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Neo-Xenophobia: A Reaction to Progress

There has recently been a growing trend of really bizarre public statements by conservative politicians in America. These statements are not gaffes or times when a person was quoted out of context. These are backward, racist comments from public officials that are hard to believe. We as a country have made serious progress towards equality, but there is now a growing reaction to that same progress. A vocal minority of conservative voices have recently become a little louder.

What they are advocating for is difficult to understand. It’s not a real ideology but mostly just ignorance and emotional rhetoric. I guess it’s best summed up as a new kind of racism: a non-specific neo-xenophobia, a reaction to progress. Though not an ideology, I believe the movement is driven by a single idea: that America is a white, Christian country. As ironic and idiotic as that may sound, I think the idea is resonating with a growing group of Americans. Here is a sample of statements from public officials that support this view:

Representative Jon Hubbard
In his self-published 2009 book titled “Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” state Representative Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro, Arkansas, writes that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.” Hubbard, a retired teacher and Vietnam veteran who was elected to the statehouse in 2010, also wrote, “Wouldn’t life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education?” He goes on to write, “I see no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States.”

Representative Todd Aiken
Akin was asked to address his “no exceptions” policy on abortion, specifically why he opposes abortion even when the pregnancy is the result of rape. Speaking in an interview to KTVI-TV that was posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, Akin said pregnancy from rape is “really rare”, and implied that the female reproductive system is able to block conception from an unwanted pregnancy, reports the Washington Post. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Former Governor Mitt Romney
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president [Barack Oboma] no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Representative Paul Broun (R- Ga.)
“If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the war between the states — the Great War of Yankee Aggression.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, interview with National Review, Sept. 11, 2010
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R)
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

Hans Zeiger, Republican candidate for Congress in Washington state
“The Girl Scouts allow homosexuals and atheists to join their ranks, and they have become a pro-abortion, feminist training corps. If the Girl Scouts of America can’t get back to teaching real character, perhaps it will be time to look for our cookies elsewhere.”

Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)
“I don’t want to be associated with him [President Obama]. It’s like touching a tar baby and you get it, you’re stuck.”

Rick Santorum, Republican Candidate for President
”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.”

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
When asked whether President Obama “wants to destroy America,” Sen. Tom Coburn managed to defend and disparage the president, calling him a “very bright” man who loves his country but also someone who, “as an African-American male,” received “tremendous advantage” from government programs.

Rich Iott, Ohio GOP House Candidate
“I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things.” Explaining why for years he donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments as part of a group that calls itself Wiking (Atlantic interview, Oct. 2010)

South Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts (R)
“She’s a f**king raghead. We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina. She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”

The 2012 Republican Party Platform: On Marriage
The platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage. It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The 2012 Republican Party Platform: On Education
Support for home schooling and replacing family planning programs for teens “with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.”

If you’ve made it this far, then here is a bonus: 14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools.

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