Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Once In a Lifetime

Salon.com published an interesting piece today by Gary Kamiya, titled How Bush helped the GOP commit suicide, which is largely based on the results of a long-term study by the Pew Research Center which shows Americans are turning away from the Republican party (and, though, not necessarily turning to the Democratic party instead).

The Iraq War, regressive taxation, Enron, Katrina, and scandal after scandal after scandal -- there are many reasons to blame Bush, Cheney and Rove for recent GOP tribulations, but there are also structural issues at work.

The Republican party as long relied on intolerant right-wing Christians to turn out their vote, without giving that crucial base much in return. It was easy for the GOP to put off this group by blaming the evil liberals for their own lack of action on abortion and "family values" issues back when the Democrats still had some power in DC, but once Bush and Republicans took over all three branches of government, they didn't have that excuse anymore. And what we saw was that the real problem was a lack of support for the Republican base's extreme positions on those issues. No one wants to live in a world of James Dobson's making -- probabaly not even James Dobson, if he was really being honest about it. Or Jerry Falwell, or Ted Haggard, or any of the rest of the flabby, white men who claim moral superiority over the rest of us. These are people who live in the shattered remains of glass houses with their third wives and secret lovers and offshore bank accounts while they preach conservative values to the rest of us.

In the meantime, the rest of us go about life. And the rest of us are, by and large, good people. We're Democrats and Republicans, Christians and non-Christians. And we're starting to figure some of this stuff out. Just because George Bush mumbles something about Jesus once in a while doesn't mean that he's a good Christian man, or that the Republican agenda is a Christian agenda. But we're not there yet, as demostrated by this disturbing tidbit in Kamiya's article:
The survey does not paint a uniformly flattering picture of America. A scary 43 percent of Americans think torture can often or sometimes be justified -- perhaps a tribute to the work of "24" creator and Rush Limbaugh pal Joel Surnow. In a singularly telling finding, 45 percent of those who identified themselves as liberal Democrats said torture was never justified, compared to 18 percent of conservative Republicans. These contrasting responses should be deeply troubling to traditional conservatives; they show how badly their movement has degenerated under Gingrich and Bush. When did being a conservative start meaning signing off on torture? Isn't there a ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" in the Eighth Amendment of some old document drawn up by some geezers in powdered wigs that conservatives are supposed to care passionately about? And what would Jesus think about torture? Apparently being a conservative no longer means believing in a transcendental morality.
Torture, people? Really? Have you seriously thought about this, read about it, prayed about it, discussed it with your mom and your preacher and your philosophy prof and your kids and decided, yeah, torture -- that's what we need? I don't think so. I think y'all have been letting Karl Rove get to you a little bit too much. I suspect if you really think about this, America, you'll realize that torture is not a place a Great Nation goes. We're better than that. We don't have to go there.

We might be stuck with this twisted, immoral administration for another 665 days (at most), but we don't have to sling ourselves down there in the gutter with them. Let's not go there, OK?
And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? ...am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god! ...what have I done?


John said...

I am hoping that 2008 may be a swing election - one that pivots the country from its conservative era of 1968 to the present to a new progressive era, but there is no guarantee of that. I am sick of Bush governing from the cultural, economic, and foreign policy fringe.

lucy said...

Not sure how I found your blog - but I am really glad to read it. Thanks for speaking out. Since Molly Ivins died, I have been worrying about who will speak up and say the things that need to be said. Thanks for picking up some of that.

Joe P. said...

Fascinating survey there, though it's troubling to see how many young people approve of torture. It's astounding rational people could ever believe torture has been or ever will be useful in gaining accurate information on any topic.