2nd consecutive rant–I can do this all winter….
2nd consecutive rant–I can do this all winter….
My most recent rant–enjoy!
Monday, October 07, 2013 8:59 PM
The ‘Tea Party’ House Representatives were voted in ‘in anger’—and they make things worse by ignoring any rules of logic or civility. Their mandate, as they see it, is to upset government-as-usual—which no one can deny they have now succeeded at. Bravo, Tea Party—you win.
Just one problem—the Tea Party has no off switch. It was sent to D.C. in protest against all the laissez-faire acceptance of the Twenty-First Century’s dynamic paradigm.
The Tea Party won’t accept any religious freedom that infringes on their religion—and their religion (as represented by the squeakiest wheel) is a type of fundamentalist protestant Christianity. The Tea Party prefers to see global culture as the subsuming of the rest of the nations under the USA’s economic sway, if not legislative. And the Tea Party is against the coddling of perfectly exhaustible humans who ‘claim’ to be disabled or otherwise unable to work—not to mention their children.
The evolutionary story of the Christian faith was completed at the turn of the last century. It was most noticeably finalized by “The Golden Bough” by James George Frazer, first published in1890. I will pause here and quote Wikipedia.com, to save us both some time:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
[“The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion”
(retitled “The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion” in its second edition)
is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941).
It was first published in two volumes in 1890;
in three volumes in 1900;
the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes.
The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch’s “The Age of Fable”, or his “Stories of Gods and Heroes” (1855).
Sir Frazer offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial.”]
And this was a crushing blow to organized, modern religions—at this point (as of my writing this) all have been discredited for over a century. T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” is considered by many to be the pre-eminent poem of the entire 20th century. It’s subject, in large part, is the devastation felt by these good people when the very bedrock of their reality was de-bunked. Nor did this deathblow to the legitimacy of churches come out of the blue.
In 1888, Friedrich Nietzsche, in “The Gay Science”, Section 125, ( translated by Walter Kaufmann):
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
For more than a century, scholars have grappled with historical evidence, with proof that religion is a tradition, not a reality. Because the understanding only comes after an education that involves science, archeology, history, and philosophy, those left with no choice but to turn away from our ancient traditions, or risk hypocrisy, are few—and we tend to be those irritating college-boys and girls. Thus the news that god is dead has come and gone, unless you are well educated enough to understand what research has revealed.
In the interval, we post-modern sophisticates have come to avoid the issue in public out of sympathy for whosoever may still believe in their religion. Thus the major changes were academic rather than public. We see a great reduction in those who once used to prescribe learning (Ancient) Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit so that any truly serious scholar would be able to read the earliest records of the sacred scriptures.
Nowadays, students of Science and Mathematics can ‘show off’ by memorizing all the Latin names of special flora and fauna. Beyond that, the language and alphabet of the ancient Greeks, Romans, or Hindus has become a purely archeological and scholarly interest in the halls of higher learning (pre-supposing I exempt all such institutes that may still be run on the precepts of some such dogma that forbids that point-of-view). An advanced degree in Religion or Religious Studies was once considered a powerful tool for a leader, or a teacher—presently those degrees are viewed by many as no different from a degree in Philosophy or Ethics.
Throughout the Twentieth Century a polite détente was observed with regard to those who considered Christian religions exposed as historical amalgams, rather than ‘revealed scripture’—and those who clung to their faith in spite of what research and learning had unearthed about our distant past. The Old-Timers (if you’ll excuse my calling them that) were not confronted on the sidewalk every day by impatient atheists who wanted them to get over their ‘delusion’. That’s how we got to the point of Charismatic Cults in the 1970s, and hypocritical TV evangelists who were begging for money—and getting it in handfuls from lonely old folks who had nothing to do but watch TV all day.
But this new ‘respectability’ is beyond all sense. Our Christian fundamentalists funded the Muslim fundamentalists’ war against the Soviet Union (godless heathens, that is). Now we have debates on what is extremist, what is terrorist, what is harmless fundamentalist doctrine?
The truth is that it’s all a sham. But religion is a part of society. The Catholics, and the Salvation Army do the most to support the impoverished, but Protestants, Muslims, lots of ‘church-groups’ of whatever stripe are also out there, trying to make a difference. To date, no fund-raising organization for helping the poor has ever replaced our churches and temples.
And that has never been addressed as a public issue. Neither has the basis of ethical behavior, outside of an organized faith’s doctrine. Declaring ones atheism isn’t going to make one a lot of friends. The atheist’s peace of mind is also scant. But the freedom from the ludicrous, the letting go of the incredible… there are some upsides to being without a church.
But I have allowed myself to meander—back to the point. The full quote from Karl Marx is: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.
He makes no mention of our addiction being used by the establishment to coerce us into cooperation with the very-far-from-fair Capitalist system. For some reason, I always implied that meaning in my own mind. Regardless, when religion becomes part of the politics of a government, it invariably signals some group of hypocrites trying to manipulate the simpler folk. To be fair, I think there are plenty of politicians out there who are privately agnostic—but if they hadn’t the sense to keep it to themselves, they wouldn’t be politicians now, would they?
So the Tea Party can boast members with a very prickly attitude about church-going. And the Tea Party is very picky about freedom. I, for instance, enjoy the freedom of walking down the street and feeling perfectly safe in my own little American neighborhood. But I can only enjoy that freedom because others have lost the freedom to let their dogs roam unleashed, have lost the freedom to hold dangerous drag races down the street I’m walking on, and have lost the freedom to DWI their automobile right up my—shutcho-mouth.
The Tea Party wants to keep their freedom to say no to mandatory healthcare. Where were these people when we got saddled with mandatory auto insurance to register a car—or mandatory home insurance to get a mortgage? I’ll tell you where they were—they were being properly ignored by sensible people who were looking at the bigger picture. We got so used to having responsible representation in the federal government that we got tired of voting—and after a while; the excitable nut-jobs were the only ones voting.
I’m as guilty as the next person—I didn’t bother to vote until Clinton. The aftermath, that terrible eight years of ‘W’, was much harder to take now that I was a voter. But Obama’s election, and re-election, restored my faith in my fellow citizens. I’m supremely happy with his steering of the ship of state. The only thing that went wrong was the Tea Party. The implicit racism of the Tea Party is borne out by its creation after Obama took office, it’s persistent disrespect and rumor-mongering towards our head of state—regardless of the harm done to our nation’s perception by the rest of the world, and its current pretense of fighting to ‘preserve their freedoms’ while the country, perhaps even the globe, begins to smolder.
They are a shame and blight on our body politic. I have to hope that even the idiots who elected them will see their mistake, and vote for someone else to take their office, someone with some common sense and respect for our governing system.
Obama has turned our economy back upwards from the ditch the GOP drove it into—he has passed and (now) implemented the affordable care legislation that the GOP are screaming about—it is very popular. Apparently, health care is something poor people, even middle class people, want and need.
To turn this country upside-down in protest is worse than childish—it is criminal. If it were up to me, I’d charge a heavy fine on the Tea Party reps for every day they thumb their noses at our country’s well-being and reputation abroad.
I saw Michelle Bachmann interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN this morning. She didn’t answer any of his questions. He pressed and pressed for a simple yes or no on any of his several reasonable questions. She talked around him, over him, under him, throwing out Tea-Party talking points as she evaded the subject Wolf was trying to talk about. She contradicted him with a bunch of spurious poll numbers and misinformation to which Wolf could only respond, “Where are you getting this information?” (Which she claimed she had ‘back at her office’).
We have seen Bachmann and other Tea-Party stalwarts take their cues from Palin’s VP-run playbook whenever they are faced with serious disagreement. It is transparently the behavior of someone trying to evade the plain truth by becoming hysterical over left-field distractions and quoting patently imaginary facts and figures—they even rewrite history to push their ignorant (and obviously paid-for) agenda.
In the old days we described this behavior as ‘squirming’ and ‘bold-faced lying’. But today it is viewed by many people as ‘Tea-Party politics’—as if, when red-necks get up on their haunches and shout their frustration at a complicated and pluralist world, they are permitted to be completely nonsensical and wildly untruthful. I think it has something to do with their response to this, which is to charge that everyone else is lying. They even pose as martyrs to ‘gotcha’-journalism (translation: any reasonable questions posed in front of a camera).
But I’m not mad at these poor souls—they are deluded, misguided, and given far more attention and legitimacy than is healthy for the uneducated. I’m mad at us—how did we allow stupidity to become a valid political platform? When did we drop any minimum intelligence limit for people who have a national microphone before them?
President Obama made an address later on this afternoon, in which he pointed out that the House of Representatives has a solemn duty—political kamikaze tactics may be all the House GOP members are interested in, but they have actual responsibilities as well. That they ignore those responsibilities is just another maddening symptom of this new class of politician, the ‘stubborn simpleton’ (Yes, I’m referring to Ted Cruz). The fact that experienced, older GOP members are nearly as dismayed as the Democrats at the irrational and irresponsible behavior of the Tea-Partyers says a great deal about just how far from sanity these people have gone (and taken the rest of us with them).
I’m glad Obama has put his foot down—negotiating with such cretins does nothing to appease them—and nothing anyone else can say can convince them that they are in the wrong—about anything. That’s the surest sign of their mental imbalance—their refusal to face reality.
The only thing worse? That these troublemakers are expected to be re-elected by their constituencies! When seniors don’t get their Social Security allowance, when soldiers in the field don’t get a paycheck to send to their families, when no one can get a loan for the foreseeable future—will those people really re-affirm their faith in this group? I would do more than merely vote for a Democrat—I’d have them charged with high treason.
They are threatening to break the world, to destroy the United States of America, to ruin everyone’s day for years to come—how can anyone see them as responsible office-holders and elected officials?