The Republican Platform Aims at a Time Before the Constitution

George Washington isn't the father of THEIR country

I always thought it a shame that Republicans could summon up no nostalgia for a past that really was, and felt compelled instead to invent a past not for nostalgic purposes but as a divinely ordained state we must be returned to.

There was never a Golden Age on earth. No matter what anyone says, Christian or Pagan or otherwise. None that history can identify. We find no evidence for such an exalted state in the Bible either, as the Garden of Eden went sour before that experiment could bear any fruit. It is hardly surprising that a woman thinking for herself is said to have been the cause of our species’ downfall. Women to this day are being told not to use their brains or even that they have none to use.

Americans love to fantasize about our country’s lost innocence. If such a thing can be said even to exist it is more along the lines of an illusion of innocence, or perhaps delusion is a better word. It is commonly said that it was World War II that destroyed our innocence, and Korea, and the debacle of Vietnam. But we are a country that first slaughtered the Native Americans east of the Mississippi, stole their land, and for an interlude started a war with Mexico so we could steal the Southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada) before finishing off the Indians of the Great Plains and Southwest and engaging in some small-scale imperialism in the Caribbean and Philippines. Innocence in 1941? Delusion. By 1941, America’s virginity was a distant memory.

When Republicans do miss something American, it’s always from before the Constitution, the Constitution forming a demarcation point between bad ass oppress-your-neighbor thinking of the Old Testament and the enlightened principles of secular reasoning, a demarcation line between belief and science, between individual human rights and obey or die.

Because here is the thing. If you go down the list of all the things Republicans oppose, you won’t find any of them banned by the Constitution. The Constitution says nothing about contraception, or abortion, or same-sex marriage. The things the Republicans want banned are addressed in the Bible (and sometimes not even there, whatever they claim to the contrary). But the Bible is not the founding document of this country. The Bible doesn’t even get a mention in the Constitution, nor do the supposedly hallowed Ten Commandments.

Their constant appeals to belief and to rights of conscience are all aimed at the Bible – mostly the Old Testament (It is almost as if the New doesn’t exist).  Fundamentalist leaders have always opposed the Civil Rights movement, which had its basis in the principles of the secular enlightenment and individual human rights. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham were conspicuous by their absence, Falwell going so far s to say in 1965: “Believing the Bible as I do, I would find it impossible to stop preaching the pure saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and begin doing anything else—including fighting Communism, or participating in civil-rights reforms.”

Meanwhile, Jesus has been twisted into the lapdog of plutocratic imperialists, a supporter of the rich against the poor, a reversal as dramatic as the claim that the Constitution is somehow based on and dependent upon the Ten Commandments. One Republican principal stands head and shoulders above all others: If you are going to lie, lie big, and lie often. Outside of the intolerance, which is perfectly in keeping with monotheistic religions in general, there isn’t much of Christ to be found in fundamentalist Christianity, with its focus on Old Testament fire and brimstone; you don’t see fundamentalist leaders or politicians quoting the Sermon on the Mount. When was the last time you heard one of them so much as mention the beatitudes?

No, Republicans don’t want to take back our country; they want to take our country back, back to a time before the United States, before the Constitution to the unworkable Articles of Confederation, to pre-Constitutional religious intolerance and oppression of minorities and of women. They want to take America back to  the time the Constitution was designed to banish, when state-sponsored religion could freely trample the rights of men, women, and children and force blind obedience to a narrowly defined set of beliefs and punish those who refused to conform, to a time when religion could banish science and punish the audacity of scientists for casting doubt on holy writ. Republican legislation proves this: it is all punitive, designed to punish and humiliate those who dare live outside their dogma and doctrine.

America cannot go back and remain America; America is irrevocably tied to the Constitution and its secular enlightened principles, principles which stand counter to the restrictions and intolerances of Biblical religion. America cannot be the new Israel, it cannot be the new Jerusalem or the shining city on the hill, because the Constitution forbids that. What Republican talk about taking back America really means, what it really amounts to, is their saying, “How dare you? I should be able to kick the shit out of you for rejecting my beliefs, and if I get my way, I’ll make sure you never say no to me, and if you do, you will regret it.”

Republicans speak in code, not just through Frank Luntz’s political lexicon but through religious codes, and Americans need to understand that what Republicans say is seldom what you think they are saying and seldom what they actually mean even if you get the general gist. As George Lakoff says, Republicans don’t think like us and we don’t think like them and the sooner we figure that out, the better off we’ll be. Americans need to wake up to the viper in their midst and quit letting Republicans distract them with things like Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran and Sharia law, or appeals to taking America back to its Christian roots, because those roots aren’t American at all, but Biblical, and they are not the same thing at all. Right now you have a choice: Embrace delusion if you will in 2012, but you’ll do some real lamenting later because if you embrace it now, you’ll give up the right to say no later, and many other rights besides. Because your free thought violates their rights of conscience, and guess who wins that one?

25 Replies to “The Republican Platform Aims at a Time Before the Constitution”

  1. That *is* pretty much what they want: to abolish the right to say “no” to our “betters”. And who are those “betters”? Not the ignorant Teahadi Rent-a-Mobs, whatever they think. They’re only the ones who wouldn’t *think* of saying no…yet…because in a mix of gullibility* and self-delusion, they think their masters are on their side, and if they ever get what they want, by that time, it’ll be too late.

    *So called because gulls will notoriously swallow anything.

  2. The only item I disagree with in the above article is the use of “code words”. The GOP has, for the most part, stopped using code words and are now in outright Fundamental Christen Right Wing(nut)attack mode.
    Look no further than the poster boy of religious fanaticism than Santorum: Kennedy and his “Separation of Church and State” speech made him “vomit”; Birth Control pills should only be used for medical reasons and not to have wild abandoned sex. (Contraception pills are just that, a way to have sex without having children, thus not having to make the incredibly emotional and spiritual decision of having an abortion)!; the total denial of abortion on ANY grounds, including getting pregnant by rape; and making sure that Biblical teaching of creation are the dominate educational teachings of science, Darwinism can be mention, but just barley, and evolution?? forget it!!
    This is not a hidden code, this is an outright attack on the very foundations this country was STARTED ON…FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSIVE RELIGIONS DOGMA AS LAW!!!
    The more this election cycle progresses, the more the GOP infects it’s insidious Fringe Far Right Fundamental Religious Christen agenda into the main stream conversation, the closer we get to being put in the middle ages, where Heathens, Pagans, Jews and other Non Christen believers will either “Convert” or die…slowly…painfully…with…fire…publicly, with show trials…inquisitions…you get the picture.
    Santorum has a better than even chance of becoming the GOP presidential candidate, and if that happens, he actually could carry the election. I know this sounds far fetched, but what is not far fetched is a very well organized fringe element that can get the vote out…in force!!
    The negative tone of the presidential campaign will get very loud, toxic and ugly. This is a planned move by the Fringe element. Don’t discount it because the more negative, dark, disgusting and ugly they can make the campaign, the more likely moderates will not participate in the voting process. It is a proven fact, and one that was successful in the past. The Far Right Fringe knows this, so they will keep the campaign in the gutter, and use code words ( I agree with you on this Hrafnkell) to attack President Obama’s race, religion and birth place, along with his policies. The more relentless the attack and its negativity, the more likely moderates will get fed up with the election and opt out of voting. Without the moderate vote to balance the election, the better the chances the well organized Fringe Christen Element will have of taking power back and putting in place their very destructive and restrictive policies as law.
    How to counter this…simple…VOTE!! All who read this web site, VOTE!! It’s that important!

  3. “religious freedom” and “rights of conscience” are very much code words – even “pro-life” is a code word

  4. If they get too frankly virulent, the moderates just might get out and vote…against them. It crosses my mind, though, that they might well use election violence against anyone who looks like a “wrong” voter*, and we have seen that a Presidential election, however wrongly won, will be upheld.

    *Quite possibly against most female voters, who are inclined to vote Democratic and tend to be less physically strong,more physically timid, and psychologically unprepared to fight back.

  5. Very true, just saying that a lot of the past codes words they used are no longer necessary, it’s outright bigoted and racist, without any regard to try and hide it! But speaking in code, and saying one thing and doing another is the agenda, and it’s getting easier to see, day by day!

  6. Hrafnkell, while the gist of your article is accurate and I agree with it, please don’t forget it was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King who is famous and respected for his civil rights work, and that many churches were very much involved in the fight too (even more fundamentalist black churches). One of my friends was a Methodist minister and a freedom rider, and it was his religious beliefs that promoted his life-long struggle for rights and decent treatment of the Other. (Even today, he is vilified in print and preached against in the dominionist churches… which let me tell you, isn’t fun.)

    I agree about the connection between the focus on the OT and abuse of minorities. This came to me in a dream a few weeks ago… that long before the days of Jesus, what could be called “The Church of the anti-Christ” (as in the inverse of Christ, not some spiritual evil being) existed, and that it was a very big problem for real Christians from almost the crucifixion (and I personally would add resurrection). There have always been a struggle between the people who seek to understand and follow what Jesus (and many other people with a strong attachment to the Divine) have taught, against the people who turn religion into a force for domination and exploitation.

    That they’re winning in this country (especially if we don’t soundly defeat them this year and in the following) is heartbreaking to the people who follow the path I do. That “other church” spawns hatred from people who view the Divine differently than we do (such as yourself) and causes innocent people to be blamed and even punished for things they didn’t do. We get blamed because we value Jesus and His name (even as they do harm in His name) – even though I feel that for them, Jesus is more of a magic word, a “get out of jail free” card as it were.

    It seems to be American nature (shoot, this has been observed) to try to pigeonhole everyone and everything… to try to put everything into stereotypes. Stereotypes are usually wrong and doing so is a mistake (just as assigning values or beliefs to you because you’re pagan would be). Reality is always more complex than we think or how we view it… and this is a truth that should be considered by everyone (even myself – GRIN!).

  7. Absolutely right Hraf! In fact, the religious fanatics hate the Constitution because it contradicts every single concept of the Christian bible and they know it. It’s sickening. We get assailed for writing about religion, but there’s nothing in conservative, right-wing agendas that aren’t directly traceable to fundamentalist dogmata. It is just mind-boggling that these maniacs seriously want to drag us into 2,000 BCE mosaic law, and the GOP is leading the way.

  8. Yes, and Falwell and the others declined to help or even approve of Dr. King’s work. I am specifically addressing the ranks of fundamentalist Christianity, in which I would most definitely not include Dr. King since it is difficult to discern any actual Christianity in fundamentalist Christianity.

  9. Because 2000 B.C.E. was good times for everybody…no pesky germ theory of medicine – just use scapegoating rituals instead to get rid of the plague when next it visits. Prayer works so well for everything!

  10. Edgar Cayce, whom I by no means always take at his word, called them the “Sons of Belial”, and stated they had been around prior to recorded history. Using a linguistic coincidence, I’d say they belie everything that Christianity initially purported to be about. They are for hierarchy, stratification, use and abuse, the means are so much fun we’ll invent an end to justify it, hypocrisy, harsh judgement, the worship of malevolence for its own sake, and *voe victis* generally.

  11. (Laugh) and in reality, the scapegoating rituals predate Christianity by a LONG time.

    Ritual sacrifice anyone?

  12. Very true. Religions evolve. Plus there is copious evidence that human sacrifice extended well beyond Abrahamic religions.

  13. …”*Quite possibly against most female voters, who…tend to be less physically strong,more physically timid, and psychologically unprepared to fight back…”

    I hope you were biting your cheek when you said this because you may not be paying close attention.

    American woman have become more “buffed” are not afraid to clobber any guy over the head with their mammoth purses, least you forget how many of them have been trained by the military, police force, fire departments, own tasers, guns, pepper spray…I’d like to see a couple of thugs hanging around a polling place trying to get “physical” with female voters…

    There are lots of real women that won’t hesitate “psychologically” to clobber a bible thumper if they come between them and their human rights!

  14. I linked your article to an email I got from Joe Biden today; he was asking little old “me” what things mattered most for the up coming election. I clicked on the “other” box, foregoing the well-organized laundry list, and wrote a short note stating that he and other dems should use your article as a base for speeches; they must start talking about the radical fundies…I told him you wouldn’t mind…

    I also posted it over on my forum as former cultist are very, very interested in what the christian right is up to, even though many of them belonged to non-christian based cults. They know the “curse” of a vengeful “god” whose followers inflict humiliation, pain, suffering and punishment on those who will not follow dogma handed down by the “superior” god-spoken.

  15. I’m living in a Podunky county of coastal Florida, where about half the older ladies conform to that stereotype. The other half catch runaway horses, carry fruit trees, sink posts, and stick their hands into dofights.

  16. In the election of 2008, I was first or second in line to vote, and was approached by two very aggressive individuals who wanted to see my Voter Registration card. They had no visible ID tags, and nothing to show that they were official Poll Watchers or connected to any authority at all, but they seemed real interested in me, and wanted me to step out of line. I told them that I saw nothing official on them that would give them the authority to ask me anything. They got real aggressive and said they had every right to ask for my ID. I stood firm and asked them for some form of official ID to prove they had the authority to ask me ANYTHING. It was getting loud, and one of the real official Poll watchers came through the door, at which point the two male individuals looked at him, looked at me, and walked away. I pointed out to the Poll Watcher who they were and what they were trying to do, and he said they were a members of such and such a church. (I might add I was wearing my Star of David necklace around my neck on the OUTSIDE of my shirt, which I have been doing since I got it as a present from my wife for my Birthday years ago). I asked him if one of the Poll Watchers could remain outside to help the line, but rules prevented them from where I was supervising the line, only when people enter the voting area. He came out because of the loud voices. He is allowed to call the police if there is trouble, but has to see it to call it in. I wonder if these two righteous dudes show up again this election season. Being retired from a law enforcement background, it’s not easy to intimidate me, but that might not be the case of the people you mention. What you say has a scary ring of truth to it, and it could really be a factor in this upcoming election. I thought this was all taken care of after the Civil Rights movement, guess we still have a LONG ways to go to have a really fair election.

  17. I’d advise voters to carry cell phones on them and leave them turned on until they are safely within the polling place. Dial 911 if you are threatened in ANY way. If you have a speaker feature, turn it on when they make any audible threats. If you must walk to the polls, try to go with someone you can trust. If someone is offering rides to the polls, make sure they’re reputable. If your boss might restrain you from voting, call in sick. This election is going to be nasty.

  18. For the last few years, our voting place is in a church (Methodist), but they’re really careful to keep anything that could be a problem out of sight and have always been friendly and helpful. HOWEVER, I’ve heard of a couple of other churches used as voting places in this county, where they’d put pro-life and very political posters way up high, so that if you looked up while voting you’d see them. (I don’t know how they got away with it.)

    They were, shall we say, more conservative churches… and I heard of one of the churches from a person who voted there and saw it himself and who was rather unhappy about it.

    I’m going to be very curious to observe how many pro-Democrat and pro-freedom signs I see in this county during this election, and I may even go around and take a count. During the last two elections, there was only ONE pro-Democrat sign, as I’ve related before. There were reports (in the news and by the grapevine) that they’d caught at least one team of “good Christian youth” who had been going around destroying signs for Democrats… and who had bragged at destroying hundreds of signs in one of the neighboring counties. There were also complaints of signs being destroyed or replaced by Republican signs in this county.

    I was worried during the last two elections of problems as you have related… thankfully they didn’t occur.

  19. In truth, I’ve been on the lookout for it myself, and the two Presidential elections before last went with a friend. The ’08 election I walked to the poll before daylight and there was already a line around the blook by the time we were let in. Our precinct’s machine was down. “Florida”, people started saying. Two guys said, “We’ve been trying to get it up since six o’clock.” “That doesn’t sound so good,”, I said. Hey, presto! It worked! The rest is history.

  20. I’m toying with the idea that we’re recycling the Protestant Revolution and the profound influence of a radical change in mass media.

    Many posters remind me of the arguments of Martin Luther. The far right seems a lot like the Catholic Church of the late 1500s.

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