31 August 2011

On not having a choice


It would be nice if, someday, there were once again two parties I could consider voting for.

I know of people who think in terms of weighing the relative merits of the Democrats and Republicans to decide which is better, as if it were still the 1970s. I don't have the option of thinking that way, not now.

As I've pointed out many times, what we have in this country right now is a Christian Right party and a secular party. The Republican party is now mostly in the hands of people who think America was founded as a "Christian nation", who reject separation of church and state, who want to make abortion a crime again, who view homosexuality and pretty much any unconventional way of life as a sinful aberration to be driven back underground if not outright banned. People who reject science, not only in the obvious sense of rejecting the most solidly-established fact in all of science (evolution) -- but in the broader sense of being impervious to empirical evidence, on issues from global warming to Keynesian economics to the effects of abstinence-only sex "education", when it conflicts with their gut feelings and preconceived notions.

In their version of America, I would be a second-class citizen on at least two grounds. In their version of America, science would shrivel from official harassment and lack of funding every time it ran up against one of the random taboos embraced by ignorant fundamentalism. In their version of America, everyone who didn't aspire to live according to the conventional family-values model* would be pushed back into hiding or into the disguise of superficial conformity; either way, into hypocrisy and silent misery.

This means that I don't have a choice. The Republicans are simply not an option for me. As it happens, the Democrats are also a lot closer to my own views on all the fiscal/economic stuff, but even if that weren't the case -- even if it were the Republicans who favored humane and reality-based economics while the Democrats touted laissez-faire Randroid insanities -- it would make no difference. The Republicans still would not be an option, not as long as they remained under the sway of de facto theocrats. Because if their version of America ever became reality, it wouldn't be my country any more. It wouldn't want me.

And, again: Can we afford to let someone who believes God-knows- what about Armageddon and the "End Times" become President and get control of 10,000 nuclear weapons? Think about it.

(An excellent source on what the right wing in the US has become is Right Wing Watch, now added to the blog list.)

In the long run, of course, they won't win. Fundamentalists are a shrinking minority in the US, while the number of non-religious people is growing rapidly. Even if the Republicans did gain enough power to implement a lot of the Christian Right agenda, it wouldn't last forever. But it might well last for a long time. Religious fanatics are a minority in Iran, but they've been in power for 32 years now.

Eventually -- whether it takes one year or twenty -- people like Romney and Christie will win out within the Republican party and it will return to being a party one merely disagrees with on most things, as opposed to being dangerously crazy. Until that happens, it is not an option.

[*It occurred to me some time ago that this is one key difference between primitive and modern societies. In a primitive society, there is one standard way of life to which everyone is expected to conform. A modern society accepts a multiplicity of possible ways of life as being equally legitimate.]

13 Comments:

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Agreed. There is no "choice" if the current GOP continues to be a party only for fundamentalist Christian values. Given the levers of power, I see nothing stopping crackpots like this from carrying out their particular Christianist agendas.

Shudder.

31 August, 2011 05:17  
Blogger Smartypants said...

Excellent way of putting it!

31 August, 2011 05:22  
Anonymous chris said...

Well said Infidel753! There are no longer two options in the body politic. One choice will have to do for the foreseeable future. It will be many years before a Huntsman will be allowed to thrive in the GOP.

31 August, 2011 06:13  
Blogger Ahab said...

I feel the same way, Infidel. While it's difficult to find Democratic candidates I can fully embrace, I'd rather vote for them than Religious Right candidates. It's my concern about Religious Right people gaining more power that motivates me to vote in the first place.

31 August, 2011 06:55  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Interesting post Infodell, I'm sure you know my stand on this as well ...

31 August, 2011 15:27  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

Though the numbers of Right Wing fundamentalists numbers themselves are beginning to dwindle, their influence is not. I saw recently (Huffington Post, I believe) that the top 13 cable news programs are all Fox propaganda products, Bill O'Reilly topping the list.

I have always felt that the Tea Party would have been of marginal influence except that the MSM picked it up and gave it legitimacy.

Hitler knew the power of propaganda and used it effectively.

31 August, 2011 16:20  
Blogger Murr Brewster said...

I have my dark days when I think we don't HAVE twenty years to shed this nonsense.

01 September, 2011 00:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the comments!

SK: The link doesn't seem to work, though.....

MB: I don't think it will take that long.

01 September, 2011 02:56  
Blogger Nance said...

You're right. All eggs in one basket for now. And, yet, I've got acquaintances who refuse to tend that basket precisely because it's the only one they've got. I'm convinced that the best way to steer a course away from dysfunctional polarity is for liberals to pull together on issues and values we can endorse and organize to take advantage of changing public opinion.

The ultracon right will continue to throw its weight around as long as nothing substantial opposes it. So far, polling is not sufficiently substantial. The President, unsupported, is not substantial enough. WE are the substance that must coalesce and consolidate. And our public image had better be something other than "We're for the Lesser of Two Evils."

01 September, 2011 06:04  
Blogger Jeannie in PA said...

"In their version of America, I would be a second-class citizen on at least two grounds. In their version of America, science would shrivel from official harassment and lack of funding every time it ran up against one of the random taboos embraced by ignorant fundamentalism. In their version of America, everyone who didn't aspire to live according to the conventional family-values model* would be pushed back into hiding or into the disguise of superficial conformity; either way, into hypocrisy and silent misery.

Man, this is a scary scenario. Keep pounding the drum.

01 September, 2011 16:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nance: We on the left had damn well better stick together despite whatever differences we have. I just wish some of the extremists could grasp that.

Jeannie: You can bet it scares me. And I'm going to keep on beating this drum, all right.

01 September, 2011 18:09  
Blogger jimbojames said...

I liked a lot of what you said. I think that you nailed a lot of what is wrong with America, but your comment about primitive societies expecting all to act the same is terrifically wrong. The notion that primitive societies required conformity is unproven by a long shot, especially given that all we know about ancient societies and even so-called primitive ones that still exist today allow a lot of freedom to the members. Thus, I'm not sure what you mean when you say they adhere to conformity unlike us wonderful moderns.

03 September, 2011 09:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Got any examples or evidence? Once can see the narrower range of life options even in more primitive versions of our own civilization, such as the 1950s or the Victorian era.

03 September, 2011 10:01  

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