CNN was on the TV this weekend, and I happened to walk by as they were showing live coverage of Ted Nugent's rally for Republican Senate candidate John Raese in Charleston, West Virginia. Mostly it was the usual conservative Tea Bagger exhortations, but then he said this:
"It's not good versus bad ... it's good versus evil.This sends a chill up my spine.
Any living, healthy, thriving society is full of strong opinions and dissent, and part of that dialog must include respect for those who disagree with you. I might argue vehemently that the Republican platform is wrong and will lead to catastrophe. They might counter that my politics will lead to socialism and a big-brother state. But as long as we keep arguing, we'll be OK. We'll rant and rail at each other, but somewhere in all the smoke and noise, we always manage to find a middle path that works.
But when Ted Nugent claims that God is on his side, that the other side is evil, democracy is in trouble. That's the stuff that leads to dictatorships, crusades and pogroms. By making that stupid remark, Ted Nugent put himself in the same category as Osama bin Laden and the Ayatollah Khomeini, men who claim that God actually endorses their opinions over those of their opponents.
It's utterly laughable that Nugent believes the creator of the universe is so petty that he'd come down and take Ted Nugent's side in an argument. It demonstrates an incredibly small mind.
The problem is that nobody is laughing. Nugent and his ilk (that would be the Tea Baggers) actually believe what they're saying. And that's a scary thing. Because if a political party believes their opponents are evil rather than merely misguided, you're headed for a totalitarian theocracy.
Evil is a very strong word. It's OK to incarcerate evil. It's OK to kill evil. You can justify all sorts of evil acts if it is to rid the world of a greater evil. Torture? Yeah, we feel bad about that, but we're ridding the world of evil! Banning the opposing political party? Gosh we'd like a dialog, but they're run by Satan!
The Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for associating with Nugent and his hate speech. They should be proud of their politics, and be willing to argue about their platform honestly. When they start invoking Satan and evil, they forfeit the debate.