At the time that I’m writing this the Senate runoff race between Hershel Walker and Dave Warnock is going on in the state of Georgia. This election cycle has been full of twists and turns as what was at first predicted to be a red wave turned into a slightly alarming red tinkle. However, watching the reactions from right-wing media hosts has once again left me shocked at the level of cognitive dissonance that exists among the conservative population.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for choosing the lesser of two evils when it comes to politics but anymore even that level of nuance has been abandoned by the right. Nowadays it seems that conservative’s main talking points in regard to democratic candidates are filled with wild accusations of cannibalism and pizza parlor pedophilia. Growing up with evangelical radio, I remember every election cycle was filled to the brim with somber ads talking up a return to “traditional family values” and “politicians with real integrity”. But when push came to shove, it turns out that most of these self-proclaiming Christian evangelicals would just as well settle for a trash-talking womanizer who’s on his third wife.
The rise of figures like Trump among evangelical circles was full of dog whistlers excited about someone who supposedly carried their values while “standing up to big government”. The reality of course was that these folks were only excited that a powerful figure was saying hateful things about people they hated, be that democrats, LGBTQ+ people, or immigrants. Trump didn’t just say whatever would make people upset. He carefully and almost perfectly made statements that would get the progressive population up in arms, and the right-wingers ate it up. As the years of his presidency progressed, you could see a gradual improvement of his tactics of virtue-signaling to his base. No one cared about his personal life or whether his policies showed any level of “Christian Compassion”. Instead he waxed poetic about America being the greatest country in the world and how tragic it was that “real Americans” were having their rights taken away.
While Trump’s popularity has thankfully began to decline amongst the copycat right-wing figures showing up in the GOP all over the nation, the unfortunate truth is that his tactics work and continue to work thanks to a disconnect in the minds of right-wing voters. Reagan’s GOP may have proclaimed a sort of “moral majority” but it’s become clear now that this is just another tactic for creating an outgroup in order to exclude people of different religious and political beliefs from partaking in the conversation. Someone who is gay or trans or an immigrant is immediately disqualified from partaking in any conversation about political policies. If they do attempt anything, they’re immediately dismissed as someone who “just hates America” or is trying to “push an agenda”. Fun fact: literally everyone with any interest in politics is trying to push an agenda.
These inevitably lead many right-wing Americans to have a knee-jerk reaction to anything or anyone that challenges their preconceived notions of how the country should be run. They end up using catch-all terms to describe anything or anyone that they disagree with allowing them to ignore the issue. Someone is a drag performer? They’re a groomer. Someone suggests that companies should have to give workers sick pay? That’s communism. Someone is the pastor of the same church the Martin Luther King Jr. presided over? Just kidding, he’s a democrat so he’s obviously evil.
There is of course nothing that proves my point better than the bonafide mess that is the Georgia senate race. Herschel Walker has time and time again shown himself to be both mentally and morally unqualified for any government position, much less one in the senate. But the GOP has made it clear that they don’t care. They don’t care what morals are actually practiced by the members of their own party or in-group. They want power. They want to be able to control the country. And more than anything, they want to once again be able to control the narrative.
When the president of the United States sends the national guard to clear the streets of peaceful protestors, they only want you to see him clumsily hold an upside-down Bible in front of a church. They don’t want their ideas or beliefs to be able to be criticized publicly and openly. The only interest they have in free-speech is their freedom to speak against people that don’t fit into the puzzle piece of what they think morality should be.
Make no mistake, there is no morality to the moral majority. They have no interest in creating a system where all people of all beliefs are treated equally. As soon as they’re able, they will push anyone who is different back down into hiding.
The alt-right in America isn’t after freedom.
They’re after control.