Thursday, December 18, 2008

Excerpt from Conspirators, Confederates and Cronies

Apples for Sale

"Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?" (Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner on the Ten Commandments ruling, June 27, 2005)

During the early days of the Great Depression of 1929, displaced workers took to street corners selling apples at a nickel each. In the late 20s, President Hoover praised such individuals as being the shining example of capitalism and free-market enterprise. They were actually desperate people doing anything they could to get a little money in their pockets.

During the 2004 election, a woman managed to get through the screeners to tell Bush that she was working three jobs to make ends meet. Mr. Bush’s retort was to the effect, “Isn’t America great?” That comment showed an unashamed lack of mercy toward the privation which Bush has brought upon this nation. With idealistic zeal, the Christian community helped George Bush get re-elected. That is a poor commentary on our country, and an even poorer commentary on the Christian community in the United States of America.

Once again, good Christians are bringing the wrath of humanity down upon themselves in the naive belief that they are standing up for Jesus. Unfortunately, they cannot see the damage they are doing to the nation as they try to turn the United States into the Kingdom of God. Having been given assurances of wealth and prosperity, Christians have turned their backs on the words to which they demand adherence:

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see .

Such words fall on deaf ears. Why? Like the religious leadership at the time of Jesus, today’s Christians think they know God, that he is pleased with them, and that they can do no wrong. In their righteousness, they are unwilling to admit to any error, human frailty, or lapse in judgment. Christians exalt themselves before their God and condemn all others. They don’t question themselves. Their way is supreme. They go unchecked.

People don’t discuss religion or politics in polite society. Because these issues are not addressed, power-hungry Christian despots have been ignored. I had a recent conversation with a conservative who told me that the neo-conservative Christian Right was a very small part of the GOP. He assured me that the mainstay of the Republican Party could keep the Christian Right in line. As he said those words, I could hear the echoes of Chamberlain’s assurances that Hitler could be reasoned with. It did not happen in 1938, and it is not going to happen here in the United States in 2006. There is no reasoning with a political group that views everyone else as inferior.

Ignoring, or appeasing, these power hungry clerics is not going to make them go away. According to their own words, it is just going to make them stronger.

Our nation’s founders believed in reasoning with the likes of the Religious Right. However, as time has shown repeatedly, there is no benefit to reasoning with extremists. As it was with the Nazis, the Taliban, and the religious fanatics in Iran, these groups know nothing but the belief in their own superiority over all others.

These people, and the ones they support, have to be swept aside if we are going to come out of this grave, which we have all dug for ourselves. How long do you think the American people will sit by and allow our current government to run unbridled through the globe? How long will other nations allow it to happen?

The June 3, 2006 business section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells of flattening job growth, with May’s job increase 100,000 fewer than projected. At the same time, top executives have netted millions in stock options. Ethanol, used in the E-85 alternative fuel blend, has hit an all-time high of $3.86 a gallon at the Chicago Board of Trade. According to another article, the U.S. ethanol industry “lacks sufficient capacity.” This is all part of the idealist approach to the “free market” economy: Some play (the top executives) and some pay (the rest of us). This is as I said in Well Past Midnight.

This evening, I stopped at a gas station to pick up my weekly treat, a fried pie and a coke. While waiting in line to pay, I saw the current copy of U.S. News and World Report, its cover describing Bush’s declining ratings. I wanted to pick up a copy, but I could not afford it. It cost more than my fried pie and coke. It was nice to see, however, that the mainstays of the GOP are worried.

It seems that most of us are out on street corners selling apples, working one, or two, or three survival jobs, and we are all forgotten by the people running the country.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. – Jefferson.

Is Mr. Bush speaking for God? Do we need the schools turned over to the churches, and the unions abolished by Rev. Falwell? Do we need our CIA murdering foreign leaders who disagree with our policies, or our own State Department nuked to please Rev. Robertson? Are those the hallmarks of a legitimate government? Is the government of the neo-conservative Right, the Theocon Nation, a legitimate government?

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