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Wingnuts move from denying we’re Real® to denying we even exist

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, August 24, 2009 14:41 EDT
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It would be hard to imagine a worsening of the panic amongst right wing nuts over the realization that fetus-worshiping racists who believe that 95% of their tax money goes to welfare lost the election, but alas, paranoia spirals often have no obvious end point. The birthers started off with fevered conspiracy theories about how Obama isn’t a Real American®, and now they’re moving onto arguing neither are any of his voters or anyone from the past that might be considered left of George Wallace. Prepare to produce your birth certificates and have them deemed illegitimate because of the kerning, people, because the erasure of your citizenship, your right to vote, and perhaps your very existence is becoming part of the right wing parlance. Let’s start with Rep. Bill Cassidy, a congressman from Louisiana.

Democrats are choosing to “go it alone” without the country if they opt to pass healthcare reform on a party-lines basis, one Republican congressman accused Thursday.

“If they go it alone without the Republicans, it also sounds like they want to go it alone without the American people,” Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told a conservative news radio program in an interview.

This brings up some interesting questions, the first one being, “How does Cassidy think the Democrats gained power, if Americans didn’t vote them in?” If Americans are strictly against social spending, and Americans don’t vote for Democrats, then how did the Democrats get power? They didn’t pull a Dubya and have the Supreme Court call off vote counting to get “elected”, either. The Democrats not only got a lot of American votes, they got the majority. And they got a big majority, too.

Obviously, the answer in the minds of the increasingly paranoid wingnuttery is a tautological one: Real Americans® don’t vote for Democrats, thus their election is automatically invalidated. The Founding Fathers, in all their wisdom, did make one error in forgetting to strip all Democratic voters of their citizenship, even though with the fancy new computer technology we have for voting, the whole thing should be easy. You hit D on a ballot, and armed guards come to haul you away and put you out on a boat to fend for yourself as a nationless person. Shouldn’t take many of those for the rest of America to eagerly prove their Real American® status by voting the right way.

But until the vision can be fully realized, wingnuts will have to be content to rewrite history. At least in Texas, where wingnuts who get to set textbook standards are trying to write them in such a way as to teach students that liberals don’t really exist, or if they do, they live in the shadows and are basically nothing but traitors.

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks.

Under these proposed standards, students would be required to know the extensive history of movement conservatism, but wouldn’t be taught about historical figures that could be considered liberals, even if they changed history completely. One wonders how easily you can really skip over, say, MLK, but they’re itching to try. The whole thing is hilarious, because movement conservatism is a reactionary movement. It needs liberalism to exist, because that’s what it is organized around opposing. For instance, teaching about Phyllis Schlafly—who is singled out as someone that students must absolutely know about, which shows where lies the priorities of the anxious masculinity cases that are writing this nonsense—while not teaching the history of second wave feminism will be an interesting exercise in stretching those propaganda muscles. Same story with other historical luminaries that kids will be required to learn about in lieu of learning about the civil rights movement, the New Deal, the anti-war movement, or feminism: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and James Dobson. None of these vampires exist as figureheads without the lifeblood of progressivism to drink. How do you extol the virtues of oppression when you won’t admit the oppressed exist? They have an answer:

“I think, at the end of the day, we will want the young students to be able to identify what’s conservative, what’s their advocacy and who are the conservative groups, individuals and leaders. And what is liberal in contrast,” Mercer said.

They don’t need to teach about historical liberal figures, because you can just assume that they’re everyone that isn’t a conservative luminary, and you can judge them by the paranoid accusations of the right. What a bargain!

Obviously, I’m not against teaching about Phyllis Schlafly, who is an important historical figure for the role she played in fighting to maintain women’s status as second class citizens. But it’s clear what the wingnuts are afraid of. If you teach what happened honestly, Schlafly is going to come across as the monster she is. After all, this is the language of the amendment she opposed:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

I have strong suspicions that teaching of Schlafly as an American hero will have to follow her strategy of lying about and concealing the actual wording of the ERA she was successful in killing, because if you look at the facts on the ground, the conclusion is inescapable: Schlafly is opposed to the belief that women are equal citizens. And indeed, she’s written extensively about her belief that women should be the legal property of their husbands—I’ve seen her excuse marital rape and suggest that a woman who left her husband after he threw her through a wall was a screeching harpy poisoned by feminism. Most high school students are sexist, as are most people in general, but few are going to be on board with the idea that the law should legally treat women not as citizens, but as property. So their only choice is to avoid teaching the truth, and just make vague hand gestures about how Schlafly was against “feminism”, which will only be defined as the horrible thing that this American hero opposed.

They’re desperate. This has extended beyond just denying that the President is a legitimate citizen, and has moved into insinuating that most voters aren’t legitimate citizens and that most historical figures who’ve shaped our country to be what it is aren’t legitimate historical figures.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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