OK, boys and girls, geeks and nerdlings…
I normally don’t like to do this kind of thing too often but I feel compelled to put on my adult grown-up hat, get serious and generally beak off, putting in my two cents about something I feel people should be caring about but don’t.
And here it goes…
An odd and disturbing phenomenon is taking place south of the border, at least that is how I see it from my perch here in The Great White North.
The political spectrum is undergoing a bizarre transformation. Or rather, the perception of the political spectrum is undergoing a bizarre transformation in some segments of American society.
The way I look at it, once one end of said spectrum disappears, the remainder is viewed to have shifted in a way that adjusts to the new reality.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say there are nine fictional justices on an imaginary Supreme Court bench. Three liberals, three moderates, one of whom leans to the right, and three conservatives. Over the course of a generation, the three of the make-believe liberal justices are replaced by two moderates and a conservative. There are now no liberals on this pretend Supreme Court… there are five moderates and four conservatives. A good portion of the conservative punditry and electorate, though, now views the new make-up of the high court as being composed of four conservatives and four liberals with maybe one justice whom they consider moderate. This skewed perception is then hammered home on many of the conservative media. In print, on radio and television, the message is repeated over and over to the extent that even in the popular imagination, it is accepted.
Time has allowed a new generation to forget what an actual liberal is like. Agenda becomes reality or at least how reality is perceived.
Moderate is the new liberal. Liberal, or what used to be liberal, is now the ‘radical left.’ And in some quarters, what used to be called the far right is now being portrayed as ‘main stream’ while the old left and many moderates are being labeled ‘lame stream.’
Now, in the normal course of things, once labels outlive their usefulness, they fade away.
No one except the most die-hard wacko talks about ‘commie pinkos’ anymore or the ‘red menace’ or the ‘yellow peril’ or whatever paranoïa du jour some extremists fear lurks under every bed.
Women don’t talk about being ‘liberated’ anymore, just like they don’t talk about being ‘suffragettes” or ‘abolitionists.’ Once a social revolution is complete, the language used to describe it dies out.
But the general rule seems no longer to apply these days. The terminology is merely refitted so that there is always a ‘loony left’… it’s merely trimmed and tailored so that it can be slapped on whatever is convenient.
Take the expression ‘activist judges.’ If a judge does something some conservatives dislike, he or she is labeled an ‘activist judge’ who needs to be replaced with a conservative or rather ‘someone who will apply the constitution.’ This is regardless of the fact that the judge in question may very well have been nominated and supported by a conservative president. If, however, a judge does NOT intercede and neglects, refuses or otherwise fails to do something some conservatives want him or her to do… for example, declining to act or intervene in a certain situation… that judge is also labeled an ‘activist judge’ who needs to be replaced, again regardless of the fact that he or she was a conservative nominee. In this situation, the constitution is once again raised as a standard to rally like-minded people to the cause.
As a friend of mine recently said, “They can create a new energy source from all the founding fathers spinning in their graves!”
The effect of the above is to polarize the parties even further, denying the electorate a moderate voice in politics. While there are plenty of conservative Democrats holding elected office, there are no more liberal Republicans in the style of Nelson Rockefeller. They’ve been silenced or squeezed out. Conservatives seeking public office must now pass a litmus test to ensure political purity. Failure to do so earns them the epithet RINO (Republican In Name Only) and the scorn that is sure to be heaped upon them by the more vociferous of the right-wing talk-show hosts.
Regardless of your political stripe, all concerned citizens should be aware of what is happening to the discourse, rhetoric and political landscape of your country.
It’s painful to watch. And it concerns me deeply.
OK… now I can take off my adult grown-up hat and continue preparing for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse!
The phrase, ‘Even in Utopia, There’s Myopia’ comes from the Doonesbury comic strip by Gary Trudeau, April 19, 1976, as set out below: