The problem my friends is that the lunatic fringe is hardly a fringe when it numbers 40% of the voting population. It seems that every slimeball, every conspiracy buff, closet racist and disgruntled redneck has found his or her hero.
Once they were restrained by a culture that was built of the idea that such things, like toilet paper hanging from the back of one’s drawers, was sort of unmentionable in polite society. Ideas that usually were only blurted out late Thanksgiving evening after too many beers had loosened tongues and released pent-up inhibitions are now being tossed about with gay abandon. They seem to enjoy being able to shout out obscenities in public and have their photo taken while verbally taking a crap on the living room rug.
Now during my lifetime I have met and dealt with that kind of people, most often when stationed with a bunch of locals on ships homeported in the defeated formally rebel states. But usually, they kept their real feelings among shipmates of a kindred spirit. In other places, I also know that there were people whose idea of Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty was really quite suspect, but at least they knew enough to control most of their ugly thoughts. most of the time.
With the rise of a fascist wannabe the rocks have been overturned and instead of slithering creatures shunning the bright sunlight, he has given them an open forum to express some of the ugliest thoughts and ideas ever promoted by civilized men.
Perhaps the most disturbing segment of the radical right is the support from what are supposed to be Evangelical Christians who have abandoned the principles of Christianity to support the neo-nazis, the racists and the plainly disgusting members of the vocal right-wing mob. Why, because they apparently are consciously ignorant of the meaning of the well-known observation of Martin Niemöller:
” ….First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak out for me…..”
And they do it to advance one specific theological doctrine, dear to them, which they seek to impose on the rest of our social order of diverse philosophies. They have refused to speak out and now find themselves in a conjugal political bed with people for whom the essential Christian principle;
“…. For I was hungry, and you gave me food,
I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.
I was a stranger, and you took me in.
Naked, and you clothed me,
I was sick, and you visited me,
I was in prison, and you came unto me.
In as much as you have done this unto one of the least of these my brethren,
you have done it unto me ….”
It has become a meaningless phrase. A token of base metal.
What a shame it is.