A couple of months into Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans and teabaggers began chanting they wanted to take the country back. They did not say exactly how far back in time they intended to take the country, but there were indications they were thinking about the 1950s and in some instances, the 1930s. There were plenty of articles mocking teabaggers for wanting to go back to the Dark Ages, and although there are Christian Reconstructionists who would like to revert to Mosaic Law, the consensus is that most conservatives yearn for the fifties. Now that Republicans are in power in the House and many governors’ mansions, there is little doubt that America is indeed being legislated back to 1950 and it is a disaster for anyone who is not a wealthy, white Christian male.
The first clue that conservatives were serious about going back to the 50s was the Texas Board of Education textbook committee whose revisionist history dictated that the civil rights struggle never happened, the separation of church and state is false, Joe McCarthy was a heroic figure, and Thomas Jefferson was not an enlightenment figure of prominence. Apparently the Texas group decided to adopt history to fit America’s reversion to the fifties. Now Americans are witnessing conservative legislators rewriting laws that mirror 1950-era America to literally take the country back in time.
Joe McCarthy terrorized Americans with investigations of Communists and the Red Scare, and along the way ruined countless lives with accusations and what amounts to a government witch-hunt. McCarthy has been resurrected in the person of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who is conducting his own House witch hunt into radicalized Islam, and like McCarthy, King is casting a wide net over all Muslims based on the word of a couple of witnesses. In McCarthy’s era, a single accusation could land a person on a black list and King is going further by labeling Islam and its adherents as radical terrorists. They are different groups, but the anti-American accusations are identical.
In states under Republican control, minorities and low-income Americans are being singled out for voter intimidation and unrealistic Jim Crow-type laws because they tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Through subterfuge, lies, and dirty tactics Republicans defunded and ended Acorn because newly registered and minority voters tend to support Democratic candidates and causes. Some states in the South are attempting to require citizenship papers, property tax bills, and literacy tests before a person is allowed to vote. In some states, college students are not allowed to vote unless they can prove permanent residency if they attend school in a state they do not live in. The theme is clear; it is suppression of Democratic voters and it is being manifested in the union-busting schemes in Wisconsin and other Republican controlled states with the assistance of Fox News and the Koch brothers.
In both houses of Congress, Republicans consistently vote against equal pay for women and there is a movement to put women out of the workplace and back in the kitchen. Women have made progress, but they still only earn 75 cents on the dollar that a man earns for the same job. Republicans are also on a campaign to deny a woman’s choice with their own reproductive rights. Supreme Court Justice Scalia proffered the opinion that women do not enjoy equal rights under the law as outlined in the 14TH Amendment. The progress the feminist movement worked so diligently for is being rejected in favor of the 1950s when women were expected to stay home, give birth, and clean a man’s chamber pot.
In the 1950s, it was against the law to be a homosexual and many states had laws forbidding gay people the right to work. Although Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, gays are under attack from opponents of same-sex marriage, and in some states, legislators and Christian groups are making plans to criminalize homosexual activities. In some Southern states there are movements to restrict gays from teaching or interacting with children at the behest of Christian Conservatives like Virginia’s attorney general.
It is absolutely shameful that in 2011 Republicans are passing legislation to send the country back nearly 60 years and the level of support the “reversionists” have received is remarkable. In the 50s, the law favored white Christian males, and Republicans are heading in that direction by targeting gays, women, non-Christians, and minorities to deny their equal rights. However, this is not a new line of thought in America or a resurrected movement because it never went away based on the age and gender of teabaggers and neo-con leaders. They are generally older white males who claim to be Christians and are clinging to an era when they ruled America. Women, minorities, gays, and non-Christians were subservient 60 years ago and did not enjoy the same rights as white males.
Younger conservatives who did not live through the fifties support returning to white male-dominated America because they are opportunists and supremacists. There is still a belief that America is white, Christian and male-oriented. The belief is similar to Nazi Germany and their twisted ideology that the Aryan race was superior. The mystery is why women, gays, poor, or minority Americans support Republican laws and ideology that subjects them to subservient roles in America. Many pundits have often questioned the intelligence level of Americans who vote and support policies that are against their own self-interest, but there is no reasonable answer. It is interesting that conservatives long to return to the 1950s in all things except infrastructure improvements and the tax rate. The wealthiest Americans in the fifties paid over 90% in income taxes and the country prospered to become the great nation it once was.
America’s finest days are behind us if we allow Republicans to turn back the clock on freedom, equality, and civil rights. Older white males desiring to return to the 50s belie the “greatest generation” label they have bestowed on themselves, and if the United States is going to survive and compete in the global community, it has to progress beyond 1950; the country was doing that until a Black man was elected president. Perhaps the old white men who want to regress to the days of McCarthyism, subservient minorities and women, and white-only elections see their dominance waning and it frightens them.
The America Republicans claim was exceptional perished and progressed into the 21ST Century with the rest of the world, but progress in intolerable to conservatives. They are vindictive, power hungry extremists, who are like wounded animals losing control of the country, and instead of moving forward with the rest of the world, are destroying America for a fallacious belief that white males are superior and deserve to rule the world. If they want to revert back to the fifties they should do so in their own homes, but everyone who is not a white male should be allowed to decide for themselves which era they want to live. The one thing old white males will not allow is for people to make their own decisions, and if it takes legislating America back to the 1950s, they will continue until America is irrelevant. It turns out that the greatest generation of white Christian males is nothing more than America’s shame.