To be clear, there are lots of reasonable folks among Republican ranks. There are those who can live their faith without beating people over the head with it. There are those who agree that while some social programs work, many need a trimming. These folks are perfectly patriotic, yet understand the problem of waging war on a credit card. They understand that the role of conservative ideas is to check the excesses of liberal side, and vice versa, because things work best in a relative balance.
This piece is not about them.
This piece is about the Tea Party rhetoric I see on display in the comments of the Messenger website, and it is troubling indeed. So it’s time to call it like it is, but to do so, let’s compare the Tea Party with the Taliban, so nobody thinks I’m just making this up for no reason.
PURE IDEOLOGY: Tea Partiers think that liberals or any people who disagree with their views hold evil, anti-American motives. The Taliban think that anyone who disagrees with them has anti-Afghan aims. I saw this comment just last week in the paper. “Relativism is a symptom of the illness known as liberalism.” That’s some dangerously absolutist thinking right there.
SCRIPTURAL LITERALISM: As the Taliban believe with the Quran, the Tea Party devoutly believes every word in the Bible to be taken at face value, and not subject to interpretation.
DENIAL OF SCIENCE AND FACTS: If it doesn’t conform to their current worldview, any information is denounced as “lies from the pit of hell.” Translate that to Arabic. and I’m pretty sure the Taliban would concur. Also, remember the comments after the 2012 debates about fact checkers?
DEMONIZING EDUCATION: Just look at the way people reacted to me talking about classes and professors at Weatherford, the way they think of universities as fostering a “liberal elite.” Then think back to how the Taliban managed to put that idea into law in Afghanistan.
LEGISLATING CONTROL OF WOMEN: Stemming from the above, the fundamentalist Taliban barred women from an education, relegating them to an underclass of citizen. Our Tea Party seeks to impose law on their bodies. Clearly they’re at different steps, but the underlying idea is similar.
XENOPHOBIA: Blame the immigrants and foreigners, they say. Anyone who doesn’t look or talk like us must be met with suspicion at least, hostility at most. So says the Taliban, as well.
HATRED OF COMPROMISE: Our way or the highway… if they can’t get their way, then the Tea Party will logjam the system so nobody can get theirs. We need look no further than Congress to see evidence of this, whereas the Taliban’s preferred method of imposing such is violence. It’s the same idea, with a different tactic to implement.
So, there’s the comparison for all to see, one of similar ideas from different absolutist theocrats with different holy books, in different countries, in different stages of development. Now that we’ve seen this kind of thinking for what it is, it has become an electoral liability, leading to Karl Rove’s intent to purge it from the GOP.
With apologies to lay, sane people of every faith, it’s no wonder people become atheists.
Angelou del Angel
Dallas (formerly Bridgeport)