I watched The Campaign, a comedy about the laughable corruption of American politics. Afterward I couldn’t help but think that Zach Galifinakis’ character, Marty Huggins, is just about the only Republican that I would elect. And then I realized how sad that is, considering his character was made up for a Will Ferrell comedy. And just what is it about today’s Republican Party that is so different from the past, and that makes each and every foot-in-mouth moment and bill proposal so unbearable?
The hypocrisy. The ignorance. The intolerance. The list goes on. The constituents who seem mostly uninformed, and politicians skirting around big issues to nitpick those that are inconsequential, and fighting to repeal anything that actually manages to get done in D.C., and the insane bravado with which they assert their ability to completely fix our country. But mostly, the justification of messages of hate and inequality by claiming freedom of speech and defense of their religious beliefs.
Let’s start with that. Religion. I know it makes everybody uncomfortable, but power through this with me. We need to start here because it’s the beginning of all of the Republican Party’s problems.
This is A-M-E-R-I-C-A. The land of the free, the home of the brave. You can be Muslim here. You can be Christian. You can be Catholic, or a Quaker, even a Scientologist. In theory, you can even believe that you will be greeted with riches in the afterlife if you kill an enemy. But there’s the catch, right? When we penned the Declaration of Independence, we asserted our inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” After the constitution, the bill of rights, the amendments, and all the state’s constitutions were written, that still basically got translated to ‘you can’t kill anybody.’ Your religious freedom ends when it threatens to take away someone else’s rights.
That, right there, is the religion of America. Religion takes many different forms, but ours is simple. This is the one thing that both political parties should be able to agree upon. Something so simple, so concrete, that our ancestors believed in so badly that they gave their lives fighting to provide a future for us, so that we could better ourselves as a nation, learn from our mistakes, and as people work through our indifferences so we can live happy lives.
Today’s Republican Party instead intends to rule our nation from The Bible. So when Thomas Jefferson called for the “separation of church and state,” he obviously meant not holding Supreme Court hearings in a church auditorium, right? No. It means, whatever you believe, that’s fine. But don’t try to make the laws of your God the laws of the people. Because not everyone believes in your God. The only reason that we’ve gotten away with any remotely religious legislation for so long is due to the majority of the nation sharing the same beliefs. And why do you think that the political parties are more polarized now than ever? Because the Republicans have been forced to become more biblical than ever to combat the Democrats, who are more progressive than ever.
Let’s recall why we declared independence from the British in the first place—the colonies were treated poorly and unequally, with corrupt men making their policies, and they were denied the very religious freedom they left to secure…sound familiar? My favorite history teacher would always point out instances in our textbooks when humanity hadn’t learned their lesson. “Unless we are careful, history is always doomed to repeat itself.”
So it was with this chilling realization I sat. Here we are, 236 years later. I guess we’ve made a lot of progress, and yet we didn’t learn our lesson. The whole key to this ‘America’ thing working is that we need to keep religion separate from the governing of our citizens. And we have failed.
Let’s have a quick recap of the main two most salient examples of what ruling with religion has gotten us thus far:
1. Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Feminism isn’t over.
Women have only been prominent in the workplace for less than a century. I wonder where that inequality comes from? Titus 2:3-4, “Train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands.”
Comments made by Obama’s 2012 opposers aside, yes, we know, it’s not just a Republican thing, women used to stay at home. Yeah, they used to not have day jobs. But we’ve been working to fix that. That’s right, women are people too! Everybody should know by now. But that’s where this all started, and still why I do not make as much as a man for the same job.
2. Discrimination against homosexuals
This should go without saying. They’ve been killed for it, they couldn’t serve our country for it, and now they can but until recently they couldn’t admit it still, they can still be fired from their jobs for it, and they can’t get married unless they move out-of-state or lobby for legislation. Can you imagine getting fired from your job because you’re gay? That’s like getting fired for having Diabetes. There are religious people out there who still claim that HIV/AIDs is God’s way of punishing the gays.
What is even more crazy to me: any attempt to pass off religious intolerance as upholding the tenets of this country. The scandal of Chik-Fil-A earlier this year makes this the most apparent. Being openly anti-gay as a company resulted in hoards of idiotic politicians (cough I can see Russia from my house cough) publicly supporting an establishment for its “free speech.” Even though they’re only supporting this particular “free speech” because it’s anti-gay.
I’m pretty much just saying, think of every relevant political topic and try to view it secularly. One of the basic elements of PR is that you try to offend as few people as possible. How is politics not the same way? Can we all just agree to stop using religion as logic and scripture instead of facts?
and one last thing, a little bit of research that everybody should go ahead and take in:
for the 2012 election,
the top 10 ranked colleges in the USA were all in states that voted for Barack Obama.
…so did 16/25 of the USA’s largest cities. Of the 9 for Romney, 6 were in texas.
So it must be the most educated of our higher institutions, as well as the denizens of our cultural epicenters that are ‘uninformed’, right?