I've been trying to ignore the yammering asshats in the media lately, take it all in stride, and let their drivel roll off my shoulders, but my disillusionment, disappointment, bewilderment, and anger has been magnified to un-ignorable levels this past week with news from Iowa, and of the band of blathering, rabid right wing lunatics vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. As if political news this summer hasn't been disturbing enough, what with the whole debt ceiling fiasco and the new "super congress" appointed to reduce the deficit, the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll, and the driver of the Republican clown car this week, is none other than Tea Party favorite, Michele Bachmann. Bachmann leads the conservative fringe’s furious call to “take back our country!” (From whom? I wonder.)
Yesterday on “Meet the Press,” she gave America an idea of what a Bachmann Presidency might look like. Here’s a snippet:
Also this weekend, Texas Governor, Rick Perry has announced that he's throwing his cowboy hat into the ring for the Republican nomination. This exciting news (can you detect my sarcasm?) comes just one week after his much publicized prayer rally, where he and 30,000 of his flag-waving, God-fearing supporters asked Jesus to fix the nation's economy (take that separation of church and state). So along with Bachmann and Santorum, it seems that we now have a third candidate who claims to get his political direction from an imaginary sky-friend that talks directly to him.
(For some essential reading on Rick Perry, click here.)
While it might embarrass me to admit to anything that could align me with Bachmann, Santorum, Perry or the like (or any of their supporters), I must share that I admire, respect, and attempt as best as I can to adhere to the teachings of Jesus. I'm fascinated by the parables, the altruistic underpinnings of His philosophy, the etymology involved, the history and the poetry of the library which is the New Testament, and I am challenged, on an almost daily basis, to find personal and practical applications in my life of the principles that Christ taught.
With such a surfeit of accessible low-hanging fruit, it would be easy to embark on a diatribe about the golden rule, doing unto others, etc., the basis upon which most all the major world religions are based, and then compare that to Bachmann and her twisted view of people with a different sexual or gender-perspective orientation than hers. I'll even refrain from going off on her husband, Marcus, his Paul Lynde-like patois, or even the hypocrisy of his mental health clinic, which practices "pray away the gay" therapy, and has received annual Medicaid payments totaling $137,000 since 2005, in addition to $24,000 in federal and state funds. (Bachmann has vociferously denounced the Medicaid program. You can read more about it here.)
If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll certainly have noticed that I sometimes have a tendency to wax philosophical about Jesus, Christian values, religious principles, spiritual practices, etc., and then counter that with examples of political deceit, dishonesty, corruption, and hypocrisy. One of the things I find exceedingly interesting is what Jesus is reported to have said about the poor. I wonder how these ideas put forth by Jesus are justified in the minds of those public figures who claim Him (or their followers), and how those justifications correlate with the agenda of those neoconservatives whose commitment it is not to raise taxes on the super-rich or corporations, and to simultaneously cut social spending for the disenfranchised who benefit from such programs.
Here are just a few examples of what JC had to say about the poor:
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
There's also that much repeated bit about it being easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
It makes me wonder: are these politically-conservative-big-talking-frontrunners living by the same principles outlined in the same texts that I've read from? Or is there yet another set of fundamental regulations and bylaws of which I am unaware, that also fall under the category of "good Christian ethics?"
The bottom line is that these ruthless and unscrupulous fanatics are pandering to an audience of almost exclusively white evangelical conservative Christians, and they are feeding them exactly what they know they want to hear. If division, voter suppression, demonization of anyone foreign or with brown skin, corporate tax loopholes, eviscerating women's reproductive rights, and ensuring wealthy-white-entitlement is paraded around under the guise of religiosity, then so be it. How is that any different from bigotry and xenophobia being paraded around under the guise of patriotism? It's not. I want to believe that these people are stupid, but I'm not so sure about that anymore. These people are, however, crazy and mean and competitive and driven by personal advancement at any cost, even if that means they need to do it in the name a Jesus whose principles they've thrown under the bus long ago.
It becomes too much for me to grapple with. I'm flustered and I'm tired. I tend to get too ruffled by these nefarious nutters and their hateful shenanigans, too invested in outcomes, and I find I need to blow off steam, or just zone out in any way that I can. For me, the best things that have come out of Iowa this past week (aside from deep-fried butter on a stick) are the embarrassing photos of the aforementioned wing nuts. Perhaps in a few weeks' time there will be a photo of cowboy Rick Perry double-fisting a wiener into his pie-hole. Until then, please enjoy these two priceless moments captured forever in time: