I find myself at year’s end reflecting on the months past. It is that time of year to take stock of where we are and where we must be. Republicans are busy tallying up the year as well, of course, and their own analysis can be enlightening. I am struck by many things as I peruse conservative sites, but the Republican capacity for self-deception is, as it is every year, a source of wonder. In reading the end-of-year commentary from World Net Daily, I found many examples.
Joseph Farah took the opportunity to attack not Congress’ but Obama’s work ethic in “The Obama Lifestyle“; Curtis Ellis attacked The Sultanate of Brunei (and Obama and Boehner in the bargain) for embracing Shariah Law, hypocritically ignoring his own party’s desire for imposing (an albeit bastardized) Mosaic Law on our own country; Matt Barber, indulging in pink swastika fantasies, implored readers to “stand your ground against homofascism“; while Larry Klayman, who has tried repeatedly to bring down the Obama administration through displays of decidedly limp public protests, denounced Obama’s immigration action in “The emperor’s political Christmas present.”
But it was Star Parker, I think, who really epitomized the conservative capacity of intellectual overreach in her “For 2015: More morality, less politics.” But perhaps one should not hope for much from a black Republican female who thinks blacks were better off as slaves. Here she introduces the subject matter as being “social justice,” a timely topic no one can deny. But she proceeds from the false premise that “Americans originally aimed to build an other-worldly ‘City on a Hill.'”
It is as though she doesn’t realize there were other colonies with other aims and other religious beliefs. The Jamestown Colony wasn’t after cities on hills and they got here before Winthrop and his city on a hill gang, way in 1607. And they were after gold and other riches, which is hardly a surprise given they were founded by a corporation, the London Company:
They got so busy looking for loot that they forgot about feeding themselves, with predictable results. And we could point to Lord Baltimore’s Maryland Colony, which also wasn’t after cities on hills. They had tobacco in mind. The list goes on.
We can probably nail that proud owner of a degree in Christian Education, David Barton, as the source for that. But as Republicans will tell you, they are big believers in personal responsibility, so Star Parker must take her share of the blame for her ignorance.
So while some early colonists did aim for a ‘City on a Hill’ Parker willfully ignores all those who did not. Puritan John Winthrop did not speak for all colonists everywhere, then or later, when he told Massachusetts Bay colonists that their colony would be that “city on a hill.” And he didn’t get here until 1630, when the “let’s make money” set had already established itself on these shores.
She asks if Americans have “made good their audacious claims,” and I would answer that the corporate-minded have certainly had a long history of success on these shores (tobacco has had a long run) though shining cities on hills have been in decidedly short supply unless you’re talking about corporate office buildings.
And while admitting that the “stock market [is] surging to record highs, a sense prevails that something is very wrong in America.” She points to “today’s black sense of vulnerability” but doesn’t blame it on rampant and pervasive racism. No, she points to “police operating in a nation where legal reality is increasingly dictated by politicians and unions rather than moral and constitutional clarity.”
“Constitutional clarity.” Well, that’s a mouthful. But this is what catches my eye: Unions are to blame for police murdering young black men? How does Tea Party racism get ignored? The KKK? Race-baiting Fox News? The increasingly ethnic nationalism of the Republican Party itself?
She does admit that “specific issues of police behavior need to be examined” but claims that “local law enforcement arbitrariness must be seen as symptomatic of arbitrariness at higher levels.”
You see where she is headed, no doubt.
That’s right. She is pointing a finger at “our president [who] waved a magic wand and made 5 million individuals who arrived in our country illegally legal.”
She points to the IRS, “whose job it is to collect taxes, has been turned into a political tool by those in power to pursue those they wish to harass,” even though the IRS did not actually pick on conservative groups as Republicans claim. Even though the so-called IRS Scandal was just another hoax, like Benghazi.
Then she proclaims that “America was founded as a nation under God” even though the Constitution actually founds our nation as an act of “We the People,” not “God” and not the GOP’s precious corporations, which she significantly fails to mention.
When the job of government is no longer to protect you but tell you where you can send your child to school, what that child can learn, what kind of health insurance you can buy, what employers can pay you, who you can hire and fire, where you can live if you are poor and how to save for retirement – you have already lost control over your life.
Interestingly, it is her fellow Republicans who want to tell us where we can send our children to school, what our children can learn (the Bible), what health insurance we can buy (corporations decide), what employers can pay you (as little as they want without minimum wage), where you can live if you’re poor (nowhere, as it happens and we’re not allowed to help you), and how to save for retirement (you don’t; Wall Street gets to steal it).
She says that “When you give power to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, we reap what we sow” and there at least I can agree with her. We gave power to Republicans and now we are paying for it. But if all her complaints seem contrived it is because none of her complaints are real, and if consumers are feeling a desire for real “in an increasingly staged contrived, mediated world,” how is this less true for voters?
Our solution must be based on actual, not imaginary problems, and it is, in fact, necessarily political, as the U.S. Constitution demands. Our solution lies not in handing control over to Churches but in taking control ourselves, as the Constitution also demands; it lies in We the People asserting our control over the political process, kicking Church and corporations alike to the curb where they belong and get on with the Constitution’s avowed purpose, which is government of, by, and for the people.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.