Saturday, January 14, 2023


Even among people who don't like them, right-wingers are generally seen as earthy, direct, plain-spoken people. Some may see them as uneducated or inarticulate, but they're also perceived as rugged and burly, fond of trucks and tools and guns. Sometimes they're seen as angry and menacing.

I don't know why they aren't seen as overwrought and hysterical.

Sure, that's how they're seen within portions of the left-liberal community. But among most Americans, they're thought of as the salt of the earth, even if their views are regarded as extreme. They're not seen as people who run shrieking from any perceived (or imagined) societal change, panicky and terrified and ready to lash out blindly.

I was thinking about this as I read the manifesto for the new House "anti-woke caucus," written by the caucus's founder, Indiana congressman Jim Banks:
We no longer live in a normal America. The issues that Congress used to take up, like healthcare, the economy, or our withdrawal from Afghanistan, all regrettably pale in comparison to the creeping tyranny which nearly all Americans now feel.

The nation’s most powerful forces—our intelligence agencies, corporations, the press, our universities, and even our military—are all pressing further and further into uncharted territory from which it’s not clear America can return....

The most toxic part of this tyranny is its doctrine—“wokeness.” Everyone has by now heard this word but it means something very specific. It means that all the so-called oppressor groups must be punished for their past and present alleged sins. There are many steps to punishing them: inducing self-hatred through indoctrination, stripping away their rights by not enforcing the laws on their behalf, public humiliation, hatred, expropriation, and ultimately violence. That’s what the Left has done so far. It’s not exactly clear yet how far this can go.
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! The woke Biden administration might even sic the army on you!
The Left has also pushed wokeness in the military. We must wonder what the Left wants to do with an anti-American military? For generations Americans never had to think about the Founders’ warnings about the dangers to civil government by a standing army. This has become an immediate question.
Also see the right's response to the suggestion that it might be appropriate to ban gas stoves in order to reduce childhood asthma -- an idea that isn't even remotely close to being enacted, and that has been explicitly rejected by the Biden administration:
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) tweeted on Tuesday. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”

... “You’ll have to pry it from my COLD DEAD HANDS!,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, paired with a video of his dirty stovetop.

“God. Guns. Gas stoves,” fellow MAGA-infused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote....

“First, the liberals came for our light bulbs,” [Nikki] Haley tweeted on Thursday. “Then, they came for our cars. Now, they’re coming for our stoves.”
Don't get me wrong -- Republicans can be very dangerous. They have some real governmental power, and will have a lot more if their party retakes the Senate and the White House in two years. Rank-and-file Republicans have guns.

But they're also comically overexcited and scared. And that should be their image.

A few decades ago, the religious right rose to prominence in America. They did a lot of damage at the peak of their power and are still dangerous -- but their ability to enact their agenda was kept in check partly by the widespread perception that they were absurd people who were terrified of harmless pleasures and wanted to impose their own ridiculous fears on the rest of us. That image suffused popular culture -- in Footloose, they banned dancing, for heaven's sake!

We try to mock right-wingers by saying that they're not bright or that they like guns in order to compensate for, um, personal inadequacies. We need to say that they're highly emotional people who think they're under threat at every moment because they're terrified.

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