Monday, April 18, 2005
by Wayne Besen
(Will Frist Choose Unifying The Right Over American Unity?)
The tolls coming into New York City from the Newark airport are absolutely, over-the-top outrageous. Anything over $15, in my opinion, is no longer a toll - it's a cover charge that requires two free drinks upon entering the city. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg has yet to get back to me on my idea.
Once home, my boyfriend Ben and I went for a walk in our Park Slope, Brooklyn neighborhood, which is really Chelsea for lesbians. In Park Slope, there are straight people too, of course. But it is very difficult to tell who's heterosexual, since the straight women have lesbian chic L Word haircuts and the men are Metrosexuals who comfortably discuss art exhibits, architecture and fashion. The one group that seems underrepresented in Park Slope is gay men.
The interesting thing about being gay in certain evolved parts of America is how uninteresting and unremarkable it is. A person declaring he or she is gay in Park Slope is no more eyebrow raising than a person declaring that he or she likes bialy bagels instead of poppy seed.
During our walk, which took us through Prospect Park, Ben and I noticed great respect for tolerance and diversity. The sunny day was bursting with effervescent springtime blooms, while people from every imaginable background walked happily side-by-side. A heterosexual couple with a baby carriage smiled at lesbian moms with their infant. Jews and Christians pleasantly nodded at Muslims and Buddhists as they strolled by. And young and old, black and white, and everyone else went about their business without any perceptible ill will.
Here, there was no culture war, just the warmth of cultures mixing. This scene represents the best of America and symbolizes the reason so many immigrants risked their lives to escape entrenched persecution in their native countries. Like their forefathers, most Americans just want to be left alone, walk in the park on a luxuriant Sunday afternoon with their families and respectfully acknowledge neighbors, even those who share different beliefs or divergent views.
Yet, there are some powerful politicians with a very different and dangerous agenda that threatens this unspoken contract of social harmony. This fanatical faction is led by Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who is willing to undermine national unity in an effort to unify social conservatives behind his 2008 presidential bid.
In the next couple of weeks, Frist may decide to take the so-called "nuclear option" and eliminate the Democratic minority's ability to filibuster President Bush's extreme judicial nominees. This radical move would amount to a government shutdown. The Democrats are unlikely to collaborate in such a puppet government, where the marginalized minority's only role is to help legitimize banana republic Republicanism.
In a metastasizing move, Frist also plans to headline "Justice Sunday" on April 24. This puritanical powwow, hosted by the ultra-right Family Research Council, is a telecast where a million fundamentalists will watch purportedly respected leaders like Frist undermine the concept of an independent judiciary.
In ads for the event, a young man is depicted holding a gavel in one hand and a Bible in the other under the headline: "The filibuster against people of faith." The toxic text reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
Not to be outdone by Frist, corrupt House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, spoke at a Washington conference, "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" fronted by "The Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration". Or is it Constitutional desecration?
For people who are so religious, why do they often appear so angry? Far from at peace, they are always at war and want to tear opponents or the Constitution to pieces.
I don't think that most Americans realize that these coordinated, unrelenting assaults on our beloved system by Frist and DeLay are not simply business as usual, but unusual business of the most odious sort. While we enjoy the park and amble in nature, these men abuse the good, trusting nature of Americans and secretly work to dismantle our free society. They cloak their dagger in religion. However, this is not about the pious, but raw political power.
Frist's dubious actions have already made him a divisive figure who has forfeited his claim to be our future president. Instead of playing to our greater angels, he panders to petty preachers who beckon our darkest demons. His potential candidacy is short on excitement and long on incitement of disgruntled, right wing agitators.
Frist may soon put our nation on a perilous collision course if he acts on his threat to squelch minority dissent by abolishing the filibuster. This move will either swell or sink his presidential chances. However, if Frist wins power by dismantling the institutions that make our nation great, what, exactly, will he be the president of? The states won't be united and America as we now know it will no longer exist.
While you can find the best of America in Park Slope, you certainly won't find it in Frist and DeLay's culture war obsessed, religiously exploitative slippery slope on Capitol Hill.
Here, here...the Religious Right is in league with the Radical Republicans, and they are at war with the very judges that they nominated...you know...those activist judges! These guys are so far out that Pluto looks like a mile marker on the way to where the Republican party is today.
posted by , at
I'm not sure I agree with you about the tolls. Not only is it important to keep people from New Jersey out of the city (even if the joke isn't founded on fact, it's still funny to rag on Jersey), but it's also important to keep out cars. If you live in Manhattan, Bronx or Brooklyn, you have no excuse for owning a car in my opinion - let alone driving a car across the city.
Frist sure is a nut-job though.
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