The Fraudulence of the Republican Party and an Adverse Shift in the Balance Between Good and Evil in America

This piece ran as an op/ed in newspapers in my congressional district in Virginia last September.

Summary:
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I’ve been deeply troubled by an adverse shift in the balance of power between good and evil forces in America. That concern has been the driving force in my life in recent years, and it motivated me to run for Congress in Virginia’s 6th District in 2012.

An important part of this shift is a stark mismatch between the fine values of folks like my rural Virginia neighbors and the goals of the political force to which they give their support.

Most of my neighbors are dedicated to conservative, patriotic, and Christian values. The Republican Party gains their support by claiming to be a champion of those values but is serving the very opposite.

As genuine conservatives, my neighbors understand that traditions are there for a reason, and should be honored and respected. But today’s Republican leaders, who claim to be conservatives, trample America’s political traditions while directing their followers’ attention to a few issues of concern that don’t get in the way of their deeper agenda — transferring wealth and power from average Americans to those who already have the most.

Our country has a way of dealing with the debt ceiling. It has been raised as needed more than 80 times without a crisis because both parties know the faith and credit of the United States is too important to mess with. But, like no real conservatives would, today’s congressional Republicans swept that tradition aside in 2011 to extort concessions to their political goals, and are gearing up to try such blackmail again.

The filibuster has been used only as an emergency brake, in exceptional circumstances, for the Constitution says the majority should prevail in the U.S. Senate. But today’s Senate Republicans have shown no respect for that tradition, or for the Constitution, with their insistence that nothing can happen in the Senate without the minority’s approval.

My neighbors are, for the most part, patriotic Americans. They understand that a patriot is someone who is willing to put aside selfish interests to serve the good of the nation. But today’s Republican leaders have shown a willingness to sacrifice America to gain advantage for themselves.

We know, for example, that even before President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, congressional Republicans decided to do everything they could to make this president fail. Trying to make the president fail has never been the American way, but especially at a time, like in 2009, when the nation faced many crises — two wars and the American economy on the edge of an abyss.

You don’t want the president to fail if you’re a patriot. If the president fails — at a time when the national economy is on the edge of an abyss — the country fails, and millions of Americans suffer. No real patriot would want that.

By and large, my neighbors try to be good Christians. They care about “What would Jesus do,” and they take seriously his Golden Rule -“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Today’s Republican Party has seized a couple of issues that arise in people’s private lives to portray themselves as defenders of Christian values. But about the things that Jesus had the most to say, these national Republicans go the opposite way.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” But these Republicans in Congress have made our politics more strife-ridden than we’ve ever seen. They’ve made a fight over everything, opposing even their own ideas if the other side supports them. They’ve made “compromise” a dirty word, though it is at the heart of how our founders envisioned us living in peace.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,” Jesus said, “ye have done it unto me.” But here are today’s Republicans refusing to ask the richest to contribute another penny, while cutting off food for hungry American kids at a time when poverty is increasing and there are still three job-seekers for every job.

Jesus’ message was “love thy neighbor,” and “love thine enemies.” When was the last time the Republican leadership called upon their followers to act from love — of anyone, or anything — rather than from hate or fear?

There’s good reason why our religious traditions have spoken of Satan as “the deceiver.” Most people won’t knowingly support evil. They must be deceived into doing so. Why have the forces of evil in America grown stronger in relation to the forces of good? Deceiving millions of good people into lending their power to an evil force shifts the balance. With that undeserved strength, evil can drag America down. And it has.

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12 Comments

  1. Many of today’s Christians feel empowered by these politics of exclusion. It fits in well with their ideas of a select group going to heaven and everyone else burning in hell for all eternity. These people have an extremely distorted view of their own religion, and they hear it enforced weekly from the pulpit. To see the truth they will have to give up some of what they have been taught and thoroughly enjoy believing. That is going to be a very difficult undertaking. And yes, this should be a part of the series. Keep up the good work.

  2. Just to mention about the filibuster, my recollection is that the Republicans changed the rules during the Bush administration so that it now takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster whereas the tradition had been 50 votes to overcome a filibuster. There was a bestselling book about behind the scenes things like that that Republicans had gotten changed for their benefit, supposedly improvements to the rules. I’ve referenced that book many times, but the author and title escape me at the moment.

    I suggest the accomplishment of that rule change makes filibustering more effective, which is probably why they do it more these days.

    This is another good one, Dr. Schmookler.

    Larry

  3. I found the book in my 2005 orders at Amazon.
    Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy (Amazon link)
    by Jacob S. Hacker (2005). It’s a great book, even if I might be mistaken on this one thing–first mistake of my life! *joke* Or we might be missing something. I gave away my copy sometime ago.

  4. One People! One Planet! If only Americans, and especially conservatives and the religious, would each ask themselves: “Who would Jesus bomb?” We Americans must wake up, stand up and speak out! We can all make a difference for the good of humanity, but we must begin by loving ourselves, our neighbors as well as complete strangers! We are all brothers and sisters and each of us can participate in positive, forward thinking action. Part of the problem is the assault by many big corporations, all too often supported by government, via EMF/EMR [Electromagnetic Fields/Radiation], the “wireless revolution” via cell phones, cordless phones, G4, G5, wi-fi, smart meters, satellite, drone networks [view “The Health Crisis of Our Time” video on right at klingardtacademy.com]. Gil Scott Heron was correct: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised!”. Plus the 80,000 chemicals in use in the USA (80% or more have never been tested for their toxic effects on life). Plus the GeoEngineering—polluting the skies and earth with aluminum, barium, strontium all over the USA and around the planet [Ah, but Monsanto has an “aluminum-resistant array of seeds”, like the “Round-up Ready” seeds, pervasive GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms, in every super-market and restaurant and the vast majority of people’s kitchens. AND gluten that is not only hybridized to the max, but genetically altered AND addictive—it is 40 times what gluten was at the beginning of the 20th century. Read Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD. All these “convenient” technologies are dumbing down the population, making millions upon millions numb and sick, who then live more painful and shorter lives. So how can the population be active? We must return to love, to the basics, and let go of the insanity. “The Best Things In Life Are Not Things”. And “The more you know, the less you need.” But the teacher in me, and you, Andy, spurs us on to educate, engage, inspire, move to action! In closing, I thank you, Andy, for all you do, all these years. Most Americans are basically progressive, but they get bamboozled by so many who are not AWARE, who simply don’t get it, as well as by the slippery evil-doers. That’s the conundrum. Lux Sit! May the light shine in! As the Moose [pronounced ‘mo-say’] people of West Africa say: Wend na kaossa fom! = “May the Great Spirit prolong you!” Taale Laafi! = “Bring Peace/Health!”

  5. Rcihard H. Randall

    Agree with Jimiskin: this was one of the big turn-offs for me in Southern religious practice. Now it has spread.

  6. Andy, I really like and resonate to this piece. It is beautifully crafted and persuasively put. (Even though I think Jesus did not exactly say what you impute to him). The sentiment is congruent.

    Taale, I also appreciated what you said I just spent two weeks with people who are dedicated to eating organic or as close to that as possible. Yet the organic food they buy is very often packaged in non-recyclable plastic clamshells or plastic-coated containers. Where is the wholeness and wellness in that? Is not eating organic supposed to be attuned to the good of the earth/ good of the people in toto? It appears that the corporate influence has taken over even back-to-the earth movements.

  7. This piece should be linked to but not itself directly a “main sequence star” in the series.

    I say this because of your “BTW, the series WILL, as I now plan it, include a two-part piece about how it is that good people get led into supporting an evil force…”.

    It seems to me that this piece would naturally be a good example one might see linked to somewhere in that two-parter, as in “… for example, see [link to] An Adverse Shift In the Balance of Good and Evil in America … “.

  8. Be careful with “you don’t want to see the President fail if you are a patriot”.

    I guess you mean in general, as in no patriot would want the president to fail in everything he/she ever attempts to do while in office. But people may well quickly imagine specific things a president may attempt, and patriotically want such specific initiatives to in fact fail.

    Sections 1021-1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act come to mind.

    NY Federal District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled, in part that “This Court rejects the government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention” effectively ruling that part of the NDAA unconstitutional.

    The White House challenged that injunction and a federal appeals court upheld the challenge. The supreme court has refused to hear the original plaintiffs’ appeal of the upholding of the challenge, so as things now stand that provision of the NDAA can be implemented.

    I would like to see that specific initiative of the President — that we can have an operational state of affairs such that that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention, with no more due process than the President pointing a finger and uttering “terrorist” — fail.

    Does that desire make me unpatriotic?

    I would argue that it does not.

  9. Partially.

    Your addition is short but makes it clear that there is some context involved, and I think most readers will be able to “connect the dots” without your having to spell it out ad nauseam, which would actually appeal to me more.

    I’m not sure that it would be productive to belabor this more by exploring why that addition only partially retires my original concern because I think I actually like, let alone tolerate, lots of detail for the sake of clarity and acknowledgement of caveats even in a “high-level” overarching piece like the ones you are writing. There is a good chance that more verbiage which would satisfy me would turn off most readers.

    So … onward!

  10. Americans are influenced by propaganda and the media have sold themselves to the highest bidder to provide those showers of lies. If there was any semblance of morality left in the society the presstitutes could never get away with it. It is fair to say that this generation has sold out their heritage to an evil force of corporate lobbyists while an overworked labor force cannot respond effectively for lack of sleep and well deserved off-time (with pay).

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