People for the American Way (PFAW) have drawn our attention to another Michele Bachmann event, namely, that she has “blamed the devastating flooding in North and South Carolina on U.S. Israel policy.”
US turns its back on Israel, disasters following http://t.co/1hYq8GAP7j
— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) October 4, 2015
Leaving aside for a moment the question, “Why is God punishing South Carolina in particular?” we have to ask the bigger question: “Whaaaaaaaat?”
Now look, we are used to Republicans blaming natural disasters on God, or claiming the effects of anthropogenic global warming is the effect not of humans but of God, but it seems rather bizarre that God would destroy South Carolina. At least he aimed at and hit his targets in Sodom and Gomorrah, according to the Bible, if not for the reasons people like Bachmann claim.
On a side note, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is now calling for federal disaster aid for his state. One has to ask, in light of Michele Bachmann’s claims, if giving that disaster aid is not shaking a finger in God’s face. Not only does Graham now contradict his earlier opposition to relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, but Republicans can’t get their stories straight.
Look at another false prophet, Jonathan Cahn, who was predicting a huge, God-induced financial meltdown that would collapse civilization as we know it by the end of September 2015. It didn’t happen. So now he says his prophecy extends to September 2016. You can imagine what he will say on October 1, 2016.
These people just say whatever is convenient at the time.
So much for their claim to stand against moral relativism. There is nothing more morally relativistic than a Republican who wants to scare people into doing what they want.
Back to Bachmann: She is wrong. We are not suffering God’s punishment, but our own. This sort of bizarre utterance should never have become so familiar to us that we barely bat an eye anymore. And it needn’t have.
As Grist reported yesterday, “Norwegian academic Sondre Båtstrand, found the American conservative party is the only one that denies climate change.” They do so loudly and publicly. A group in Australia wants to boycott travel to the United States because it’s no longer safe because of rampant gun violence – and they’re right.
When are we Americans going to wake up to these intolerable realities and do something about it?
This irrational thinking and resultant irrational actions in Congress, is obviously a problem for not only the world but for the rest of us, who find ourselves hostage to volatile and unstable right-wing ideologues who rival the Islamic State for extremism. The Islamic State is destroying archaeological treasures; the GOP wants to destroy natural wonders like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
The rest of watch more or less helplessly as Ben Carson asks where gravity comes from, Marco Rubio says “America is not a planet,” and Carson then rise to the level of atrocity during a Facebook Q&A as he pronounces that he has “Never saw a body with bullet holes more devastating than loss of gun rights.”
We often say that the GOP’s current problems with extremism (in the form of Donald Trump most spectacularly) are self-created, and they are. But we cannot ignore our own guilt in tolerating the intolerable.
For far too long Americans have tolerated this nonsense. Republicans in particular of course, but liberals and progressives, to the extent they have been able but unwilling to vote, also must share a burden of responsibility for the state of our political discourse.
As a society, we have tolerated too much in the name of tolerance. There are certain things that cannot be tolerated: the loss of voting rights, the loss of First Amendment rights, stripping women of their reproductive rights, murdering black Americans in the street like we once allowed them to be lynched. That stain is on all of us. We have allowed conservatives to run their mouths to extremes none of us would have imagined half a century ago, and then let them act on it.
Where has the outrage been? Where has the popular uprising – the political revolution Bernie Sanders now calls for – been? Why has it taken so long for Americans to wake up to the dangers posed by the monsters in their midst? This is a party that will spend millions and waste months launching investigation after investigation over four dead Americans in Benghazi yet when 6, 8, 10, a dozen or more Americans are gunned down in mass shootings say, “Stuff happens.”
Stuff does happen. That doesn’t mean we have to tolerate it. We don’t. We can’t and we won’t. And we can no longer tolerate the intolerable, which means we can no longer tolerate the crass ignorance of the Ben Carsons and Marco Rubio’s of this world, nor the hateful intolerance of would-be Mussolini’s like Donald Trump, or the awful indifference of Jeb Bush or the false righteousness of Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.
By the standards of our nation’s founding ideals, all of them are damned. Remember the words of John Quincy Adams to the House of Representatives on July 4, 1821, because this was what America was supposed to be:
“America…goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy…The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. the frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished luster the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.”
Adams reminded Americans that,
“[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.”
How today’s House of Representatives would boo this speech.
Not only has our honor as a nation been tarnished by these authoritarian demagogues, these war criminals and economic terrorists, but our people have been hurt, starved, beaten, and even killed or left to die by them.
It must stop here. Now. With our votes in 2016. Or we will be damned right along with them when future historians look back on our time. And I, for one, don’t want to be remembered in the same breath as those who let Hitler come to power.
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.