I hope you’ll forgive me a little diversion today. I’ve been tossing around some thoughts about the current state of politics and religion in America, and thought it might help clarify things by putting them down in print.
Here’s a blog post I found over the weekend. It’s a neat idea: List what the Republicans have done since taking office, and compare it with what they claimed they would do. Nothing new, as politics go, but worth looking at after the flurry of freshman teabag activity. Here are some excerpts:
- “Symbolically” voted to repeal the healthcare bill. Spent hours debating it beforehand, even though they knew it was purely symbolic and would not become law.
- Attempting to de-fund Global Warming research.
- Attempting to defund healthcare, which is also mostly symbolic.
- Proposed a budget that would cut billions of dollars in aid to the poor, the homeless, and women and children.
- Extended the Patriot Act.
- Attempted to cut all funding for Planned Parenthood and PBS.
- Attempted to redefine rape to no longer include statutory rape, incest rape, or drugged rape.
- Cut Pell Grants
- Attempting to cut 1 billion dollars from Head Start. This would mean that over 200,000 kids would lose their spots in preschool.
Bear in mind that their big platform was jobs creation. They said, “We’re going to come in and create jobs.” Interestingly, as I perused the full list, I couldn’t find anything you could even half-heartedly argue is designed to create jobs. Granted, it’s not a full list of everything that’s gone through every state, but it is representative of the party direction, to be sure.
We’ve all heard the propaganda from both sides, so I won’t belabor the point. Nevertheless, we have to admit that the Republican agenda is a moral agenda. Rape, healthcare, aid to the poor, worker’s rights… these are all issues that tie in with a central longstanding Republican mantra: Everyone has the ability to pull themselves out of their own morally caused problems. Anyone who doesn’t is weak and morally deficient.
Good moral people don’t have sex before marriage, so they don’t need Planned Parenthood. Good moral people work as hard as they need to, save money, and don’t waste it on cigarettes, booze, and marijuana. Which means they don’t need healthcare since they’re so healthy from being good moral people. Good moral people have plenty of time for their children, and give their children a “real” head start by reading to them every night and tucking them in, before donning their cardigans and nightgowns and contentedly reading the Bible before nodding off to sleep. No later than 10:30, please. Early birds catch more worms.
And just in case, we have the Patriot act, and we can use it for just about anything from illegal wire taps to digging up your personal emails. If we need to, for the good of the country, of course. And we’d like the IRS to audit you when you go for that emergency abortion from a rape (which is the only way you’re getting one).
Global warming? Not happening. Don’t even worry about it. Did someone say global warming? Who’s even talking about it? Just those godless liberals…
At the risk of mixing metaphors beyond hope of repair, it’s like the Republicans are fiddling on the roof of the fire department while sending the illegal immigrants to try to put out the fires with gasoline.
What do I mean by that? Simply this: There are real problems in the country. Big problems. We have a wider income gap than any other first country. Poorer education. Worse healthcare. More crime. The list goes on for a long time.
While all of these problems continue to escalate, the Republicans are creating problems, mostly by playing the morality card, either overtly or through insinuation. Then they blame the voters for having problems.
It’s not so unlike American Christianity, when you think about it. What are the answers to our personal problems? Not any sort of real change, of course. We have to deal with the moral problem of original sin. To do that, we have to eat crackers and drink grape juice on the right day, not have sex — especially with someone of the same gender — avoid alcohol, and give ten percent of our money to the church. And most important… we must always, always, always believe in the risen zombie savior who sacrificed himself to himself so that we could have the pleasure of not masturbating. Or something like that.
Because that’s what’s really wrong. It’s a moral problem. And somehow, if gays don’t marry, women don’t have abortions, and nobody has any money for healthcare or school, the U.S. will regain its status among the world’s elite, all of whom curiously have public programs for healthcare and education, and all of whom protect women’s rights.
No wonder the Republicans and Christians get along so well. It’s denialism combined with authoritarian moralism. It’s always a problem with the other guy. If everyone would just do things exactly the way I do them, everything would be perfect. Because I’m more moral than them. And all the world’s problems ultimately stem from morality.