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    Democracy Under Assault
    Theopolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right

    Michele Swenson

    The Author
    Michele Swenson began her career as a nurse working in Obstetrics and Intensive Care in the late '60s, when she encountered women who died of pregnancies that were contraindicated due to such preexisting health conditions as chronic heart and acute kidney disease. Swenson's investigation of the history of women’s health care in America expanded in the ‘90s into research of fundamentalist and gun-centered ideologies.

    Representing a couple of decades of investigation, this book is an ambitious attempt to encompass the rise of the right-wing political machine in America. It reveals a politics marked by revisionist history and science - ranging from Pat Robertson’s denunciation of evolution and assertion of the founders’ intent of a 'Christian nation,' to Sen. James Inhofe’s branding global warming 'a hoax.' History or science that conflicts with a preferred worldview is simply dismissed, in the name of religion and morality. Unholy alliances of the right subvert language and the Constitution, even as they have rewritten the story of the U.S. to align with biblical literalists’ vision of religious empire.

    Religious nationalists have joined corporate oligarchs and other special interests to advance the most abusive system of political patronage since the Gilded Age. The culmination of hundreds of hours of monitoring fundamentalist preachers and political operatives in broadcast and print media, the book portrays, mostly in their own words, the inconsistencies and contradictions of those professing sole claim to morality and divine right to power. It is also the story of distorted religion wielded as divisive, polarizing political tool.

    Like all supremacist movements submerged for a time, overt racism, sexism, classism and religious nationalism have reemerged with renewed vigor, cloaked in code words. Key to understanding subversion of U.S. democracy is language that is spun into Orwellian concepts of 'Healthy Forests,' 'Clear Skies,' 'family values' and 'class warfare.' George Bush’s 'Ownership Society' —like Newt Gingrich’s 'Opportunity Society'—quickly morphed into government-of-the-highest-bidder that vests unlimited power in the corporate religious state.

    The effort to relate the origins, ambitions and motivations of the political right has demanded a process of constant refocus. Having been told by an agent and at least one publisher that their commercial bottom line required 'a big name' author, I chose to publish the book myself. The choice, ultimately, was either to devote time to this very challenging material, or to expend still more time pursuing a commercial publisher.

     
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