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Right is 'Right about never'

Full Speed to Port!

Posted: April 9, 2008 3:04 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Friday's Signal Op/Ed page seemed an extension of the hilarious April Fools' edition. That Signal front page was over-the-top riotous, not just for its elaborately contrived tales, but also for the knowledge that despite obvious cues, so many readers would look past the warnings and actually believe the farcical fiction.

Most favorite was the story of an island in Castaic Lake being selected as the site for the long-awaited Castaic High School. And with the photo of the lake, what with its arrow pointing to the chosen island site, it seemed credible enough. Who knows, maybe Rick Patterson, of Hart Facilities Foundation fame, had even been secretly planning a resort venue on his own: an adjacent island - soon to be conveniently served by the same public ferry shuttling high schoolers?

But as memory serves - "Is there an island in Castaic Lake?" - murky facts make tall tales easier to swallow. You'll remember Colin Powell's photo evidence of the Iraqi "mobile weapons labs"? Yeah, those turned out to be weather station trailers. The moral? Don't be fooled with fake and doctored evidence.

So on April 4, just three days past due for farce, a new Signal column was born. The long-running and much-suffered "Right Here, Right Now" isn't apparently sufficiently "right." Now we're in for even more "right" with the newly penned "Right About Now."

This is an April Fools' warm-over, right? Wrong. It's for real. The author proclaims this new Right will righteously right all the wrongs the working Republican (what with his cheap home-brew coffee, stuck on the I-5, commuting to his poor-paying workaday job) has long suffered - all at the hands of a despicable and all-powerful controlling Left.

And the farcical punch line, rather like that photo evidence of the island in Castaic Lake: "We will always present well-reasoned arguments supported by fact and reason." Just like Fox News. Or Talk Radio. Like maps of mobile weapons labs and high school islands in Castaic Lake.

The problem with all this Right Stuff is that its time is wrong, its purpose long departed. But it did pass for a season. Seven years back, George Bush ascended to his Imperial Presidency promising, "I'm a uniter; not a divider."

That was a farce, too, as shortly thereafter American politics entered the most vitriolic, bitter partisanship we've ever witnessed.

Politics became blood sport, and the overarching intention of the whole bloody mess was simply to win and dominate for power rather than to construct a more perfect union.

Some screwball think-tanker discovered there's good poll numbers in the politics of fear, hate and destruction. Adding in religious manipulation for good measure, the New Right Battle Plan was born:
Divide and conquer. To the death. Take no prisoners. "Swift Boat" the whole damn country if that's what it takes to get power!

When George Bush indeed proved you can fool the people twice, with a wink and a smirk, he taunted, "I've got political capital to spend, and I intend to spend it." Well, he spent it - and blew his entire wad. And our wad, too. Leaving our nation broke, he's now politically penniless and nearly friendless with poll numbers hovering around the 20s.

After seven long years of Republican scorched-earth tactics, there's a seismic shift in American politics.

Folks are wearied of endless fighting, the hate baiting and the divisiveness. What they want instead is simple cooperation, simply a government that gets along and functions as a union. Most of all, they want leaders who find common ground and common cause, and despite differences of opinion work constructively for the public good. No more "My way or the Swift boat."

But as with most change, some folks get it, some eventually get it, and some never quite get it. Blood sport politics will struggle on, gasping for relevancy on Fox News, Hate Radio and sundry columns - but they're playing to an ever-shrinking "never get it" crowd.

Just how big is the shift? Six years ago, 55 percent of Americans affiliated with the Republican platform. Six years on, 55 percent affiliate with Democrats. Folks are racing, fleeing from the far right, when just back in 2004 there was talk of a "permanent Republican majority." No mas. Think dodo birds.

So is it any surprise that black horse John McCain emerged as the overwhelming Republican choice? This most non-dogmatic, most non-partisan, most decent of the Republican bunch utterly trounces hard-core faker Mitt Romney and "God is my V.P." Huckabee?

America's pendulum is swung full tilt, with the long polarized electorate chastised for past follies and now panting to elect either its most maverick liberal Republican, or its first black and liberal, or first female and liberal, president.

The rise of McCain signals the fall of right-wing divisive politics.

Those who miss this sea change in sentiment might be likened to a clueless man at a train station who, standing on the platform, thinks it's he who's on the move as the train leaves the station. But it's the hard right platform that's left behind, standing still in the dust. America has boarded the Change Train, and it's racing leftward from the old rickety Republican platform.

In the meantime, a hearty welcome to The Signal's redundant Republican writists. But caution; refresher facts are needed before - like islands in Castaic Lake and mobile weapons labs - gauzy Rockwellian images of bygone Republican heydays are cleverly contrived for our deception:

* Before Bush, we had a large budget surplus.
* Before Bush, we had a strong economy and strong dollar.
* Before Bush, our banks were solvent.
* Before Bush, we'd won wars without losing a man and were a nation at peace.
* Before Bush, we didn't torture.
* And before Bush, we were respected as the world's leader in liberty and justice.

So don't be fooled. These are the sad facts behind the rightist farce. And that's why the Change Train has left the platform ... speeding "full speed to port."

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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