Friday, July 21, 2006

Sacred Hamburgers

I'll Have A Big MacGuffin With Cheese, Please.

Pseudo-Adrienne's comment about life ending at birth, under my post about President Bush valuing embryos over actual human beings in Lebanon, reminded me of a thought which I've posted pieces of here & there, but never as an actual post of its own; basically about the Republicans' shamelessly insincere use of props and symbols.

Consider all of the sacred entities that the Republicans claim to be defending:

Babies. Republicans speak of embryos and fetuses as though they are actual babies (as long as they're not fertility clinic surplus, of course) They are ineffably precious and must be protected at all costs... until they're born. Once a potential baby becomes an actual baby, all that reverence and compassion and Culture Of Life goes away, and Mommy and Baby are on their own. When was the last time you saw Republicans advocating for more paid maternity leave, or better postnatal care, or financial assistance for poor single mothers?

Troops. Our Brave Young Men In Harm's Way must always be supported, but for Republicans, that support is strictly non-material. Instead of pressing for more and better armor and equipment to protect the troops from physical attack, Republicans seek only to crush dissent at home to prevent the troops from being somehow demoralized. (I would love to see a pollster ask the troops which they would prefer, an end to antiwar talk, or more armor.)

But even the Republicans' patronizing concern for troop morale rings hollow, as they have no problem with using stop-loss programs to keep troops in Iraq for extended tours against their will, or supplementing them with unaccountable mercenaries who make 10-20 times as much money, or putting them in position to do monstrous, soul-killing things.

And as with fetuses, once a troop transforms from an active-duty soldier to a veteran, the Republicans completely turn their back on him.

Marriage. Marriage is very important to Americans, so much so that the Republicans want to pass a constitutional amendment to protect it... from gay marriage. Not from adultery or divorce, which have obvious adverse effects on marriage (although I'm not advocating the criminalization of either), but from The Wrong Sort Of People getting married. In other words, cheating on your spouse doesn't devalue marriage, but letting queers into the exclusive married-people club does. This is naked homophobia masquerading as family values.

Security. This has been the Republicans trump card since 9/12/01, that they are the only party dedicated to keeping America safe from terrorists, but in fact most of their efforts have been dedicated to the exact opposite. They invaded Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban, yes, but they also let Osama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora, failed to secure the country against a Taliban resurgence, and then invaded a country with no ties to al Qaeda, destabilizing the region, tying up military resources, and creating countless new terrorists. And on the home front, they have dragged their feet on securing Soviet nuclear materials, consistently opposed legislation to improve port and plant security, or to route hazardous material traffic away from major population centers. Even their supposed attempts to improve intelligence via torture and illegal surveillance have led to resources wasted chasing down false leads.

Democracy. What could be better than democracy? Republicans love democracy so much that they want to spread it all over the whole world. Free speech, free press, separation of church and state, free and fair elections, civil liberties, rule of law - all that good stuff. Unfortunately, the very values they claim to be fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan are the very same values that they are fighting against in this country. And with far more commitment and success, I might add.

These are the most pernicious and high-profile examples I could think of, but I'm sure there are hundreds more. The Republicans have managed to cynically and dishonestly position themselves as the heroic defenders of Babies, Troops, Marriage, Security, and Democracy, when in reality they are indifferent to them at best, and actively hostile at worst. Worse yet, they have successfully painted Democrats as the dastardly enemies of all these things Americans hold dear. This is yet another example of why the media is so very important, and why the Democrats need to be more savvy and aggressive, calling bullshit on the Republican framing and spin every chance they get.

2 comments:

karmic_jay said...

very good post. Our men in uniform must always be supported with yellow ribbons (made in china) stuck on our huge SUVs. Thats all that is needed really.

Eli said...

Everything about the Republicans is based on the triumph of image over reality.