Gloucester Daily Times
---- — To the editor:
Imagine an America, if you can or dare, in which the United States Senate is made up of 100 Jesse Helmses.
Helms, people may remember, was the “Tea Party Republican” senator from North Carolina before the Tea Party even existed.
I am urging people to imagine what such an America would be and look like because Ted Cruz, the junior “Tea Party Republican” senator from Texas, who is the latest darling of the far right “whacko birds” — to borrow a term from John McCain — brought a crowd to its feet by saying 100 Jesse Helmses in the U.S. Senate is exactly what is needed to make America great and set it right, no pun intended, again.
This is significant because Cruz, given his popularity with the “whacko birds” of the once great party of Lincoln, can be a major force to be reckoned with in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. That’s because it is the “whacko birds” who dominate the party in those venues.
Besides that, Cruz is perhaps the most dangerous right-wing politician in America today because he is far more concerned with gaining power for himself than he is the real interests of those who swoon over his every word — despite the fact he, unlike President Obama, really was born in a foreign country.
Cruz is a Harvard and Princeton-educated member of the nation’s elite who revels in playing the role of a populist, right wing crusader because he knows how well the act resonates with the all-important, far right, easily duped base of the party in the presidential primary contests. He is an egotistical, self serving cynic, but an extremely shrewd and adept one.
But let’s just contemplate what an America with a Senate made up of the 100 Jesse Helmses Cruz says are needed to restore past American greatness would look like.
In such an America, segregation and Jim Crow laws would not only be ruled constitutional again — the Senate, after all, ultimately decides who sits on the Supreme Court — they would be back on the books and no doubt enforced with a vengeance.
Some element of that is currently occurring in North Carolina, at least in terms of voting rights, in the wake of the far right, “Tea Party Republican” takeover of both the executive and legislative branches of that state’s government last year.
In such an America, women would not only not have the right to make their own deeply personal and often painful reproductive health decisions, they would be made into criminals and imprisoned for doing so.
In such an America, gay men and lesbians would not only not ever have the right to marry, we, like women looking to make their own reproductive health decisions, would be cast as criminals and imprisoned simply for being who we are.
In such an America, interracial marriage could well become illegal in some states again as the clarion call of “states’ rights” would no doubt be ringing through the once honorable halls of the Senate.
The list just goes on and on.
That is why I think it is so important more people educate themselves about the real agenda of the far right, so-called “Tea Party” extremists who now so dominate the Republican Party’s base at the national level.
There is nothing genuinely grassroots about this movement. It is extremely well-funded and aided and abetted by some of the wealthiest and most powerful corporate, media, and religious right-wing groups in the nation.
It is time to pay attention before we realize that, by the time they come for “us”, there will be no one left to speak out in opposition — not unlike what happened in Germany roughly eight decades ago.