Modern American Extremism

by Akim Reinhardt

There’s a lot we can learn about today’s America by observing the Mormon Church.

Last month the Church of Latter Day Saints, as its officially known, issued a strong, positive directive to its 16.5 million members. Vaccines had been proven safe and effective, it reminded them. And please wear a mask in public gatherings, it implored them. The statement’s language was uplifting and unifying: “We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders,”

It led to a backlash.

Despite this urging from the LDS’ top ranks, nearly a fifth of church members say they will not get vaccinated. Another 15% are hesitant. Some anti-vax and anti-mask members complain the church is restricting their freedoms. In response, some Mormon vaccination and mask supporters are accusing the mask and vaccine holdouts of apostasy. Even bishops (regional church leaders) are divided. In one Idaho church, bishops stood in front of their congregation unmasked to read the official proclamation encouraging masks.

The Church of Latter Day Saints has one of the most loyal constituencies of any large social organization in America. There is no unanimity of course; small splinter groups have always existed, and as with any religion, some people are always distancing themselves from the church or leaving it altogether. Nonetheless, for two centuries practicing Mormons have been bound together by faith; a history of persecution; geography; relative cultural homogeneity here in the U.S.; a rigorous schedule of activities in the home, at church, and elsewhere, all designed to reinforce membership and belonging; and by a highly organized, hierarchical, patriarchal, and doctrinaire leadership that has wielded tremendous influence over its loyal followers, who typically follow specific dictates such as no alcohol, coffee, or tea.

So if even the Mormon Church is having trouble getting its truehearted constituents to follow simple health directives overwhelmingly backed by science and designed for their own benefit, then you know this about something much bigger than masks and shots. This is about what has happened in America during the last four decades. Read more »

The Spooky Silence Of Sarah Palin — Why, For Four Long Days After The Giffords Shooting, She STFU

by Evert Cilliers aka Adam Ash

We-came-unarmed-this-time So some crazy young man (they're always men) shoots a Congresswoman pointblank through the head and sprays thirty more bullets from a gun clip he bought at Walmart, killing a 9-year-old girl and five others in Arizona, “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry” according to the sheriff of Tucson … and for four long days, the biggest mouth in American politics was as MIA as an atheist in a foxhole.

How come?

Let me tell you why.

The only thing Sarah Palin could've said that would've really pricked the nation's ears was this: “I wish I hadn't put out that map with the cross-hairs, with one of them targeting the district represented by Gabby Giffords. And I wish I hadn't talked about 'don't retreat, reload' in a political context. Gun talk and threats around guns don't belong in politics. We can agree to disagree, angrily if we wish, but we shouldn't be threatening each other. I'm sorry I added to the gun talk.”

Unfortunately Sarah Palin can't do this. Because if she did, she would lose face with her constituency. They're ALL about guns and gun talk, and they think only wuzzes apologize. She can't disappoint them. Mama Grizzlies don't apologize. They attack.

Sarah Palin is screwed by her own persona. She's boxed in by her own political posture. With no mea in her culpa, her pitbull persona has lipstick but no grace. So she has nothing worthwhile to say. Gun talk is what she is all about. How can she walk away from what she is, and what people who like her are all about?

The Tea Party extremists that Sarah Palin represents are all about threats. All about taking guns to political rallies. All about watering the tree of liberty with blood. All about taking up arms against our tyrannical government. All about “Second Amendment remedies,” i.e. using the Constitutional right to bear arms to get what they want. All about “we came unarmed — this time.” All about war and macho frontier posturing.

Sarah Palin stands for something all right: the victory of right-wing dumbfuckery in America. We're dysfunctional because we have more influential idiots in our nation than any other industrialized nation has in theirs. You have to ask yourself what kind of a nation elevates dumb-brunette loons like Michele Bachmann into our government and raging moonbats like Glenn Beck into our punditry and considers a celebrity airhead like Sarah Palin a viable presidential candidate. Anywhere else they'd be laughed out of public life, but here they're heroes. It's like the Attack of the Zombies, or the Rule of White Trash. Half the nation is not embarrassed by these blithering lunatics, and the other half puts them on TV.

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