Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ye Shall Know the Truth

The truth always comes out. Sooner or later. It always has. It always will. Sometimes it happens quickly -- sometimes slowly. It may take 3,000 years but the next thing you know somebody is digging up your grave to prove you married your sister or that you were a cross-dresser. I guess its the ability to transform the here and now -- to delay the consequences of the truth being known -- that motivates people to lie, to deceive, to bear false witness.

The election season is upon us. That presents us with another chance to practice our political perfidy. Paul Krugman had an interesting editorial about it yesterday.

”Let’s review the sad tale, starting with the politics.

Whatever hopes people might have had that Mr. Clinton would usher in a new era of national unity were quickly dashed. Within just a few months the country was wracked by the bitter partisanship Mr. Obama has decried.

This bitter partisanship wasn’t the result of anything the Clintons did. Instead, from Day 1 they faced an all-out assault from conservatives determined to use any means at hand to discredit a Democratic president.“

Mr. Krugman is referring to the “vast right-wing conspiracy” for which Hillary Clinton was mocked for even suggesting existed. Let me provide a fuller version of the quote from Mrs. Clinton.

This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.

Well, lo and behold, someone did decide to “write about it and explain it.“ I’ve read several articles/books by those that have but I heard a new one yesterday on NPR’s ”Fresh Air.“ In addition, it presented an angle that was new to me. Terry Gross, the host of ”Fresh Air“ , was interviewing Randall Balmer about his new book, God in the White House. You can read an excerpt from the book at NPR’s web site but trust me, you want to listen to the interview.

”The architects of the Religious Right, however, eager to politicize evangelicals, blamed Carter—wrongly—for stripping places like Bob Jones University of their tax-exempt status because of their racially discriminatory policies.“

Hang on to your hat because this has more twists and turns than a bucket full of snak...uh... serpents.

Bob Jones University (in Greenville, SC) lost it’s tax-exempt status because the Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling that said you can’t be a charity if you have racist policies. That motivated the powers-that-be in the Religious Right to become a political force to be reckoned with. They couldn’t win on a racist platform (not to mention that would be somewhat unseemly for a group that is supposedly religious) so they decided to galvanize around the issue of abortion. (You have to listen to the story to get that part.) Accordingly, they dumped a very religious President (Jimmy Carter) in order to support a (divorced and remarried) Republican that had signed the most liberal abortion bill in the country when he was governor -- one Ronald Reagan. The irony (not to mention the hypocrisy) is incredible.

A black man won the State Democratic primary in South Carolina (home of Bob Jones University in case that irony escaped you.) The Republicans belonging to the vast, right-wing conspiracy are on their knees, praying to God (make that Jesus) that Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination so that they can generate enough hate to motivate the party faithful across the country and keep God in the White House.

Never have so many Republicans been so pleased by Hillary Clinton's success. "Sweet baby Jesus, they saved our bacon," a veteran of the Reagan Administration exulted. "We're back in the game."

Maybe President Bush’s favorite philosopher had it right.

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

Thomas Jefferson said we should keep church and state separate too. By the way, he was a Founding Father but he wasn’t much of a Christian-Founding Father.

Each --religion and politics -- are complicated and confusing enough by themselves. Maybe those guys were onto something. I can’t help but wonder if the people that are so interested in making their preacher the President would be so keen on making the President their preacher. I think not.

You might be asking yourself why a retired air traffic controller is writing about religion and politics. It’s simply because I know how the President affects government. Ronald Reagan fired a bunch of controllers. George Bush (the first) ignored them. Bill Clinton made peace with them. George Bush (the second) declared war on them. It’s much too narrow an issue for any citizen (including me) to base their vote on but it is indicative of how the government has worked (yes, I emphasized “worked”) under each President.

You just had to live with them. I had to work for them. That’s the job you’re voting for them to do -- to run the country. Not to preach to the country and not to run some over-sized business. But to make the government work. Think on it will you ?

Don Brown
January 29, 2008

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