Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unitarians and Rush Limbaugh

To be a Unitarian is to hold 19th century beliefs of the possibilities of humanity. Back in the day, people were inspired by the progress of humans and sure that we would only march onward and upward.

The wonders of machinery promised a future of leisure, with the robber barons overthrown and the products of labor shared equally. The evidence of evolution promised an improving bloodstock. Universal education would lead to a refined and educated populace, interested in art, drama and music and kind to each other and their children.

Our hymnal is full of songs promising a beautiful future;

"As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead go crying, through our singing, their ancient song of bread! Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew: yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too! As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days: the rising of the women means the rising of the race. No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes, but a sharing of life's glories-bread and roses, bread and roses!"

"These things shall be: a loftier race than e'er the world hath known shall rise, with flame of freedom in their souls, and light of science in their eyes. Nation with nation, land with land, unarmed shall live as comrades free: in every mind and heart shall throb the pulse of one humanity. New arts shall bloom of loftier mold, and mightier music thrill the skies, and every life a song shall be when all the earth is paradise".

What happened to the dream? Unitarians dream on, but the rest of the country has moved toward the nightmare of unrestrained capitalism.

As a wise person pointed out: "You are living in the future, not your own, but someone else's. You are an interloper, trespassing on another person's revery, usurping their promised land. You are NOT what they had in mind".

My Dad, a Unitarian and a socialist, is a believer in the dream. A coal miner's son, he went to college after WW2, when the US government was trying to improve the stock of Americans. You know how everyone says that "Father Knows Best" wasn't true to their life? Not me. Robert Young looked like my Dad, and had the same name, and my Dad did his best to raise us in a kind and non-repressive way, much to my Mom's embarrassment, since the neighbors thought it was weird. I think that Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver shows were meant to model improved parental behavior.

So what happened? The 60s. Children who were treated with respect grew up and went to college and got all uppity. This was unacceptable to the ruling class.

Bye-bye, cheap education for American kids. It's cheaper to let other countries pay for their kids to be educated and then import the finished product here. Hello, James Dobson, and "beat your child for Jesus". Behold the uprising of "real" TV parents, screaming at and threatening their children. I didn't watch Bill Cosby's show much, but I remember the incessant repetition of one line from that show, which played constantly, at all hours, to "advertise" the show. (Or, to advertise new values!). "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!" Yes, the new model for parenting was to threaten to kill your child.

The attack on workers, and the worsening of our living standards and lowering of our wages, was also accompanied by millions of dollars pumped into hate machines. Flush with cash from overflowing profits, fascist capitalists poured money into right wing think tanks and media.

So where are we now? Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter spew their hatred over all forms of media. Liberals, still in the Enlightenment, believe that all views must be heard, and the truth will prevail, as Thomas Jefferson predicted. We believe in "free speech".

But all views aren't heard. You don't hear radical voices in the media. You don't hear people calling for equality and freedom and sharing of the wealth on TV or radio or the newspapers.

And it isn't free speech to have violent hatred playing 24 hours a day. Free speech is "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". How is having 5 corporations, controlling 90% of all media, paying hate mongers millions to spew their poison, free speech?

The human race is not elevated, as our ancestors so hoped. We still have lumpen proletariat. And they are easily swayed by demagogues. That's the point of corporate media losing money to present the fascist point of view. There is no direct profit in it, but to take the anger of the unemployed American and turn it from the rich, against the well-meaning? Priceless.

Americans are well armed and used to the Good Life. When the capitalists attacked the Good Life, they made sure that the arms would be used against the innocent.

The man who attacked the Unitarians blamed them for his unemployment! This is illogical! A Unitarian mind is unable to compute! We believe in rationality. And we believe in full employment. The man was misguided!

Damn right! And that's the point. The very wealthy, living in well guarded communities, traveling on private planes, having goods and services delivered, never see us and we never see them. Remember that George Bush 41 didn't know what a supermarket scanner was. He was derided for that, but that's not the point. He doesn't have to know.

And while working Americans scrape up money for food, and vent anger at the person ahead of them in line, paying with food stamps, the caviar-eating ruling class can laugh at us, while we fight over scraps.

The only thing standing between us and the murderous chaos fostered in Yugoslavia and Iraq, is to hold on to the dreams of our ancestors. We must move towards a better world, or perish in hatred and bloodshed.

We know the dreams of the ruling class. We can hear them on the radio and see them in Iraq. Our dreams are different. Hold on to your humanity and work for peace and justice.


Rev. T. Monkey said...

The right-wing has used that fatal contradiction at the heart of Enlightenment liberalism to its advantage for years.

Even in the aftermath of this shooting, in which the perpetrator echoed Coulter-O'Reilly-Limbaugh-Hannity in his hatred of all things liberal, American liberals rush to defend the speech of the douchebags whose poisoning of public discourse contributed to this tragedy instead of recognizing the targets painted on each and every one of our chests.

Thanks for the post. Too bad so few are willing to call a spade a spade in this case.

dave said...

Well-written post. It inspired to attend the CUUF meeting, but by the time I finished reading it, the service had already started. ... See you next week.

Anonymous said...

So free speech is okay, as long as everyone only says nice things, huh?

Sounds like a rather useless, toothless tool to me.

Anonymous said...

I would add one note on the tactics of the ruling class, and that is the constant baiting we endure as workers. The ruling class does not object to us fighting with each other and considering each other the "enemy." Divide and conquer still applies. And it was Robert Young.

I applaud your writing on this. My parents were Methodists moving towards Unitarianism.

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