The Greatest Hits of Wingnutapalooza


Right Wing Watch has some of the highlights from The Awakening, last weekend’s Wingnutapalooza in Florida, which featured a Who’s Who of crazy and stupid. Bradlee Dean delivered his usual stemwinder, full of ignorant statements and half-truths. Like this:

Several speakers said Christian parents have no business sending their children to public schools. Right-wing radio personality and anti-gay activist Bradlee Dean, who markets his presentation to public schools, called public schools a “cesspool of indoctrination” and said “you can’t justify having your kid in a public school.” Taking the Bible out of schools, he said, opened the door to Satanism. He warned that the International Baccalaureate program used in some schools is teaching children to disarm and promoting homosexuality.

Sounds like a good reason not to invite Dean to speak at a public school, doesn’t it?

“This president is emulating dictators. Do you not understand that he is not playing games? If you look at Mao Tse-tung, this boy is emulating Mao Tse-tung to a T. You know what Mao Tse-tung did, he went to the younger generation, he overthrew the Republic of China to implement what? Democracy. Who is the last president that actually acknowledged that we are a republic? Reagan. Every president since has continuously inundated the next generation with the fact that we are a democracy. That is dangerous, guys.”

I get so tired of this idiotic claim that “we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic.” They’re the same goddamn thing. Democracy is defined as:

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

And republic is defined as:

a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

It’s the same fucking thing. If you’ve been repeating this cliche, stop it. As for Reagan recognizing this non-existent difference, this is the president who said:

Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

OMG! Reagan believed in democracy, which is evil! Even though it’s the same thing as a republic, which is good!

Comments

  1. lofgren says

    I don’t think it gets any more racist than that.

    Really? If that’s the most racist thing you’ve every heard, I want to live in the alternate universe where you live.

  2. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    He warned that the International Baccalaureate program used in some schools is teaching children to disarm and promoting homosexuality.

    *snorfle*

    I did the International Baccalaureate program in Cegep (that’s the last year of high school + first year of college for the non-Quebecer).

    Somehow, with all the language, philosophy and science requirements I completely missed the “Promoting Homosexuality” and “Disarming” classes.

    Seriously the IB program is excellent preparation for college. If you go through it, you shouldn’t have any problem with whatever you choose to do in college.

    Which is probably the point of discouraging good xian kids from enrolling in it. Gotta keep ‘em ignorant, sorry, “simple”, so that they can be used as easily controlled cheap labor by our corporate masters keep the Lawd in their hearts.

  3. Pyra says

    “This boy” really made me gasp out loud. Wow.

    And the “republic” vs. “democracy” thing really amused me during 2003, when we were “bringing democracy to Iraq.” Really? We hate democracy but think we should bestow it upon Iraq? I heard people say both of these things nearly in the same breath… “We’re not a democracy, though.” “We need to bring democratic freedom to Iraq.” Ugh, the dumb… it still stings.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Mao Tse-tung let 37 million Chinese starve to death during the Great Leap forward. Obama has not yet done that… or maybe he has and the librul media has covered it up.
    “emulating Mao Tse-tung to a T.”
    We should lock up this idiot in a room full of survivors from Mao’s regime and let them express their disapproval of having their suffering trivialised by Dean.

    Dean is not even bothering with dog whistles. Someone give him a “Don’t re-nig” T–shirt.

  5. matty1 says

    You know what Mao Tse-tung did, he went to the younger generation, he overthrew the Republic of China to implement what? Democracy.

    1. I’m guessing the younger generation thing is a reference to the cultural revolution, which was after the defeat of the ROC

    2. Mao implemented his own variant of Marxism not multi-party democracy

    3. China today is the Peoples Republic -so is republic a good word or ungood?

  6. says

    Actually, Ed, a republic and a democracy are NOT the same thing. “Democracy” describes who has power, while “republic” describes how power is exercised. Rome was a republic, as was the city-state of Venice; neither were democracies. Athens was a democracy, but not a republic.

    In a pure democracy, you end up with policy dictated by popular whim and fashionable opinions rather than the rule of law. This is why the Framers were very careful to describe the US as a republic: in a pure democracy, laws and policy are determined by the whim of the masses. They created a country where the power of the people was tempered and limited by the Constitution: a democratic republic, not one or the other.

    Which is why I find this particular flavor of wingnuttery so amusing. They screech for a republic, because it gives them a framework to limit popular opinions such as equal marriage and equal rights. Then, without a shred of cognitive dissonance, they screech for a democracy, because the limits of a republic limit their ability to create laws and policy on their own whims.

  7. says

    @lofgren #3 – The racism could be more blatant, sure, but after dismissing the most powerful man in the world with “this boy” anything else would be gilding the turd.

  8. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    China today is the Peoples Republic -so is republic a good word or ungood?

    I guess it depends.

    Ungood if it’s got “People’s” in front of it. Probably good in their minds if it’s got “Christian” instead.

  9. Who Knows? says

    Really? If that’s the most racist thing you’ve every heard, I want to live in the alternate universe where you live.

    About 40 years ago when I was in basic training, speaking to a black man I said, “Oh boy” which in context was meant to mean something like, sarcastically this is going to be good. The black man took immediate offense and let me know in no uncertain terms to never call him boy.

    I apologized and tried to explain that it was just as saying that meant something completely different than how he took it and I meant no offense and would not do it again.

    It seems to me that racism is in the eye of the beholder and for a white person to address a black man as boy might just be one of the most racist things ever. Especially when the white person is named Bradlee and he’s talking shit about the first black President of the United States.

  10. slc1 says

    As I recall, the former Soviet Union described itself as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

  11. matty1 says

    Based on usage I hypothesise that Republic means nation without a monarch and democracy means system where the citizens control government either directly, as in Athens, or indirectly through representatives.

  12. lofgren says

    for a white person to address a black man as boy might just be one of the most racist things ever.

    More racist than a lynching or 400 years of slavery?

    Jesus, people. Get some perspective.

  13. dean says

    He warned that the International Baccalaureate program used in some schools is teaching children to disarm and promoting homosexuality.

    Not a rare belief. There is a strong presence of this attitude in Grand Rapids, MI, and one of our former school board members here in Portage believed this too.

  14. dingojack says

    Republic is dervived from the Latin ‘res’ & ‘publica’
    res: “a thing, object, matter, affair, business, event, fact, circumstance, occurrence, deed, condition, case”
    publicus: “of the people, of the state, done for the state, public, common”
    Source: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary .
    Dingo

  15. slc1 says

    In accessing the posted link, it should be noted that the “conference” had token Afro-American Harry Jackson and token Jew, Pam Geller. Uncle Toms the both of them.

  16. Who Knows? says

    More racist than a lynching or 400 years of slavery?

    It’s is the relationship of the use of the word “boy” to the history of systemic racism, lynching, and racism that makes it one of the most racist things ever. These things are all related and closely tied together.

    Take your eye off the microscope and look at the big picture.

  17. =8)-DX says

    Ed, as has been mentioned above, equating “republic” and “democracy” is just plain wrong, both historically and ethymologically as well as current usage.
    Democracy is a form of government based on public voting. Modern representative democracies are not “pure” democracies, because the people only elect representatives to rule them, instead of voting on policies directly. But these representatives also decide based on votes. A republic on the other hand, is form of secular government kept in check by a constitution.

    The statement that “America is a republic not a democracy” is just plain wrong, it’s BOTH. But there are plenty of examples of nondemocratic republics and democratic non-republics. Simple examples: The United kingdom is a so-called “constitutional” monarchy (despite not having an official constitution). It’s a democracy, but not a republic. Conversely my country, the Czech Republic has been a republic (originally federated with Slovakia) since 1918, but during the 50 years of communist rule it was definitely not democratic. There were only sham elections and political parties apart from the communist party were illegal. You could carry on with examples of current day or previous monarchies with democratic rule, and authoritarian (non-democratic or only partially democratic) republics.

  18. =8)-DX says

    *Democracy is a form of government based on public voting
    From another point of view democracy is a process of coming to decisions through different forms of voting – you can have democratic processes in company decision-making, in academia, etc. That doesn’t make them republics.

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ed, if you re-read those definitions, you should see why right-wingers like Dean hate democracy and prefer a republic:

    government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

    This implies that there are few if any barriers to participating in the process. Anyone would be be able to vote: the. Rich, the poor, men, women, heterosexual, GLBTs, theists, atheists, ex-convicts, etc..

    a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

    It’s that “entitled” part that should be grabbing your attention. The right believes that only certain people should be allowed to vote or hold office; whites, men, landowners, etc.. Anyone who does not fit their narrow criteria can’t be trusted with the privilige of participation; they would vote themselves “special rights” or “bread and circuses.”

  20. caseloweraz says

    That bit about “teaching children to disarm” caught my eye. Wow — school kids today are routinely packing heat! Who knew?

    But then, how come our schools aren’t safer?

    Seriously now, I think Dean is just jumping on the Obama is out to grab our guns” bandwagon that seems to be rolling again. Yesterday I read a HuffPost story about a gun group in Tennessee raffling off an AR-15. What made it noteworthy, beside the claimed purpose of resisting Obama, was that they touted the AR-15 as the same type of weapon used in the Sandy Hook massacre.

    Predictably, a coterie of NRA types piled into the comments, repeating the same lies about Sandy Hook even after they were debunked with links. If their bodies were as impervious as their minds, they wouldn’t need guns.

  21. says

    @=8)-DX #20 – From what I remember of high school government, you can have a representative democracy without it being a republic, as your own example of the UK illustrates.

    The US is a republic because we have a written constitution that outlines how government works for the public good (res publica.) Rome, Venice and Genoa were republics even without written documents, as the traditions of governance made changing those traditions difficult. The UK is not a republic because the processes of governance are simply laws that can be changed with a legislative act: in theory, there is nothing to stop Parliament from reintroducing feudalism or absolute rule by the Crown.

  22. says

    @Akira MacKenzie #22 – That’s not necessarily a valid argument. In Athens, for example, all citizens could participate in the politics of the city, but citizenship was restricted only to men of a specific economic class and heritage: slaves, indentured servants, women, foreigners, and people descended from foreigners (up to, I think five or six generations) were not citizens. Nonetheless, Athens was a democracy.

  23. watry says

    I was an IB student my last two years of high school. Great preparation for college. In fact, as far as my general education classes went, IB was much more difficult and I just flew through them. And guns and homosexuality, IIRC, were never even mentioned. Best guess, the international part sets off the wingnuts’ ‘furriner’ alarm.

  24. cheesynougats says

    All this discussion of “republic vs democracy” misses a point: These differences are way too fine-grained for Dean. Are we sure the primary reason of the right wing using “republic” isn’t that they’re supporting the Republican Party, rather than the Democratic? Seems a bit more direct.

  25. Moggie says

    =8)-DX:

    The statement that “America is a republic not a democracy” is just plain wrong, it’s BOTH.

    Just like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea?

  26. lofgren says

    Take your eye off the microscope and look at the big picture.

    I could say the same to you. A white man calling a black man “boy” in a derogatory fashion is racist due to its links to that history of oppression.

    On the other hand, that history of oppression is racist all by itself. It doesn’t have to allude or link or dog whistle to some other context. Sundown towns aren’t racist because they call back to a time when black people were more severely oppressed. They’re super racist even in a vacuum.

    I doubt this ranks amongst the top ten most racist things that Bradlee Dean has said about Barack Obama in the past 30 days, let alone the most racist thing ever.

  27. dingojack says

    Lofgren – did you mean: ‘The long history of oppression is racist in itself because it is founded on the idea that value and rights of differing races are unequal’ ? (Not that the ‘history of that oppression’ is racist, that is that the study and dissemination of that history is a racist activity, but that the reason that there was a history of oppression [within the US?] was due to racism).
    Dingo

  28. Chiroptera says

    Bradley Dean: If you look at Mao Tse-tung, this boy is emulating Mao Tse-tung to a T.

    And remember, kids, when the wingnuts complain about Obama emulating Mao, it’s not because of warrantless wiretaps, holding people without filing charges, or a lack of transparency. It’s because he wants to provide better access to health care for the non-rich.

  29. oranje says

    So since their attempt to shorten Democratic to Democrat in every talking point didn’t completely take hold, now they’re trying to make democracy in general a dirty word?

  30. shouldbeworking says

    Canada is a democracy, but not a republic. It was described in my school days as a constitutional monarchy.

  31. slavdude says

    Republic is the institutional form of a government, whereas democracy is the basis on which the republic rests, based on my knowledge of history. Thus, as slc1 pointed out, the R in USSR stood for “Republics”. Hussein’s Iraq was also a republic in form if not in content. At least countries whose names contain the word “republic” can have some claim to accuracy there, though those with the word “democratic” in their names are almost always anything but.

    Modern constitutional monarchies such as Canada or Japan structurally are republics, with the difference that the head of state (the monarch) is not (usually) elected.

  32. birgerjohansson says

    Early medieval Swedish kings were elected (by the bigwigs) but I doubt it would be called a democracy. The early Icelandic republic was a democracy, but the absence of any executive branch makes it too weird to fit into any category.
    — — — — — — — — —
    “Taking the Bible out of schools, he said, opened the door to Satanism”
    which is why all Scandinavians are practising Satanists :)

  33. lofgren says

    Dingojack, I can’t tell if you honestly can’t tell what i meant, or if you’re just being nitpicky and excessively literal towards me in retaliation for me being nitpicky and excessively literal towards Gregory in Seattle.

  34. dingojack says

    lofgren -The first time through I was going: ‘wait now, teaching the history of racism is racist all by itself!?!’ It took me a couple of times to get what you were saying.
    I just think the wording could have been clearer (not that I did any better, obviously).
    Dingo

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