Fading of the far right | VailDaily.com

Fading of the far right

Matt Zalaznick
Vail CO, Colorado

The Christian fundamentalist set should have opposed the war in Iraq.

Because the America’s-morally-doomed shtick is going down in flames along with the president who clumsily decided to push its furious agenda to get elected.

Forget that W. hasn’t really done much policy-wise for the religious far-right. Abortion remains appropriately a freedom. States ” even some run by Republicans ” are flouting the bonehead-in-chief’s ignorance on stem cells and funding programs that should help cure horrible diseases and improve the lives of countless Americans.

Despite bigoted state constitutional amendments, gays are gaining more rights. Prayer has not snuck back into schools.

While W. has spent more time talking about intelligent design than greenhouse gases, Americans are really starting to worry about the environment. While failed religious leaders like Jerry Falwell call the environmental movement a “distraction” from the anti-abortion fight, more Americans are buying hybrids, recycling their waste and installing solar panels.

The occasional pronouncements of Pat Robertson and his shallow, apocalyptic ilk are mostly fodder for late-night punchlines while Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was a national sensation and may win him a Nobel Prize and perhaps the presidency.

Plus, Eminem is still making CDs, the Sopranos are still cursing up a storm on late-night cable and the Teletubbies are going strong.

The far-right says our national soul is in danger in these depraved days. But they want to turn the country back to a time when blacks had their own water fountains, women had far fewer career opportunities, and people accepted Jews as their lawyers, bankers and doctors but not as members of their country clubs.

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain also kept Jews as their financial advisors while they were inventing the Inquisition.

W.’s probably done so much damage at home and abroad that most Americans, whether they worship or not, realize the world now has far bigger problems than the nefarious schemes the gay couple next door is hatching against the upright American family.

(That sacred family, by the way, is pretty quick not only to get a divorce but devour news of the latest celebrity marital disaster.)

A lot of Americans, as evidenced by the Republicans’ big losses in November and W.’s crashing approval rating, realize that the bigger threats to our way of life are the war in Iraq and this administration’s incompetence in the face of crisis ” whether it’s the spread of Democracy, Hurricane Katrina or a bird flu epidemic.

Let’s hope that if bird flu’s coming, it stays away until Hillary’s president, or until whatever flunkie W.’s got in charge of bird-flu response has gone back to training show horses or decorating yachts or running overseas oil conglomerates that do business with terror-supporting regimes.

The trajectory of American society has been consistently toward wider tolerance and greater civil rights ” though there have been some massive and shameful potholes in this progression, such as slavery and the now-dying resurgence of religious tyrants.

And undoubtedly over the next decade gays and lesbians will get closer and closer to marriage; a woman’s right to choose will remain safeguarded; and ideas like intelligent design will fade away while stem-cell research and beneficial forms of cloning flourish.

Americans have seen the ideology of the religious far right for what is really is ” a medieval hatred disguised as a lot of sanctimonious blather about protecting the American family.

Americans have realized the ideas of the far right are too narrow to deal with an increasingly violent and radicalized world with ultra-modern problems like environmental decay, melting ice caps, debilitating poverty and vanishing resources.

Americans are beginning to recognize that the leaders of the far right have more in common with the world’s religious radicals than the average resident of the Land of the Free.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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