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By David Podvin

As it seeks to destroy dissidents at home and abroad, the conservative movement is again proving itself to be the moral equivalent of the Terminator: It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse. And it absolutely will not stop – ever – until all dissent is dead.

Across America, conservatives from Bill O’Reilly to Matt Drudge to G. Gordon Liddy are urging our nation’s eternally fuming right wing mob to boycott the products of any country that refuses to capitulate to George W. Bush. The list of disobedient nations targeted for an economic fragging includes Canada, Mexico, Russia, Jamaica, and virtually all of Western Europe, with the notable exception of our lovable British lapdogs.

This boycott idea is a strategy devised by people whose super-patriotism is exceeded only by their nostalgia for economic disaster; in 1929, the United States had a trade war with Europe, and all of us remember the glory days that soon followed. Why, you could buy an apple on any street corner for just a penny, or an entire steak dinner (with all the trimmings) for one thin dime! Of course, you would have had to beg for that dime.

As Santayana once sagely observed, those who do not learn from history are doomed to vote Republican.

Aren’t conservatives great? And schizoid, too! These are the same folks who fell in love with NAFTA: “We might lose our manufacturing jobs,” they said, “but free trade is vital! Free trade is prosperity! Free trade is liberty! Free trade is America!”

And now, if the right wing has its way, free trade is down the crapper! It is suddenly disposable because anyone who disagrees with Bush must be destroyed at any cost. That went for Al Gore – if conservatives had to rip up the Constitution in order to screw him, then so be it. And it goes for Tom Daschle – whenever he criticizes Bush, the chickenhawks who evaded the Vietnam War demand that military veteran Daschle be promptly executed for treason and then given a fair trial. These are the same heroes – the Patrick Buchanans and George Wills and Tom DeLays – whose wartime service consisted of battling the imaginary communists under their beds.

The zero tolerance principle also applies to Jacques Chirac. Disagree with Bush, Frog Boy? Well, then we’ll boycott you, and then you’ll boycott us, and then we’ll all go into a great big Depression, and that’ll teach you a cruel lesson, you… you… you… freedom fry eating guy!!!

Every time I hear conservatives psychotically rant and hysterically rave against anyone who disagrees with them, I wistfully think of what might have been… if only the mental health component of Hillarycare had passed into law.

It really does not matter to them whether you are Michael Moore or Mister Rogers or Gerhard Schroeder or that purple Teletubby; if you fail to toe the right wing line, if you even hesitate to conform, then you are evil. Principled devotion to decency requires that you must be eradicated in the name of Jesus Christ and Uncle Sam and Ronald Reagan, although not necessarily in that order.

Even as Republicans disingenuously compare Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler, they have not quite been able to work up the same intensity of hatred for the dictator of Iraq that they routinely spew towards American liberals. For that matter, Republicans never expressed the same intensity of hatred for the real Hitler that they do towards Bill Clinton. While the Fuehrer admittedly did kill thirteen million people, at least he was never depraved enough to trounce the GOP decisively in consecutive presidential elections.

Nor did Hitler feast on snails or tell Bush to take Condi’s imperialist foreign policy and shove it. No, the Republicans feel completely justified in saving their best hatred for Democrats and independent foreign allies, whom they regard as being infinitely more offensive than genocidal maniacs.

At the end of the movie Terminator, Sarah Connor finally stops the compassionate conservative that is intent on destroying her by crushing it in a drill press while saying the phrase that titles this column. This is one of the best movie lines ever because – not unlike like the Gettysburg Address – it is so succinct, yet so eloquent. Her thrilling words need to be heard by Bush in November 2004, whereas Rush Limbaugh needs to hear them immediately.

They must be terminated figuratively, of course. Violence is not required to defeat conservatives, but realism is. The right wing is currently classifying foreign dissidents as enemies and domestic dissidents as traitors. This is being done today for the same reason it was done by their role model in the 1930s: it is easier to justify persecuting people whom you have demonized as enemies and traitors.

Connor understood what Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi and Dick Gephardt cannot bring themselves to emotionally accept – that their conservative tormentors are intent on nothing less than total annihilation. The Marquis of Queensbury rules do not apply to this situation. The drill press that should be inflicted upon conservatives is the brutal truth, and the brutal truth is that the current right wing jihad is the most un-American crusade imaginable. In order to preserve what is left of this democracy, the self-appointed patriotism posse must be exposed as a fraud and publicly humiliated into perpetual disrepute.

Liberals have to put aside childish illusions, such as the comforting myth of “good” conservatives. Colin Powell is on board the Bush Imperial Bandwagon, as is John McCain. The “good” conservatives all supported Bush stealing the presidency, and the “good” conservatives all supported the USA Patriot Act that gutted the Bill of Rights, and the “good” conservatives all support the current world tour to “liberate” those distant places that are sitting on top of our oil.

To paraphrase General Philip Sheridan, the only good conservative is a… former conservative.

The time has arrived to take off the rose-colored glasses and confront reality. Liberals who actually believe the beautiful words of freedom and liberty that flow so freely from their mouths must now fight for those principles or be overwhelmed by right wingers who are determined to save the world from dissent.

Rather than cowering or averting our eyes from unpleasant reality, we must find the strength to challenge and defeat the forces in this country that equate disagreement with disloyalty. In this cyber age, that effort requires precious little strain: e-mails to the sponsors of the post-modern Torquemadas are an excellent way to register your disapproval of fascism – while you still can.

The alternative is to passively watch as conservatives keep on doing what comes so naturally to terminators – destroying anyone or anything that gets in their way.

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Last changed: December 13, 2009