By Tom Ehrich

It is tragic to watch contemptuous right-wingers declaring war on America.

With little heed for consequences on actual persons and on the national interest, they declare war on the poor, the hungry, Native Americans, the unemployed, homosexuals, immigrants, minority voters, women, military dependents, and public education.

They claim the moral high ground, but actually violate everything Jesus stood for. We should be reading the Beatitudes and Matthew 25 outside every legislature.

They claim to stand for small government, but actually disdain all government, from police forces to medical clinics, from food stamps to schools, from safe banking to protecting online privacy, from bridge and highway repairs to housing values.

They claim to be patriotic, but actually violate every reasonable value this nation holds dear — including values extolled in years past by genuine conservatives.

My father was one of those conservatives, a Taft and Eisenhower Republican. I cannot imagine him chasing after black voters, punishing pregnant teenagers, denying civil rights to homosexuals, wanting anything but the best for public schools, crippling the up-by-the-bootstraps advancement that he valued, or blaming the hungry for being hungry.

He was a man of honor. Our table grace every evening asked God to “make us ever-mindful of the needs of others.”

These right-wing zealots aren’t people of honor. They are thugs.

Our nation deserves better than a systematic effort to impoverish all but the precious few.

The right wing’s scorched-earth campaign isn’t about a theory of government or about strengthening free-market capitalism. It is about contempt. It is about nihilism.

It is willful self-destruction of an economy, a political system, an educational system, a history built on immigrants, and traditions of compromise and self-sacrifice — a campaign so reckless and mindless that it could take us all down, themselves included.