Why the right scares me

Matthew Brophy

While some might worry themselves about what’s scary about the political left, I think it’s important, in counterpoint, to consider what’s scary about the political right. After all, the last politician I’d be concerned about is Ralph Nader; I don’t really think his 3 percent of the vote should keep anyone up at night.

As a citizen, I think there’s more reason to be scared about the conservative right: how they shanghaied the world’s highest political office in the 2000 presidential elections, fabricated reasons to attack a foreign nation, are contaminating secular government with religious ideology, etc. But maybe that’s just me.

I really think what scares me the most about the political right is their warped character. I’m not really sure if it’s their callousness toward others, their rabid individualism, their righteous selfishness or the fact they’re just generally evil.

For example, the right would diminish public funding and make taxes income-blind, so the poor would suffer even grosser hardships. The right would have the government leave children to die in the streets rather than have the government “impose” any taxes in support of social programs (taxes that, admittedly, might severely inhibit the wealthy from buying more yachts).

The right would dub the mentally ill, the illiterate, the handicapped, the single mothers, the forgotten veterans, the impoverished children as “lazy” – so the rich can drive their luxury SUVs through the inner city without twinge of conscience.

The right would pilfer the already insufficient coffers of public education, even if that would critically injure the educational opportunities of the poor. They would squander natural resources and defile the environment in order to pander to rich corporations. The right would have government cater to lobby groups and legislate – not what the people want – but what a few rich and powerful people desire.

Given their libertarian ideals, the right would let money and political power congeal into one fat-cat aristocracy that, if unchecked, would eventually force 99 percent of us into squalid poverty to the benefit of the ultra-wealthy 1 percent. The right would unleash economic markets to run riot, resulting in monopolies, concentration of wealth, price gouging, exploitation of workers, etc.

The right would legislate uncontrolled access to guns, even if the proliferation of guns in our streets and neighborhoods would result in significantly more gun violence and deaths of innocent people.

On a more positive note, the right would promote “family values” (“family values” being their euphemism for homophobia and the subjugation of women). The right would also paternalistically deny a woman liberty to her body as well as prohibit life-saving medical advances because it conflicts with the mythology taught in Sunday school.

OK, admittedly, I’m being a bit unfair in my ranting – and perhaps even a bit satirical; certainly this seems an unconstructive way to argue. After all, stereotypes, distortions and oversimplifications don’t capture with any true intelligence complex political issues, nor does it maturely engage sophisticated political positions and ideologies. Perhaps rather than vilifying and belittling each other’s political views, we should try to understand a diverse set of viewpoints. Only when we stop politically stereotyping, exaggerating and misrepresenting can we make any true progress as a democratic nation.

Matthew Brophy’s biweekly column appears alternate Wednesdays. He welcomes comments at [email protected]

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