There is a misperception taking hold in America: we are permitting our most primitive stratum to define its war against culture as a battle among equals.
If we allow fundamentalists to misrepresent as worthy their repudiation of the values that define civilization they will have succeeded in convincing the undecided their agenda is deserving of consideration. It is not.
What renders a culture great? Ghengis Khan conquered most of the known world but what, if anything, of his culture can you recall?
Conversely, the Greek civilization continues to be celebrated because of its poets, playwrights, philosophers, and mathematicians. Its achievements live on because it enabled an efflorescence of intellectual and creative intercourse.
Yes, we know of their gods and conquests but historically only those cultures that have distinguished themselves intellectually and artistically find their superstitions and wars chronicled by artists whose refined aesthetic is deemed worthy of preservation.
At present in America the daring that defines science and art, the willingness to venture beyond the canonical, the status quo, and embrace exploration for its own sake, is perceived a threat by the fundamentalists that form the political base of the Republican Party.
Change is anathema to the superstitious. By definition these people and the political party representing them find the very essence of culture, the flowering of unbounded creativity, a threat to their existence. They are at war with culture.
So it is that true patriots must redefine the citizenry's relationship to the forthcoming presidential election.
In the past we have had the luxury of allowing those aspiring to the office adequate time to compete amongst themselves until a clear frontrunner is established. These have been men of great ambition certainly, and a clearly defined agenda, hopefully, but it was their race to win.
With the fundamentalists poised to drag America into an age dominated by superstition (referred to as the Dark Ages when last this occurred in Western Europe) America's patriots must not wait for the various Democratic candidates to winnow their numbers.
Such passivity plays into the hands of the primitives. We must (must!) step to the fore at once and tell this coterie of ambitious and contentious men whom we will support forthwith. Thereby our numbers will be legion, rather than divided and conquered.
In this case the selection process, our remaining passive whilst these various contenders attempt to arouse our interest, is detrimental to our patriotic goal. We must win! American civilization is at stake for our opponents disdain civilization itself.
For this reason I draw attention to the current surge of support for Dr. Howard Dean, governor of Vermont, by those who have well considered the man's accomplishments in office.
Further, it would be to America's benefit if we also made clear our unequivocal support for General Wesley Clark (Ret.) as his running mate.
Do this patriotic deed now and we have a good shot at reclaiming control of this great civilization of ours from those who would drive a stake through its heart.
In making ourselves a formidable opponent we must know our enemy, anticipate its behavior.
First the Republican leadership will make a concerted effort to pick over the inevitable flaws indicative of one's humanity in an effort to uncover some otherwise insignificant bit of trash in order to demonize the governor. What is rabble rousing without an enthusiastically receptive rabble?
To this end they will employ the intellectual leadership of these rabble: radio personalities and religious zealots.
Had Dean been a Ph.D. rather than an M.D. the Republican course would be clear: they would have used the man's academic achievements against him. Understanding their constituency full well the Republicans would demonize the man for being intelligent and educated. Such is the nature of those who would take control of the country.
Ominously this lowest common denominator stratum stands on the brink of rendering America a cultural backwater. Yet we may perceive its well-organized machine as capable of being marginalized.
Though we can never win the hearts and minds of this stratum n their hearts being as predisposed toward fear and loathing as their minds are toward stultifying intransigence n the Republicans cannot win with a constituency comprised solely of fundamentalists. Furthermore, having already been politicized their numbers are not likely to increase to any statistically significant degree.
Hence America's patriots must rise to this occasion and let our voices speak as one lest these enemies of civilization render our country a reflection of themselves.
R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.