Jan 15, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Republican Beings

The Greeks had a word for this, hubris!

When I recently said that all the Republicans running for president this year could might as well be speaking Klingon, I meant that they're clearly not speaking to me or any progressive person. It would have been funny, except that obviously they're saying something that many Americans like to hear. For me, the problem isn't how we get things done--at least in such instance, we could debate the better course of action. No, the Republicans [leaders and much of their base] identify the wrong demons. Thus, the proposed policies do not solve problems and do not benefit most Americans. What has the Republicans done in the last many years except to make things worse for most of us? This is the bigger issue here--let's not forget it!

I'm sorry, but I don't think this is what a Republican front runner should be trying to do; but then again, he doesn't even accept the strongest scientific theory we've got, that of evolution! [note to Huckabee: a scientific theory is supported by facts, it's verifiable, and can be amended if better evidence is discovered; it's not an opinion, guess, gut feeling, wishful thinking!]:
I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
Mike Huckabee to a cheering audience, 1/14/2008

These words were not taken out of context. Huckabee is running as a preacher and has made similar statements in the past. Actually, I'd welcome a discussion on the merits of changing our Constitution. Let's see what needs to be changed and debate why. But, this discussion will have to have reason as the platform for a meaningful discussion. Sadly, I don't think Huckabee--and all those who want to impose their religious dogma on the rest of us--are capable of a reasonable discussion without justifying their arguments on what they believe their god commands. Otherwise, we enter into a childish argument, like my god can beat the crap out of your god...

I mean, I myself have had private divine revelations. I know what God wants, and let me tell you, Zeus really doesn't like anyone who believes in false gods. Eternal damnation in Hades awaits those who disobey Zeus. If we were to amend the US Constitution, Zeus has told me, we should establish a theocratic state according to the old Hellenistic religion. Get ready for lots of nudity and a god of wine!

I believe one the best things we've got here is the secular constitution, and the "establishment clause" that separates church and state. In a recent post, I analysed why the US was founded upon this principle and why we must be 1st Amendment patriots.

PS. I have to point to another religious fanatic running for president:

"It is as if they [non believers] are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They're wrong." Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate

[Addendum] A few years ago, I thought that the US would go through a serious struggle, a fight between religion and science/modernity. It has started, and, unless you've been under a rock, it has intensified under Bush & Co. When I wear my political communications hat, I understand that elections are not about educating the public; it's about a battle of ideas and of framing issues. A person makes up his/her own mind after being exposed to myths, ideologies, and the cultural environment usually over a long time. Some myths are so strong that people do not examine them at all. A long and complicated discussion--especially one that challenges strong & long-held impressions--cannot take place in the heat of a political campaign.

Campaigns are ran by appealing to already preconceived notions of the electorate. Image, code words, behavior, are all meant to paint an image of the candidate--an image that re-affirms and identifies with the popular sentiment.

However, the progressives and any person who has a fondness for the truth, have to take a stand to defend against the forces of darkness and regression. We have to contribute to the debate about the conditions in our country today and about the future of humanity. The level and depth of misinformation, scientific illiteracy, and plain ignorance in the US is a serious problem--for a country so influential on the world stage. I don't think any topic should be off limits. A new renaissance, a new Age of Reason is due here.

Lastly, we have to re-open the topic of morality, because I'm sick & tired of being lectured about morality by ignoramuses, theocrats, social authoritarians, and charlatans of history.

editor's note: Religion made simple by Jesus & Mo (sketch above; click to make it bigger)