughts spin off in a few directions.

First:  I would certainly not approve of anti-war protesters showing off pictures of mangled soldiers at protests, in front of a school or otherwise.  Pro-choice activists don’t hold up pictures of women who died of botched, illegal abortions (and those pictures, too, can be gruesome).  It’s a sensibility not restricted to the abortion issue.  I haven’t liked seeing pictures of prisoners undergoing torture either at rallies to pressure an investigation of US torture of prisoners.  I support anti-war efforts in general, and also ending torture of prisoners (or anyone), so my perspective isn’t skewed by being unsupportive of the folks who would be sporting such signs.  My objection is to the… well, objectification.

Second: the posters featuring the bodies of supposedly aborted fetuses (and I obviously have my doubts) depict older, more developed bodies, suggested that these are late-term abortions.  What a violation of the privacy of families who’ve no doubt undergone a great deal of trauma in electing to abort in the face of dire medical consequences.  That’s why women have late term abortions, and damned few women (fortunately) are faced with that choice.  The posters play to the most reactionary of our senses.

Third: The martyr attitude plays off the “see, we’re targets of violence from you lefty heathens!” muttering that’s been going on since Pouillon’s murder.  After numerous targets on abortion providers which have resulted in several murders, maimings, and wholesale destruction of legal health clinics, I don’t think this particular killing merits martyr status.  We don’t even know what the shooter’s stance on abortion was, just that he didn’t like Pouillon’s signage.  It’s not a pattern.  I have great sorrow over the killing of this protester – no one should be killed for speaking their mind, no matter how offensively – but I don’t see the martyr connections.

Fourth: High school students?  Really?  Come on, it’s just a bald-faced, jerky thing to do, a slimy sensationalistic tactic to draw the eye and work off of fear and gross-out gut reactions from teenagers.

Randall Terry, this is low, even for you.

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