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November 3, 2012

The Party of Religious Fanaticism and Falsehood

By Veena Trehan

Republicans champion American democracy and patriotism while employing the same tactics -- voter suppression, minimizing violence against women, rejecting science, and duplicity -- of religious and tyrannical zealots around the world.

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I'll say it, since the Democrats aren't saying it. The Republicans have become a party of radical extremism and oppression. Election stealing? Check. Agenda to keep women second class citizens? Check. Religious lawmakers who reject science and reality? Check. A lying demagogue who will say anything to gain power? Check. 


If we were located in a different part of the world, we might be invading us.


The Republicans can't buy the election so they have to steal it. The champions of democracy -- at home and abroad -- have created a new era of "Jim Crow" laws. As they should have virtually limitless money, this may speak even more to their incompetence than corruption.    Killing the estate tax alone (something in the "Ryan budget" that Romney said he would sign) would bring $1 trillion to the rich and $30 billion to Walmartheirs. A tax holiday would give $350 billion to corporations; slashing regulations, billions more. Thus in flows the money.   Major supporters include the Koch brothers, whose company was responsible for "the largest compensatory damagesjudgment in a wrongful death case against a corporation in U.S. history" ($296 million), and Gingrich fan Sheldon Adelson who was once the third richest American.

But apparently the big money isn't enough to craft a credible message. The party of wealth needs to lie, cheat and steal like some Third World tyrant.    Voting ID laws passed in 18 states this election cycle. Laws requiring government-issued photo ID could disenfranchise up to 11 percent of population (mostly Democratic) and new voting laws could keep 11 million Latinos from the polls. All this to prevent something rarer than UFO sightings or being hit by lightning. Republicans also tried to purge almost 500,000 voters from the rolls in Texas and Florida and the Romney campaign has mistrained poll workers in Wisconsin. Over 200 billboards were put up in swing states to intimidate African Americans.    But it's not as bad as other countries, right? At least we don't have international election monitors.

Oh wait, we do. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, an entity we helped found, has sent election observers to Texas and Iowa. Instead of welcoming in people who have the right to take part and could help ensure integrity of the process, Republicans government officials in both states threatened them with arrest.

Then there's Republicans' problem with 51 percent of the population. Republicans used the lack of women's rights as justification for invading and nation-building Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they're extending their "war on women" at home. Earlier this week a Republican congressman referred to the    "rape thing" adding to Republican congressmen's statements that getting pregnant during rape is God's will, rape can be "legitimate" (or not), and the body can shut that down pregnancy from rapes. This misogyny extends to Romney-Ryan. The Wisconsin congressman co-sponsored a bill with the now infamous Rep. Todd Akin that used the term "forcible rape", and the two sponsored a personhood amendment which would make abortion, and some forms of birth control, murder.

But these "pro-life" candidates don't believe in the Catholic social doctrine that promotes the interests of women and children everywhere. These beliefs spurred church members in the past to lead food drives, international emergency response efforts, anti-war protests, and campaigns for education and food, all of which help children thrive and succeed. Now Republicans are against providing affordable birth control that has transformed societies. Congressmen, including Rep. Ryan, opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Act to help ensure equal pay. Like mullahs and tyrants, these priorities do not reflect religion, but an attempt to disempower large swathes of the population.    And sadly, their wives, girlfriends, sisters, and mothers haven't yet straightened them out with a "legitimate" slap or other tactics.

Christian Republicans decry the lack of logic in religious tyrants abroad while ignoring science here. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology members and state politicians promote willful ignorance and inaction. Thus weshouldn't tackle climate change (but should provide federal help for climate-produced catastrophes)    and evolution is bunk.    Apparently reality and science are just two more liberal conspiracies.  

They distort even more facts in their blind grab for power. In September, Senate Republicans suppressed a nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report that showed lowering taxes for the wealthy doesn't create jobs or growth.    Recently, conservatives believed jobs reports with high unemployment, but not low. They trusted polls showing Romney's competitiveness, but not those showing Obama's lead.   According to them, white politicians endorse Romney based on his policies, Secretary of State Colin Powell stands behind Obama because of race.

This party is headed by a deceitful demagogue. Romney resembles a spurned lover trying to talk his way back into his good graces of a girl he prays is struck with "Romnesia". Every week -- if not day -- he has a new statement that has nothing to do with false statement from week or day before. He says something that is untrue or inconsistent with his past, ignores the fact he said it, then make another dishonest promise he thinks will work. When his $5 trillion tax cut was proved to be an arithmetic sham, he attacked the government's embassy comments (eventually prompting Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens' parents to tell him to stop) and its Afghan policy. He filled the first debate with lies and the third with agreement with a foreign policy he's blasted for months. Recently, Romney claimed he'd create 12 million jobs, when it was debunked he turned to American dream ads that ignore what promotes mobility -- increased investment in education, infrastructure, and people -- are priorities he's dead against.

This country finds it hard to tolerate countries ruled by radical zealots with no respect for women or reality. A new era of American exceptionalism lies within reach. But it can only be achieved by wholeheartedly rejecting the Republican party, which asserts we are better than other countries even while embodying their poorest examples.


Submitters Bio:

Veena Trehan is a DC-based journalist and activist. She has written for NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and local papers.

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