Mark Morford has an exceptionally optimistic — dare I say, “triumphal” — article on the collapse of the religious right today. People are reacting (in the right way, so far) to the tremendous damage the Bush presidency has done to our prestige, our security, our economy, our rights, and the legacy we’ll leave to our children, and every reasonable person that Morford knows is reveling in the growing political morbidity of the Republican party. And it was all so inevitable.
But when you come right down to it, the Great Truism has been validated once again: Righteous fundamentalism, be it Christian, Islamic, or otherwise, has the seeds of its own destruction built right into its very framework, a priori and de facto and by default. Powered by the deeply joyless engines of fear and shame, it can never quench its own impotent desires.
He also points out that the response of the Right to their impending irrelevance is an escalation — they are demanding more adherence to their puritanical and repressive dogmas, widening the disconnect between liberal ideals and conservative shackles.
We’re waiting for a lot of chickens to hatch, though. I’m a little worried.
I’m not seeing a lot of movement away from the failed policies of the neo-cons out here in the most emphatically non-San-Francisan midwest. George W. Bush is being regarded as a personal failure, and people are looking for a new neo-conservative savior — they aren’t changing their minds, they’re busy shifting blame. Look at the Republican presidential field, and what you see is the dark eye of mindless chaos looking back at you…and people will vote for one of those chthonic goblins in the next election.
Look at the Democrats. Oh, god, don’t bother — it’s like staring into a vat of jellyfish. If the Religious Right is scuttling back into the darkness in defeat as Morford says, why aren’t some opportunistic Democrats leaping up to harry them off? Is it because they’re all incredibly stupid? Because they’re cowed? Or is it because the system has been crippled to the point where it doesn’t work anymore, when even faced with a power vacuum the ‘opposition’ is tied in place by money and corruption?
Let’s not fool ourselves. Righteous fundamentalism also has its own strengths: simplistic answers, deep if misplaced convictions, and the willingness to act ruthlessly. It also has the great power to turn shame into anger, and right now they’re in embarrassing defeat. One terrorist attack, one economic disaster, and they’re back — armed and willing to do murder for the cause of their immortal soul.