This post is going to be a little different. It’s not going to be specifically about the war on our wildlife. It’s going to be about the war on the very bedrock principles of our society and how a radical element became mainstream and looks to destroy it under the guise of “reforms.”
Definition of “conservative:”
Growing up, through my early years as an Army Reservist, and working in the Law enforcement field I had always considered myself a “rule of law” independent that even leaned to the right on many issues. I still believe in the rule of law but my axis has shifted more and more to the left with each passing year especially since 2008. While I believe that President Obama sold us a line of crap that progressives bought hook, line, and lead sinker the alternative was even more horrifying. My leftward shift really took root when I saw how the right was celebrating someone like Sarah Palin. While I respected McCain (at the time) I was horrified that he would choose someone that was so utterly revolting that the sound of her voice literally made me nauseous and angry at the same time. This was the beginning of a significant chunk of Americans celebrating ignorance and stupidity and making it mainstream. It was horrifying. Then came the emergence of the Tea party and the increasing influence of their Koch Brother puppet masters. While I am no fan of the “Panderer in Chief,” Barack Obama, the blatant and open racism and ignorance that this group openly celebrated absolutely filled me with dread. Then the midterm election of 2010 came and a huge number of these Koch fueled nutbags were elected to governorships, Congress, and to state legislatures. My transformation to full blown progressive came following the election and subsequent “bomb dropping” of Scott Walker here in Wisconsin. Even before the 2010 election that put this goon into power alarm bells were going off in my head about this guy. Wisconsin has never really been known as a bastion of intelligence, outside of Madison (I’ve lived in the state all my life), but the dullard nature of this guy for some inexplicable reason resonated with the yokel community of this state that was bitter at the election of (gasp) a black man to the presidency. Of course that was not the only reason. A constant diet of Faux News and other Koch fueled propaganda scaring people about “socialists” and “minorities” added fuel to the fire.
To appease his rabid Koch fueled yokel and big money base, Walker made sure to declare all out war on public employees, the environment, the poor, education, and women as his first orders of business. The sane among us were horrified at what this guy was trying to do so a recall petitions were circulated and a massive number of people signed on to remove Walker from office and restore sanity. Unfortunately this effort failed and it only emboldened Walker to become more extreme and take his Koch fueled decimation of everything “progressive” or “liberal” national.
In the midst of Walker’s rise to power those around them found out that orange is indeed the new “black” as they found themselves in the very same prisons that Wisconsin famously likes to put so many African American men into. Six of Walker’s close associates and donors found themselves convicted on a myriad of charges that included stealing from a veterans fund to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Somehow Walker kept emerging from these scandalous activities unscathed. Either state and federal prosecutors are not doing their jobs or there is something bigger at play. As someone that up until recently beloved that the rule of law still carried weight I kept out hope that the law would catch up to the blatant corruption and cronyism that Walker and the legislature under his thumb participate in. But that hope appears to be futile as these so called “conservatives” seem only concerned with conserving and enhancing their power rather than the rule of law. The existing law gets in the way of lining your pockets with lobbyist money? “Reform” it. The existing law makes it illegal to coordinate with “dark money” right wing front groups? “Reform” it. Existing environmental law makes it difficult to sell off pristine and ecologically sensitive lands to rape and pillage mining interests? “Reform” it after you get a $700,000 bribe. Nothing fishy there. Walker’s own hand picked board of killing cartel and big ag lobbyists only go along with his agenda 99 percent of the time? Take away all their power and give it to a high school graduate, turned real estate developer, turned DNR Secretary, under the guise of “reform.” The minority party wishes to do their jobs and debate laws put forth by the party in charge? Nope. We can’t do that. “Reform” it. Don’t like that a college mission statement actually espouses that education is good for humanity and searching for scientific truth? “Reform” it. A federal judge makes a ruling explicitly based on the rule of law and you don’t like it? Write a law that vacates that ruling and weakens the Endangered Species Act in the process. Shall I continue? I could go on with hundreds of more examples of this “conservatism” and “reforms” but I don’t feel like typing for the rest of the week. The term “reform” is now used as a substitute for the word dictate in the quest for consolidated power with one person or branch of government at the state level and eventually federally.
Every time I hear a Koch fueled “conservative” like Walker or Taconite Tommy Tiffany talk about being “conservatives,” making “reforms,” and espousing the “rule of law” my blood boils. The only “rule of law” that matters to these people is the laws that they make or agree with. All Americans should be horrified by this type of “conservative” and their “reforms.” I used to be astounded that people would support and vote for people like Walker and Taconite Tommy but not any more. People scoffed at the idea that the backlash against Obama and the rise of the Tea Party had anything to do with race or how different Obama was from prior presidents. Those same people aren’t doing much scoffing anymore after seeing the open racism being exposed by right wing hate radio, astroturf Koch front groups, and propaganda “news” outlets like Fox (Faux) News. Obama has been an complete and utter disaster for wildlife and the environment and I don’t offer much support for him because of that not because his skin tone is darker than mine. For the Teahadists this is quite the opposite. I never thought that blatant attacks on the less fortunate, gay, “minorities,” women, and even the rule of law itself would become mainstream. I expect the gutter slime to spread their hate and fascist worshiping ideas under the cloak of anonymity on the Internet but now entire “news” networks and radio outlets are devoted to the open espousing of these toxic ideas. I like to think that one day people that consider themselves “conservatives” will ask themselves “what the hell are we doing” feeding this monster?” I am not holding my breath though.
Where have we seen this mob mentality and extreme hatred lead our species toward not that long ago? When did the “rule of law” become something to mock and change on a whim? Are there any reasonable “conservatives” among us that have the guts to speak out against the Walkers and Tiffanys that are destroying our very societal foundations and making a mockery of the rule of law? Anyone? I’m not holding my breath for this either.
I hope that I am wrong but I believe that we are seeing the decimation of our society to coincide with the decimation of our wildlife, wild lands, water, and even the air we breathe. There is no force that can equal the power and lust of greed and control. When small-minded men attain such power we are all doomed. Those that enable them are just as guilty as those attaining that power. The biggest mistake that we can make is underestimating these people. All one has to do is look at a certain failed artist and former corporal in a major European army during the First World War to see where folks like these people want to lead us toward.
Think I am over-exaggerating? Every single thing that American progressives or “liberals” hold dear is under attack. Social safety nets are under attack. Healthcare is under attack. Public lands are under attack. Protection of wildlife is under attack. The very air that we breathe is under attack. Even more horrifying is the number of so-called “Democrats” that either stand by or join with the factions assaulting these things. When did it suddenly become a “political liability” to stand up for the environment or wildlife? For social justice? For democracy in general? Is this the kind of society that you want to live in? Where bullying, lies, and demonization of all that is good is mainstream? Where the rule of law is now a punchline for power hungry politicians? It doesn’t have to be this way but we need to stand up and speak out against what the anti-democracy fascists are trying to do to our county. I am not seeing much of that. Are we going to just roll over and let them take our country and the very foundations of our society away from us or change them on a whim? We cannot let that happen.
Please join me in speaking out and standing up for what is right. We need a real “occupy” movement full of average every day citizens and not fringe elements. We need real political progressives that are willing to stand up to the big money interests and vote for people and our fellow species rather than greed and endless wars. We need people willing to stand up for what little remains of our wildlife and wild lands and prevent attempts to weaken their protection and increase their exploitation. That is what it is supposed to mean to be an American. To speak up and to fight for justice and the rule of law. Are we going to let them take even those remaining principles away from us? It’s up to you.