I have to admit it. Thanks to a conservative’s friendly feedback to one of my comments, I have learned something. I’ll explain in a minute.
For some reason, I like chatting with people with a different outlook than mine. It’s not like I expect either one of us to be converted. After all, it’s really about the types of belief systems that we hold onto. The radical right believe (and believe in) their authority figures. And they always repeat the party leaders’ official line. I’m speaking primarily of the authoritarian type of conservative.
Traditional conservatives are closer to liberals by occasionally embracing open-mindedness and having more tolerance for ambiguity. Liberals and traditional conservatives share many other views, values and opinions.
Almost everyone holds some kind of traditional conservative sentiment, such as wanting acceptable and consistent living conditions with predictable daily routines. We know most of us truly value happy and healthy families, friends and communities. We want education and opportunities to be available for bettering ourselves and our children. We like having clean air to breathe and safe water to drink. Change isn’t always a desirable event in these circumstances.
Regarding my personal patriotic values, I label myself a Constitutional Conservative. I want to preserve and keep what is best about our country.
Differing views on religion, sex, politics, economics, race and culture begin to separate the opinions of liberals and conservatives. These can become contentious and heated wedge issues but are not insurmountable barriers to civility. There’s room for cooperation, compromise, and even honesty and mutual trust. Efforts toward increasing acceptance, tolerance, understanding and education reduce prejudice, and often bring about positive change. Traditional conservatives and liberals can and do get along.
The serious divergence occurs in matters of safety, security and conflict resolution. Authoritarians find little value in cooperation, compromise and tolerance. They reject the ideals of human rights and equality if they see these as impediments to their goals. They exploit religion, sex, politics, economics, race and culture as divisive wedge issues to win over people who don’t share their extremist ideology.
Others are given the ultimatum of being “with us or against us.” And the authoritarians will decide for someone, if they can’t do so themselves. They believe that only their kind know what is best for all of us. They want total control of the military and law enforcement. To further empower themselves, they seek complete and unchecked access to all information concerning anyone else, yet shroud themselves in secrecy.
The authoritarians then attempt to impose their will on others. They demand conformity and obedience. They will apply intimidation and coercion to get compliance. If those tactics fail, they will use force and violence. They will strip away legal protections and constitutional freedoms. They quickly accept the notion that the ends justify the means, up to and including torture.
They trust no one, and always resort to dishonesty. They must control or manipulate the media in order to push their agenda. The corporate media, profiting by their cooperation, unquestioningly convey the propaganda. If a news organization reports anything contrary to the radical right’s message, or exposes the leadership’s lies or outright criminal acts, we will hear them denounced as treasonous “liberal media.” And, of course, the “liberal media” promptly report the accusations, and in some instances, even apologize.
Since the authoritarians’ military aggression has resulted in extended chaos and unending bloodshed, the corporate media figured out there is still profit in questioning the regime.
Not all the corporate media, though. Their propaganda outlet at Fox Noise continues to beat the war drums for them.
The right wing talk radio still blares their message, too.
And then there is the right wing blogoshphere.
Remember Dan Bartlett, Former Bush Administration Counselor and long time inner circle member? He was discussing conservative bloggers with a Texas Monthly interviewer. He stated what we have already known, but it clears the smoke and mirrors for a second, He said, “That’s when you start going, ‘Hmm . . .’ because they do reach people who are influential…. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.”
This brings me back to my little exchange with a fellow of the conservative persuasion.
I was attempting to illustrate how politicians play the “God card” with their citizens. We know Bush has a history of this tactic. So did Hitler. I presented a quotation from each of them as examples. These were the quotes:
"The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."
- Adolph Hitler, Berlin, February 1, 1933
"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them. And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act. And if not, the elections will come. And I will have to focus on them." - George W. Bush, June 2003
The conservative gentleman simply told me. “The Bush quote is quite bogus.”
He must have been told that somewhere. He just didn’t bother to explain it.
I searched through ten pages of Google links to find the quote disputed. Sure enough, The Sydney Morning Herald had an article saying Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas denied that Bush made the remark.
I also found an article at the BBC where Abbas said, "President Bush said that God guided him in what he should do, and this guidance led him to go to Afghanistan to rid it of terrorism after 9/11 and led him to Iraq to fight tyranny," he said. "We understood that he was illustrating [in his comments] his strong faith and his belief that this is what God wanted."
OK. It was from a translation. It was both confirmed and denied by the same man. Since the quote is clearly disputed and unrecorded, I conceded the point and thanked my conservative friend, telling him, “As to the God quote from Bush, I stand corrected. I got it from the Washington Post, who reported it from the Israeli paper Haaretz (online). My point was to be wary of politicians who claim the Almighty’s endorsement. Thank you for helping my research. Believe it or not, critics of this administration want the truth. And there is very little of that commodity coming out of Washington.”
I learned my lesson. I should only use verifiable, documented, and ideally, recorded quotes from our Dear Leader. I don’t think I’ll suffer from lack of material.