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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Griper Blade: Republicans in Search of New Scapegoat to Hate

"We hate Muslims! Grrrr!"

Protester with 'NO MORE MOSQUES' signRepublicans had hoped to ride a wave of fear and hatred into office, because that's what they do. So they glommed onto the cause of a lunatic backwater blogger, helping to whip up a frenzy of terror over a community center project in Manhattan. It all went pretty well for a while; gullible people really did start freaking out, terrified that the "Mosque at Ground Zero" (which isn't a mosque and isn't at ground zero) meant that terrorists were building a "victory mosque." This went on for a while, but the wave crested too soon and things started to get a little out of hand. "Hot issue" became "hot potato" and suddenly the Park51 project wasn't so important anymore. The Summer of Hate was over and the prospect of a long Autumn Without Hate loomed. It mustn't be allowed to happen.

Since the Cold War, Republicans have been nothing without enemies. They aren't a peacetime party. We're still at war, sure. Two of them, in fact. But the problem with long wars is that they become wallpaper -- if it's always there, you stop noticing it. Muslims were perfect enemies, because it reinforced the far right belief that Bush's War on Terror was really a war against Islam. The wars, although widely ignored now, could be reflected at home. And, like the Cold War communists, terrorists could be everywhere Republicans wanted them to be. So don't think they've dropped the "Muslim automatically equals terrorist" propaganda. It just got a little too hot there for a while, so they had to put it down for a bit. It'll be back.

But Republicans found themselves without enemies within. The "we hate gays!" wedge they'd previously used to divide the electorate had become dull; the GOP may hate them, but most people don't. Polling shows the public is split on the subject of same sex marriage, for example, with opinion moving rapidly against the "we hate gays" position. That territory is being lost, so it was time to retreat from it as well. Who would be the interim boogeyman, scaring the electorate until it was safe to demonize Muslims again?...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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