Some right-wing extremists want to throw out baby with bathwater.
The latest example of that all-or-nothing attitude surfaced recently, again, when so many radical Republicans rapped Earth Day as some kind of demonic rite of spring.
Case in point: District 11B Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria). She commented about Earth Day, in a tweet message, “Absolutely infuriates me – a celebration of a Pagan holiday, worship of Nature and not God’s Nature.”
What’s the difference between the pollution of Pagan Nature and the pollution of God’s Nature? Franson, won’t you please enlighten us?
She was referring, indirectly, to a website of the American Federation of Teachers. That site gave suggestions as to how teachers can work Earth Day projects into lesson plans – for example, testing the effect of toxic fumes on seedling development. Wouldn’t you know paranoid extremists would find something “wrong” with that!
Franson is just one of the radicals who excoriate any or all of the following: science, the environment, the U.S. Department of Education, teachers’ organizations, religions that don’t quite “measure up” to Christianity (their version), safety-net programs for the working poor (and, increasingly, for the sinking middle class).
Many of these same folks believe – astonishingly – that evolution is a monkey-brained atheistic notion; that global warming is a plot to keep the United States from being a world industrial power; that liberals, intent on creating a godless welfare state, love nothing better than to “attack” Christianity; that people who defend a woman’s right to have a constitutionally legal abortion are all “baby killers” and that college students–burdened with debt – should blame only themselves because they wait for advantages to “fall in their laps” – as one congressional right-winger recently put it. Oh, and not to forget, Obama is a Muslim with a phony birth certificate.
These irrational attacks against environmentalists began in the 1980s when toxic tactics were developed in right-wing “think-tanks.” Such attacks have increased in the past few years, spurred on by Big Oil money and Tea Party extortionists who have yanked formerly reasonable Republicans to the extreme right.
They believe there is really only one big problem – ”big government.” The only antidote is utterly unfettered free-market forces. Anything proposed by a (God forbid!) Democrat, especially Obama, is automatically not only wrong but evil.
Their locked-in attitude is “Us” (God-fearing Christians) versus “Them” (godless big-spenders). As if this life is all just a big football game – the Goods vs. the Evils. Theirs is basically a Medieval Era world view. In that respect, they have much in common with Islamic extremists. Do these science-deniers also believe the world is flat?
The forces of reason, science, economic justice and compassion will prevail – hopefully starting on the next Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.