It’s Been A While: More Politics-Deal With It

This is to be another political post, which makes me think that perhaps I should just get it out of my system altogether and become a politician…since I happen to be so damn opinionated on the matter and hate being an armchair political analyst. I know that plenty of you (assuming anyone actually reads these posts) have entirely different opinions from me…and that’s great, that difference of opinion is what allows for discourse to take place…without diversity of thought an opinion we have no room for meeting of the minds.

Our former mayor posted something earlier today regarding what he perceives as backwards morality from “Christians” that constitute the far right wing of the Republican Party…the invocation of Christ whenever they are rallying against issues that Jesus had no opinion on (at least nothing mentioned in the Gospels) such as gay marriage, abortion, taxes, and numerous other things while actively working to upset programs that coincide with the actual teachings of Christ (caring for the poor and the hungry, the sick and the elderly). You all know that I am not a Christian…that I’m not even remotely religious…but I do have a bit of knowledge about these things.

I initially wanted to do no more than let our former Mayor know that there are still Republicans like myself who don’t feel that these individuals speak for the party as a whole. I was going to leave it at that until someone opted to refer to Romans: Chapter 1, where there are some statements that could be interpreted as being opposed to homosexuality.

I felt it was necessary to point out that Romans was not a Gospel and did not have any statements made by Jesus attached to it. At best it was the writing of Paul the Apostle (not one of the Twelve Apostles, something that I suspect many Christians are unaware of), quite probably half a century after the death of Christ. It might also be noted that Paul was never in the presence of Christ (not being born until after Christ had died) and that his conversion came about from a vision of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. So Paul had no firsthand experience of Christ or his teachings…in fact he actively persecuted the early Christian cult during his life up until that conversion took place; and this is the man responsible for the bulk of the non-Gospel New Testament. He was just a man, nothing more…as fallible as any other.

The individual also pointed towards 2nd Timothy: Chapter 3 and I felt compelled to point out that these verses still have nothing to do with the teachings of Christ…and are even further removed. 2 Timothy has unknown authorship but it is traditionally attributed to some random (unnamed) follower of Paul the Apostle…somewhere in the vicinity of a century after Christ’s death.

This individual then expressed that they had assumed I might believe in the divine inspiration of scripture.

I felt the need to disillusion him of that; considering that it is only in those pieces of writing that it mentioned that the scripture was divinely inspired…I question it a great deal. I question the veracity of anything that changes dramatically in meaning when translated from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek and further. If divinely inspired, the meaning would remain constant. That is far from the case. I can write a piece of scripture today, tack on something about how all scripture is valid and inspired by god, and people are supposed to accept that? What is in the commonly used Bible today is nothing compared to what is found in the Catholic Bible, and that only consists of what a handful of humans determined would best suit their needs as scripture. Who gets to determine which scripture is valid and which is not…because neither God nor Jesus ever made any statements to that effect?

I didn’t mean to come off as being cynical there, but recognize that I really am a bit cynical when it comes to those things. I can understand how that whole statement could be considered highly cynical, and I was sorry about that. I just wanted to express my concern regarding the mindset associated with scripture being divinely inspired. Bart D. Ehrman has addressed these issues far better than I ever could, being Professor of religious studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill…he has been able to go far more in depth than I am able where the veracity of Biblical scripture (and especially the New Testament) is concerned. I highly recommend anyone who has the means should take the time to procure and read some of his books on textual criticism of scripture. That is neither here nor there though.

It was after this that another individual made some comments about how there isn’t really much of an actual difference between big government Republicans and socialist Democrats as far as he was concerned, and he isn’t entirely incorrect. He commented on the fact that there is no article of the Constitution that speaks of equalizing pay or for providing healthcare or education.

To me, it has nothing to do with either Republicans or Democrats really…but I could see where he was coming from.

Those of you who know me are aware that I happen to be a small government Republican. I think we need fewer laws and interferences into the daily lives of the American people. I don’t think it is the place of government (state or national) to define marriage or anything else. We need to step back and trim the fat from our overbearing obsession with legislation.

Regarding protection of wages, healthcare, education, and similar bones of contention I had to disagree…as these are issues that directly impact the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of the very population this government was developed to protect. Those issues weren’t salient at the time this country was founded and would almost definitely have been taken into consideration by the founding fathers had that been otherwise. The US government was designed in such a way as to allow for alterations and modification with the passage of time. It has never been a static creation and wasn’t intended to be. Our government has the sole function of providing for the well being of the populace that supports it…to uphold the rights and liberties of the American population. Nowhere is it stated that we are expected to become involved in political or social reform in other nations, but that isn’t often something that we hear complaints about from the same people who are so concerned with the programs that aid the American people.

Regarding the Christian uproar from the far right wing of the Republican party as far as these issues are concerned, John Adams and George Washington were pretty clear on that very point when the Treaty of Tripoli was signed. There was no ambiguity in the wording. Those persons in the US government who are so concerned with their distorted form of Christianity and the almost rabid desire to impose it upon everyone else are suffering from delusions of what Christ taught as well as basic lack of understanding regarding the history of the United States.

That same man recognized that we are, of course, entitled to our differences of opinion and went on from there to express his concern over what he sees as an inflated Executive branch, stating, “Who needs congress when presidential decree gets the job done?”

I definitely feel that our last two presidents have set an unwelcome and disturbing precedent as far as overstepping the bounds of the office is concerned. I’m not a huge fan of our “do nothing” Congress either. It is my opinion that we need a complete overhaul of Washington, but not the variety that the Tea Party has been pushing for…the last thing we need in Washington is more people who don’t understand how the government works (or is intended to work) and who believe that Christ hated the poor and needy.

These are just my opinions of course. I am just some guy who happens to feel that some of this should be common sense.

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A Little Something To Think About

The current political climate is a horrifying thing for anyone who is capable of rational thought, neither of the major political parties inspire much faith or hope in the nation we live in today or for the future that expands before us.

What scares me most about the Republican Party as it exists today is the trend towards devolution that is so seemingly pervasive. The rhetoric that is spewed is something that should make us all laugh at the sheer ludicrous nature of it; and it might if it weren’t so truly terrifying, and made all the more terrifying by virtue of the fact that so many people are altogether too willing to accept it as fact instead of the theatrical nonsense that rhetoric (by nature) always is.

Beyond the rhetoric, though, is the subtext, and that is what is most mortifying. Racism, homophobia, and sexism abound in ways that should be appalling to everyone, not just those who are of the opposition. I used to be proud to say that I am a Conservative (capital letter intended), but there is nothing that I want more these days than to sever all ties with that hate and fear mongering culture that has devoured and transformed what was once the Republican Party.

I’ve seen Republicans point fingers at men like Robert Byrd and George Wallace as examples of the racism that was once associated with the Democratic Party, and they aren’t wrong in doing so. There is ample evidence of racism and sexism within the Democratic Party during the civil rights movement. They, of course, choose to ignore men like Jesse Helms who may have started out as a Democrat but was happily accepted into the Republican Party during the 1970’s, the party where he spent the majority of his political career. As appalling as I find any of those particular views, I also recognize that, at the time, they were pretty damn common. It was a different nation, and a different world, 40 years and more ago. That doesn’t make it acceptable by any stretch of the imagination, but it does make it a bit easier to understand. A few bad apples (or even a few dozen) decades ago doesn’t spoil the bunch today.

The Republican Party lost my support and my votes in any instance where it is pandering to the lowest common denominator like the tea party and fanatical religious right, and I’ve been hard pressed to discover any place where that is not the case. It’s fucked up that, as my Republican friends gleefully point out, during the civil rights movement it was the Democrats who were notably racist and sexist, but are now championing the rights of homosexuals and women…how times have changed. Both parties have changed since then, but only one of them seems to be changing in a positive manner anymore. America, as a whole, has been circling the drain for a good, long while, I have no doubt about that. But the GOP deciding to turn their back on progress and reality by stupidly picking up the banner dropped by men like Robert Byrd and George Wallace might be a sign that they will reach the drain ahead of the rest of us.

I’m not a huge fan of the Democratic Party, I disagree with a lot of the policies that are promoted by the party leadership, but at least they want people to be treated like people. There isn’t a widespread assumption within the Democratic Party that God has delineated certain people and lifestyles as being subhuman, and that alone is enough cause for me to throw my lot in with them in the coming election, and it should be enough for you too.

The only valid issue I’ve ever witnessed any of my Republican friends complaining about with respect to the Democrats was their short-sighted, knee jerk stance on gun control. It’s exceedingly rare that the gun violence which perpetuates their stance is perpetrated by legally obtained firearms, thus tighter restrictions are of little to no value. However, the insipid Second Amendment argument does not make their case at all. Seeing as how none of these mouth breathing, brainwashed jackasses are members of a “well regulated militia,” the right to bear arms does not apply to them. The wording was very clear in our Constitution, and it did not even ambiguously indicate that it was meant to be interpreted as a right for any Tom, Dick, and Harry to purchase and bear arms. What scares me, and makes me desire stricter laws where firearms are concerned, are these religious nut, tea party idiots having guns. I wouldn’t place a firearm in the hands of a severely mentally challenged child, and the same basic reasoning applies here.

A good friend of mine optimistically believes that all of this appalling shit (from racism to fanatical Christianity) will be ground under the feet of reason and science within the next 50 years. “Don’t hold your breath there,” is what I have to say in response. He has far more faith in human nature than I do. You can force feed facts and reality down people’s throats and it doesn’t hold a candle to feeling like they are special and that every action that they commit, no matter how heinous, is ultimately forgiven by the only judge that matters even if no other human being would ever provide said forgiveness.

The reality that we are all mortal, insignificant creatures who will be utterly scoured from the face of the universe in another couple of billion years when the atmosphere and everything else is burned away simply lacks the appeal of being eternally loved, special little beings for whom the whole universe was assembled. There’s simply no way to compete with that. We’re arrogant little fuckers, human beings, and when it comes to a choice between being special or being little more than a dust mote, most of us are going to choose the former.

I made my choice.