Moral Bankruptcy by Dan Vojir
The Republican National Convention has again proven that the Republican Party and its platform is morally bankrupt. With its "pro-family", "pro-life", and pro-corporate stances, the Republican Party is against everything that has made this country the greatest entity for humanity's survival in history. This is not a convolution of progressive thinking, but a statement of fact: America was founded on the premise that "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" superseded all other ideologies because it was not the most religious, nor the most fiscally responsible, but because it was the most humane.
America is a country of survival, the primordial tenet of any Creator's creation: it was formed to help people survive in a world where oppressive entities ruled, thus honoring its Creator in the best possible way. Those oppressive entities were ruling monarchies, ruling religions and (later) ruling economic factors brought about by greed and colonialism. Today, this American spirit is still seen in its national and global compassion: Social Security, Medicare, food stamps (SNAP) and global welfare organizations sustained by grants from the U.S. government are all testaments. It's compassionate entreaty to survival is inscribed at the base of its own Statue of Liberty. And as to liberty, the American spirit strives to provide the freedom to survive in whatever way each of its citizens wishes. It also enables survival by trying to optimize equality regardless of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or social class.
For these qualities of the American spirit, our country can be deemed to be among the most ethical nations on earth. And these qualities are sorely lacking in the Republican Party. Why? Simply because it is now a political party that kow-tows to Christofascism, the kind of fascism, (attributed to Sinclair Lewis), that is "wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." The tyranny of the Christian Right and its votes is fearsome: candidates like Tod Akin parrot its junk science; its dire warnings of moral collapse have breached the wall between church and state too many times to ignore. Indeed, it has come to insist that there is not now nor has there ever been any such a wall. With its insistence that America was founded as a Christian nation (ala pseudo-historian David Barton), its comes perilously close to insisting that it be a Christian ONLY nation. Reconstructionism and Dominionism are creeping dangerously onto the political landscape. Teaching Creationism in public schools is being promoted at the state level. States like Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and North Carolina and Texas have rolled back the clock in terms of reproductive rights and given "Bible-minded" students free rein to bully in public schools. There are pastors whose Sunday sermons posit that Medicare and Social Security are not biblical and, therefore, not morally legitimate.
Paul Ryan's ties to the Christian Right are steadfast and troubling: his recent statement about rape and conception mirrors the Christian Right. True, he has made an exception when the life of the mother is in danger, but that is a stance that is even hard core pro-lifers are loath to defy since doing so would make them look totally heartless and give credence to the left's idea that there is a "war on women".*
Ryan's personal ties to the troubled Cardinal Timothy Dolan** have raised some eyebrows, but only on the left. Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Ryan:
And,' I said, "let me applaud some of the things you are doing, namely your call for financial accountability and restraint and a balanced budget . . . and . . . let me also applaud your obvious solicitude for the poor."
Poverty is no laughing matter, but openly
mocking it in the light of Ryan's policies should cause more than a few nervous
titters on the Right and loud guffaws on the Left.***
The Akin/Huckabee Show of Morality
Perhaps no other GOP tie to the Christian Right is as strong as the issue of abortion: it defines that the GOP really thinks of women and its treatment of women primarily as vessels for offspring.
And that issue got a jolt with the pronouncement of Senate candidate Tod Akin: "legitimate rape" became the buzzword for a theory that the extreme Right had under wraps by an obscure doctor: Dr. John C. Wilke was the founder of the National Right To Life Committee had written a "Handbook on Abortion" - a not-so-obscure tome in anti-abortion/Christian Right circles. In fact, Akin was merely reiterating what anti-abortion activists had been positing for a long time: women who got "forcibly raped" did not get pregnant. And scientific fact, like evolution, was passed over in favor of wishful thinking. "Junk science" served its purpose: to lessen the consequences of rape, thereby making it more passable to pro-lifers. The immorality of denigrating women was also lessened.
The chief supporter of Akin (admittedly, one of the few left in the Republican Party), is none other than Mike Huckabee.
Politico has an in-depth report about the conference call Friday afternoon between former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and "hundreds of Southern Baptists" in which he invoked Old Testament imagery to explain the task facing Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin and his supporters.
In the call, he railed against the pressure being brought to bear on Akin to quit Missouri's U.S. Senate race and compared Republican establishment to "union goons" in their treatment of vendors and consultants.
But Huckabee is still scheduled to speak at the GOP convention, a move on the part of the GOP that signals just how inextricably tied to the Christian Right the GOP is - for better or worse. In fact, in Huckabee, the GOP has a tri-fold "anti" on board: a former Southern Baptist minister who adheres to the subservience of women, is virulently homophobic and is exceptionally Islamophobic as well. The immorality of the GOP will be glorified by its most "moral" compass.
The Greed Of Grover
Behind the GOP's position on "no new taxes" is the (by now) ubiquitous Grover Norquist. The embodiment of deregulation - the kind that the Bush years gloried in, bringing about the Great Recession - Norquist's greed effects the middle class and the poor to such a degree that the immorality of his philosophy seems obvious. But greed, like the poor, will always be with us and the likes of Norquist will always play upon the greed inherent to believe they can never have enough. Norquist is the beloved of prosperity preachers.
Onward Christian Homophobia
Tony Perkins, head of The Family Research Council, has recently stated that he helped to write the GOP's platform on marriage which will be unveiled at the convention. In addition, it has been posited that debunked historian David Barton ("America was founded as a Christian Nation") also had a strong hand in some elements of the platform. Both have had strong enough stances against LGBT rights to be considered key elements of hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Collapse Of Compassionate Conservatism
George W. Bush tried to soften the focus of the GOP through his concept of "compassionate conservatism" - a concept that few actually believed and even fewer ever practiced. But with the present GOP platform - the one formally presented to the nation - "compassionate" can be said to be replaced by "vengeful" ... and in bold letters. It is the immorality of revenge: against Obama, against LGBT rights, against women's rights, against Muslims, against the weight of poverty upon the populace.
And the politics of revenge is perhaps the most immoral attribute of all of the Republican Party.
God help us.
*But there is.
** As archbishop of Milwaukee, Dolan agreed to settlements for priests accused of child molestation (OpEdNews, When Sex With Altar Boys Was Profitable)
*** Now that Ryan's tax returns show that he has given only a tiny portion of his large income to charity, Dolan will be hard-pressed to back up that statement.