Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's the Deal with Allen West?

US Rep. Allen West (R) Florida, the new face of the far right?
This past week certainly represents one of the most pivotal moments in the 2012 presidential campaign, but there was also something sad and revealing about the nature of our society and who we are as a nation.

The implosion of Mittens' presidential aspirations in the wake of his shockingly elitist  comments caught on tape at a GOP fundraiser point not just to his inability to govern on behalf of all Americans; it was a stark reminder of the growing ideological and wealth gap that serves as the 21st century version of the Mason Dixon line.

As the GOP has reinvented itself as a virtual repository for a bizarre collection of right-wing fringe characters so far removed from the American mainstream they'd make Richard Nixon cringe, I'm fascinated with some of the people lauded as influential thinkers within the conservative ranks. Case in point, Republican House Rep Allen West who represents Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

West was a career military man who served with distinction in both Iraq wars until a controversial incident in which he personally interrogated a suspected terrorist (despite not being trained or authorized to do so by the Army) with a pistol landed him in hot water and ended his Army career.

He was selected as the first black Congressman elected in Florida since Reconstruction, joined the Congressional Black Caucus and is the new darling of the Tea Party, garnering media attention with his derisive public comments about, well, pretty much any Democrat; including the President whom he openly despises.

What I can't figure is the intensity of his hatred for opposing views. He's well-educated, a man of the world, a guy who's risked his life for his country fighting, yet he's been accused of being anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and lately seems to have embraced a strange anti-Communist/Marxist schpeel; going so far as to publicly accuse the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (a progressive liberal block of Democratic Congressional members) of being Communist.

Watch for yourself as Allen invokes 50's-era guilt by association.

I respect his right to free speech and I admire diversity of thought and opinion within the ranks of African-American politicians; but whipping up 'Commie hysteria' in 2012? Marxism and Socialism are the major problems confronting the American people? Really? McCarthyism was a dead horse back in the 50's and performing ideological CPR on the carcass of an animal isn't providing realistic solutions for the problems facing Americans.

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