Nameless, Faceless, Hordes

This morning my Twitter feed presented me with this:

This guy – Pastor Carl “Obama is an anti-Christ” Gallups – pissed me off and I hadn’t even had my coffee to soften the blow. Gay dystopia? More “social rot” to come. He’s worried about “The Gays” and how if we all kiss at once, God will vaporize the Earth as punishment. This guy is a pastor! He has followers. People listen to him. People actually think this crap is rational and real.

I’ve read The Republican Brain, by Chris Mooney (which I highly recommend, by the way) and a lot of other material about how conservatives are different from liberals and I think I’ve got a handle on it. I understand that the difference exists, but I don’t understand how it survives.

One of the most frustrating aspects is their need to dehumanize any group they don’t like into nameless, faceless hordes out to destroy the very fiber of America. Yes, everyone generalizes to a point, but that point on the right tends to be MUCH more dire and extreme – the end of the world as we know it.

For conservatives it’s important that the hordes not be individual human beings. If they thought of these threatening “others” that way, they might have to have either some sympathy or some empathy for them and couldn’t make the broad generalizations and sweeping policy statements that they do.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is why they are so tone-deaf to anyone whose life experience is different from their own and they have so little compassion for them. It’s easy to say “Throw the dirty illegals out! We are a country of laws.” It’s harder to look Juan and Maria Sanchez and their three kids who’ve lived next door for ten years in the eye and say the same thing. Seeing them as people weakens the conservative stance.

For instance, Gov. John Kasich equates teachers with self-centered teenagers and wants to take their lounges away because all they do is complain to each other and whine “woe is me” in them. For all their thankless hard work, he wants to treat them like naughty children who aren’t mature enough to understand the real world. Bad, horde.

Or Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who, to his credit, supported his son when he came out. Then again, that’s what parents are supposed to do – you know, love and support their children unconditionally, I’m not sure why I’m commending him for doing the job he signed up for when he decided to have kids. And I still wonder why he couldn’t get to that point of acceptance before. He seems like a nice guy, but gays just weren’t people, couldn’t be people, until he found one in his own house. Bad, perverted horde.

As part of that last horde, I’m pretty tired of self-satisfied conservatives with persecution complexes bundling me up with hundreds of thousands of others and calling acceptance of us the beginning of “the social rot that is to come.” I’m tired of them condemning everything they don’t like and pinning it on God (with whom they have a personal relationship). And I’m tired of them reveling in their own ignorance and insanity and subjecting the rest of us to it while telling us how full of love they are.

It’s time for conservatives to get off their high horses and join society – which means uncircling their wagons, rolling their sleeves up and working with the rest of us. Sometimes they’ll be really happy with the results, sometimes not. We all have to deal with disappointment at one time or another.  They need to accept that their being disappointed may be uncomfortable and may make them really sad, but it’s not apocalyptic. It’s just life. A little growing up will help them deal with that.