Monday, December 06, 2004

Over the weekend, I happened to hear a few minutes of conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved. Initially, I thought "surprise, surprise, another right-wing radio talking head." Wasn't this guy reviewing movies not too long ago (on, of all places, PBS television)? And now he's an expert on all things political for the far right?? But then again, the NY Post had their thoroughbred racing handicapper "transform" into a cranky right-wing political pundit. Only in America, the land of opportunity!

Anyway, Medved was droning on about the absurdity of Christmas in our schools, specifically the apparent "extreme" steps being taken to keep the Christmas season benignly neutral when it came to our kids. He asked who would be harmed with some overt showing of Christmas symbols or the occasional singing of some holiday classics like "Jingle Bells" or "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." He was annoyed and perplexed.

How classic. Over the last four years, GW/Cheney, the GOP and the religious right have succeeded in changing the climate of the country to one of censorship and a universal lack of tolerance. There can't be any debate here. Yet, the truth of the matter is they want just certain things vanquished, but not other things. Hypocrisy once again is the word that best describes the right wing. What they truly desire is selective censorship. Put a stop to Sex Ed classes in schools, yet by all means allow Christmas. Stop Howard Stern, stop Saving Private Ryan, stop the Reagan movie from being aired on network TV, but oh by gosh by golly, allow Rudolph to shine his red nose in our public schools!

Look, do I disagree? I realize any reasonable person would say let the public schools celebrate Christmas -- but also Hanukah and all of the other holiday traditions and ceremonies. BUT THAT'S NOT THE MAIN POINT HERE. The main point is the right wing should not be surprised when censorship occurs in a manner not to their liking. They've worked diligently to create this atmosphere of purge and fear and in the process, it has become self-feeding or self-perpetuating. Recall when former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer warned that people should watch what they say in the post-9/11 world, setting the precedent for McCarthy-ish repression when it came to freedom of speech and expression. In fact, many of the network affiliates that decided not to air "Saving Private Ryan" are on record stating they were free to do so but opted not to for fear of future fines from the FCC, i.e. they censored themselves.

Congrats right wingers, you have achieved your objective! Oh, I know, sometimes the censoring goes against your wishes, but then again it's a tricky thing to navigate the tidal wave of intolerance & threats once you set it in motion. Recall the Patriot Act ran roughshod over many liberties that troubled several of your own (Bob Barr, etc.). But alas, you folks have only yourself to blame, and it's only going to get worse (which in some ways will be a good thing, hastening the GOP implosion, causing the soma-induced public to finally take notice and fight back, etc.).

God (please, oh please) Bless America.

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