ADAPTING CHRISTIAN VALUES
Politics of Biblical Proportions
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!"
- No Republican in a REALLY long time
I've always liked those words in red in the New Testament, although I long ago gave up on organized religion. The words and ideals of both are great, but - as with many great things - beyond the reach of mere mortals, and thus in the wrong hands become a club of hypocrisy. Never in our history have the wrong hands held such a firm grip, and it is a blight not just upon our democracy, but upon their own faith.
I've long held the notion that, if there is a Satan, he came up with the idea of religion, then seasoned it with just enough politics to make it poison. No logical, reasonable person could ever advocate the policies which are now the heart and soiled soul of the GOP agenda and think, sure, this is EXACTLY what Jesus would do!
But isn't willful delusion kind of at the core of every religion? Don't they all require a belief completely devoid of logic or objective reasoning, the very traits which are prized - and necessary - in every aspect of our worldly existence? Doesn't each teach that "The [insert title of religious text] is the only true Word of [insert Deity], because it says so in the [re-insert title of religious text]," and allow such flawed and circular reasoning to kind of take over from there?
Religious Extremism (which is just Hypocrisy got out of hand) comes not from the words of the texts, nor from the Higher Ideals contained therein. The Golden Rule, after all, is in pretty much all of them. The insanity comes from the degree to which its followers are willing to adapt, or just flat-out ignore, the tenets of the texts - the "words in red" in the case of Christianity - in order to rationalize a fear and hatred not rooted in the religion itself, but in the manipulated division which encourages their anger to grow.
To put it considerably more plainly (and please forgive the blasphemous irony): There's too many goddamned asterisks in their Holy Book!
Quote most of those aforementioned red words in a debate with a Right-Winger, and they'll happily point you to some other Biblical passage (usually in the Old Testament) to prove that Jesus either didn't mean it, or to seemingly imply that the older Scripture trumps, if you will, the book from which their religion got its freakin' name! Or they'll bring up Hillary. Now they're forced to come up with asterisks on the fly. Seems it wasn't so long ago that lying and cheating and the what-not were no-no's, that greed and pride and coveting were Deadly Sins. They've improvised asterisks for those - they point you to a picture of their Leader.
To me, the most dumbfounding, you-couldn't-make-this-shit-up adaptation has been the Right's newfound tolerance for Communism. Hatred of the U.S.S.R/Russia has been a stalwart of Conservative Christian ideology for over half a century, and a major part of the GOP Platform, either explicitly or implicitly, for just as long. Holy Moly, the times have changed! Less than a year ago, Trump supporters continued to reply to my posts with the C-word, as dirty as any C-word to a Republican. They've stopped calling me a Communist. Now they just double up on Socialist or Libtard. It's really amazing. Mind-boggling. Profoundly sad.
Is it evil for me to wonder if perhaps they're not really guided by faith at all, but rather by the fear and hatred which permeate a perverse world-view in which ANY enemy of their enemy becomes their Comrade? It seems to make the most sense. Can it not be logically inferred from words and deeds that their guiding principles - and those which they so badly want to force upon our entire diverse populace - have nothing in the world to do with love, compassion, or understanding, except for those who are exactly like them? Go to pretty much any FB page of a politically-vocal Conservative Christian. You won't see many posts/shares relating to the Higher Ideals of their faith. What you will see is a plethora of articles and memes about Muslims and Mexicans and BLM and Gays and Hillary and Obama - each and every one of which, in addition to usually being wildly inaccurate and rife with grammar/spelling errors, just screams out, "Hate these people! They're not like us!"
Woody Allen wrote over thirty years ago (in Hannah and Her Sisters) that “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.” He wasn't referring to all Christians - I'm not either. I believe there are many who struggle to allow their "better Angels" some authority, who believe deeply in the words of Jesus as they're written in red, and not in the very loose and hateful interpretations giddily peddled and exploited by the Darkness in a quest for their vote.
Those are the Christians more likely to share pictures of kitties and shit.
DIVIDED WE SUCK
Or, "Why 'Partisan Politics' Ain't Partisan when the Other Party's Nuts."
by Ty Hager
I know, I know. When you hear (or read) the word Partisan, you reflexively crinkle your nose - the same physical reaction to that rhetorical assault on the senses as to a public fart, often resulting in a creatively similar laying of blame. You think of those Damned Obstructionists on the other side of the Aisle, long ago abandoning any motives but the Almighty W, the very grease which keeps the Wheels of Power and Greed and Corruption rolling, the lack of which brings the Wheels of Progress to a crying, cringing halt.
Then you think about the flip side of the same nasty political coin - the partisan Constituency egging on the Party - happily falling for the Happy Angry Fear-shit shoveled to them not only by their Elected Representatives, but by a highly-motivated and similarly-suspect Media, mobilizing the Sheeple like Hope and Reason never could.
THEN you realize that someone from the Right is probably (slowly) reading this, nodding his or her sloped alabaster head* in some weird 'Alternate Universe-y' kind of agreement, and it hopefully hits you right smack dab in your relatively-well-functioning brain how simply bat-shit crazy this all is, and why we absolutely MUST have what detractors will surely call Partisanship - and that, at this moment in history, it's our best and only freakin' chance!
They Think Donald Trump's an Okay Guy
First off, I guess we ought to lay out the definition of Partisonship, so I can then explain why this ain't it:
prejudice in favor of a particular cause; bias.
synonyms: bias, prejudice, one-sidedness, discrimination, favor, favoritism, partiality, sectarianism, factionalism
THE critical components of Partisanship are 'bias' and 'prejudice,' both of which imply - the former implicitely, the latter explicitely - a rush to judgement based upon factors (i.e., "preconceived notions") with no causal relationship to the issue at hand. Here's how we absolutely AIN'T doing that:
THEY THINK THIS GUY IS OKAY...seriously.
You see what I'm getting at here? We're not PRE-judging. We're judging them (and hence their cognitive faculties, or lack thereof) for reasons they proclaim loudly, proudly, and occasionally without errors in spelling and/or grammar. It absolutely baffles us (and actually a pretty good-sized majority of the inhabitants of the globe), and we could drop the mic and walk away without needing to elaborate.
They think this guy is okay.
Lordy, that's wacked.
Okay, I'll Elaborate
This whole 'Trump is okay' thing has been explored by exasperated and disbelieving pundits since even before the moron started talking about the size of his dick in that idiotic debate. It is now the coarse dim angry thread which runs through the very essence of the Republican Party, the long-sewn (and sown, if I was using a farming analogy...but I'm not) individual mind-blowing stances - on everything from healthcare to gun control to immigration to voter rights to Gay Rights - which we used to think were as loony-toons as you could get, but which all now - stitched together as they are with bullshit and Crazy Glue (included at no extra charge) - make completely logical nonsense.
- They think Syrian Immigrant kids are more dangerous than our own ridiculously-armed populace? Of COURSE they do! They think Trump's an okay guy!
- They believe the Russia thing is a hoax (STILL!), and no big deal, while the majority of the most damning evidence comes not from biased speculation but from the Principals' Own Mouths (or fingers, in the case of Twitter)? You're goddamned right they do - and they think Trump's a fine feller!
- They vote for folks whose sworn mission is to cut food stamps and government assistance to the needy, while as often as not they're on the receiving end of THOSE VERY BENEFITS?!! Heck yeah! Trump's a good, Christian man!
And that's just the tip of an iceberg bigger than the one that Climate Change had nothing to do with breaking off of freakin' Antarctica...(very awkward sentence structure, but you get my drift).
Of course, they attempt to rationalize their distinct and amazing irrationality with those handy-dandy catch-phrases like "fiscal responsibility," "national debt," "security," and - most laughably - "religious freedom," while their FB pages are littered with bogus stories about nothing more substantive than which Muslim killed which innocent White Person,** or how poor Trump is a victim and every piece of evidence which says otherwise is "Fake News," or blah blah blah "Hillary."
Oh yeah...apparently some immigrant Gypsies are taking craps all over Pennsylvania streets. That's a hot, steaming topic now.
Rather ironic, I think, that after twenty years the entirety of the GOP Platform is reliant on those who can't quite seem to grasp what the definition of "is" is.
It Ain't 'Partisan,' It's Our Nation's Only Hope
This is the part where I piss off some of my Independent-minded friends, too...
In a wack-a-doodle world, where nearly absolute power rests in the hands of those elected by a minority of angry voices, there exists an ideologically-inverted microcosm - those reasoned and well-intentioned among us who still cling more tightly to principle than to reality, and whose anger and righteous indignation still cloud their judgement.
Independence is awesome, and the concept which got this whole ball rollin' - but the truthful irony is that there is no Independence without Unity. If we are to overcome this plague upon our very Democracy, we can't be gettin' all bitchy about our best weapon. Which is a united Democratic Party.
You know what? I was as pissed as you were at that whole DNC thing last summer - I felt like a good number of folks were denied their voice, and I felt it was a major strategic error. But I never for a second considered supporting anyone but the Democratic Nominee, because harsh reality bites harder than twinges of conscience, and an absolute FACT of our current flawed political system is that it's either going to be Democrat or a Republican in the White House, and the VAST majority of the seats of Congress. Spare me the stats about the percentage of voters registered as Independent - only a whopping 4% of them VOTED that way. I truly admire your principles - but to adhere to ONLY your principles is sometimes the best damned way to doom them.
Another irony is that so much of the Hillary/Democrat hatred among otherwise smart-as-whip Indies is brought to you by exactly the same folks who brought you "Donald Trump's an okay guy." They've got you believing that "both parties are just the same," which is almost as ludicrous as, you know, "Trump's an okay guy." Almost. And you're a YUGE part of their plan, for they don't care that you'll never vote Red, so long as you don't vote BLUE.
Bottom line for me is that the Democratic Party has brought us some of the most stunning achievements as a Nation (and as a Civilization) of the last hundred years. We've more recently had some of the greatest minds of their generations at our helm (no offense, GOP, but we've had a Rhodes Scholar and Constitutional scholar, men MUCH closer intellectually to our Founding Fathers than, say, an actor and two dimwits. Sorry, just had to be said), and there can be no denying that the very core of the Democratic Party Platform, the very essence of what we've done, has been for the betterment of the lives of the widest range of our diverse Citizenry. I'm sure as hell not going to say we need to toss out the baby with the bathwater just because the baby misbehaves sometimes. She's still a beautiful baby.
These are serious times, folks, and there's only one practical solution:
You know, get all Partisan and shit. For the love of Pete, THEY THINK TRUMP'S AN OKAY GUY!!
*merely a descriptive caricature, likely but not intended to offend those Conservatives whose noggins ain't necessarily sloped.
** I guarantee a helluva lot more White People have killed other White People than Muslims ever could, unless we were to agree on a National Caucasian Cease-Fire for a long while (a "Coon's age," they might say), to give those ungodly Allah-worshippin' creatures a chance to catch up...oh wait, that's what us Gun Control nuts are advocating - sigh...extrapolation on Right-Wing fantasies can give one a headache.