<rant> We all know that Religion and Hypocrisy go hand in hand. Religion has no choice. It is impossible to be religious and consistent at the same time, because any religious claim is usually self-contradictory, requiring a pull in two directions. Against abortion? Sure, every life is sacred (except those on death row, service men fighting in war, innocent civilians in Iran and Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc.). Voila’! Instant Hypocrisy.
But lately Republicans have become extremely hypocritical. Appallingly so. Take the recent underwear bomber, and the government response. A lone wacko from Nigeria manages to finagle himself and his lumpy underwear onto a trans-Atlantic flight, but is inept enough to bungle a simple bombing. Does this sound familiar? Remember Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber? He’s the reason you have to take your shoes off before going through security every time you need to board a plane.
Well, Republicans are criticizing Obama and his administration for what they believe is an inadequate response to the Nigerian bomber, when, as Ed Brayton and others have noted, every single criticism could be made, in spades, about Bush’s response to the shoe bomber, with not a peep out of Republicans at the time. Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?
It’s not coincidental that Republicans are, for the most part, extremely religious, usually of the fundamentalist variety. God and Country is their motto. So what is there about the religious mindset that melds so seamlessly into the Republican mindset, resulting in almost mirror image hypocrisy? Why is there a strong correlation between high divorce rates, teenage pregnancy and pornography, and those states that vote Republican, the so called “red states”? Could it be that the very religious are trained from birth to rationalize their religious beliefs, despite their inherent contradictions, to the point that such rationalizations become second nature? They seem to be able to compartmentalize two contradictory ideas, holding both at the same time, without batting an eyelash or triggering an attack of conscience. Theologians even have a word for it – Apologetics. On the political side, we have – Republigetics.
I used to think that Republicans were just another side of the same political coin. They simply saw things different, but usually had the best interests of the country at heart, and despite having minor policy differences, the country rarely took abrupt turns noticeable to the populace when the other party assumed power after an election. Past Republican Presidents are still thought of highly. Think Eisenhower. Even Hoover wasn’t a bad guy. He just inherited a tough situation.
Since Nixon (who, I contend, opened the door to wacky political thinking) and, more notably, the rise of the Religious Right, the Republican party has become more and more mentally unstable, more obviously greedy and power hungry, more clearly willing to fuck us all over as long as they get elected. Or so it seems.
Like a zit, it rose to the surface and popped during the Clinton years. Clinton didn’t do us any favors by snuggling up to an intern, but he didn’t really harm the country in any way either. Like Tiger Woods, his peccadilloes were of a private, behind closed doors, nature, and if ignored, would have had absolutely no impact on the country. His marriage may not have survived, but the country would have.
But Newt Gingrich and his Republican thugs couldn’t let it alone. They knew an opportunity for a power grab when they saw it. They employed Kenneth Starr to dredge the sewers and white backwaters of Washington, making sure to create political hay out of non-political scandal. This led to the stupidest application of the Constitutional procedure of impeachment, which did not result in the removal of Clinton from office, but did result, most likely, in George Bush’s election, and worse, the polarization of American politics we are experiencing today.
Barack Obama, no more than 30 seconds after his inauguration (probably even before) was being castigated as the worse President in American history. Republicans openly prayed (yes prayed) that he would fail, ignoring the honeymoon new Presidents have always been given by their opponents after an election. Country Last, Party First is the new de-facto motto of the Republican Party. Every lie that can be told, every scurrilous rumor that can be whispered, is being advanced by the Republicans towards their hypocritical ends. Teabaggers are being whipped into a hysterical frenzy by – Republicans. Gun sales are going through the roof, and are being pointed in the direction of Washington.
Despite the fact that almost everyone agrees that health care is in crisis mode in this country, only one single Republican in both chambers of Congress had the courage to cross party lines and vote for one of the Health Care bills. Republicans did their damnedest to scuttle the process from the outset, (including prayer) claiming it was too expensive. Then, when they were reminded of their votes in favor of the deficit expanding Medicare prescription drug benefit program when they were in power, they resorted to lies, obfuscation and, yes, hypocrisy.
In short, Republicans don’t mind spending $70 million of taxpayer funds on a political witch hunt that benefited the country not one iota, if it will put them back in the seat of power. But they’ll fight tooth and nail to defeat a health care proposal that will benefit the country when they are out of power if they think it will whip the masses into a mood to vote Republican.
So what’s wrong with a little hypocrisy? Well, for one thing, it’s intellectually dishonest. And intellectual dishonesty paves the way for actual dishonesty – dishonesty that affects the lives of other human beings in a negative way. If Republicans are hypocritical about the battles they wage, presumably on behalf of their constituents, then their motivations are suspect. How can you believe anyone that cries bloody murder when Obama does anything, but stands silent when their leaders do the same thing? They seem to be more concerned with themselves; whether they will get re-elected, whether their cronies that pay for their elections will benefit from their association with them, and whether they will continue to maintain power as a party. The country, in the meantime, be damned.
I hate hypocrisy. It was the primary attribute of religion that pushed me away from it. It is still the main aspect of religion that boils my blood. So when I see it being embraced, knowingly, in a calculating manner, by the Republican Party, well, I react viscerally the way I do towards religion. That’s not to say that there aren’t individual Republicans who I admire and respect, just as there are many individual theists who I admire and respect. But Republicans, like Religion, seem to be extremely hypocritical at the top.
There needs to be a major shakeup in both arenas. </rant>