Tuesday, May 31, 2005

G.O.P. R.I.P.

When I was in high school, I used to engage in many rousing and spirited debates with kids who were on the right side of aisle. I remember fondly the lengthy discussions about less government, less taxes, welfare, communism, and the corruption of the Democratic Party. All of the discussions were mostly friendly and seemed to always be held within a realm of sanity. I actually learned quite a bit from them.

For the last few weeks, I have been riding up to my weekly volleyball match with a guy who is very similar to those folks who I debated in high school. “Bob” is a card carrying member of the GOP and has been for 30 years. He has always felt that government could work more efficiently and has cited the Democrats as being the chief cause behind the bureaucracy….something that has been true until the last five years.

The first time we rode together and he told me he was a Republican I cringed. This was going to be a fun carpool! But after our first trip I was surprised to find out that he did not vote for George Bush in 2000 or 2004 and he positively loathes what is happening to our country.

Bob has always believed in less government and he believes, quite accurately, that the current administration has lost sight of this credo. I only have to point to the Terri Schiavo affiair to illustrate how the GOP has wandered off in to a land of lunacy. My pals on the left will have you believe that it is the Jesus freaks fault but I contend that Jesus has nothing to do with these folks are doing. Bob sums it up best.

Our current government is run by oil men. Their number one goal is to make more money in that industry and its related areas. Bob works in the technology sector and is fond of pointing out how the tech crash really occurred right after Bush took office. All of the money came out of tech because investors saw what was on the horizon. Bob has seen many of the advances our country has made be put on hold or reversed because our current government's lust for material wealth and supposed commitment to the culture of life.

Bob also feels that the whole idea of Bush being a man of principle and morality is a crock. They are more or less pretending to be “men of faith” to scam people into voting for them just as carnies scam folks into playing the same rigged game over and over again. They are about as far from Christianity as one can be seeing that they regularly break the 6th and 10th Commandments. They use people’s fear, insecurity, and uncertainty, combined with an excellent PR campaign, to drive them to the polls. With a victory in hand and the blind belief of the people, they are free to do whatever they want.

When I asked him if others of his ilk feel the same he points to past GOP heroes such as Arnie Carlson and Dave Durenberger who have thrown up their hands in disgust at what is happening in Washington right now. I point to Christine Todd Whitman, an excellent candidate for President btw, who is despondent over the turn her party has taken.

Yesterday I got into yet another discussion about how I am not patriotic because I question the war in Iraq. And apparently, because it was Memorial Day, I was not honoring the troops. I was also told that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and we are just defending ourselves by invading them.

Leaving the sheer idiocy of the last comment aside, I contend that it honors our troops if we NEVER send them into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary. Since WWII, this has happened one time and that was Afghanistan, a job which has been left unfinished.

In fact, my friend Bob has an interesting theory about the future of our army. The armed forces are poised for the largest base closings since 1995, which is ironic since I thought that was the GOP’s main gripe about Clinton. Now they are doing the same thing!!

The idea is that our army will be streamlined and specialized. Bob thinks it is because eventually our army will be run by private corporations and left out of the government chain of command. This way the “contractors” you hear about on the news will soon be referred to as soldiers, answerable only to the CEO of whatever company’s interest they are representing. I wonder if we will feel the same amount of patriotism in that future on Memorial Day as we do now.

I thought about all these things yesterday and wondered what happened to the GOP that I used to know and with which I used to politely disagree. Since when I am not patriotic or too partisan because I question something that has nothing to do with either? And as the Bush zombies driveled on yesterday about how I either hate America or freedom in general, my GOP buddy Bob was there too and he just shook his head and smiled at me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The culture of life?

Lately we have all heard the phrase “the culture of life” come out of our President’s mouth. During the entire Teri Schiavo affair, it was mentioned quite frequently. And we all know that folks on the right are against abortion. Ironically they are all against birth control and the very mention of sexual activities seems to raise the cockles on their skin. (Yes, I used the word cockles on purpose.) If someone could explain this dichotomy to me, I would be eternally grateful.

The phrase “the culture of life” originates from Pope John Paul II actually. It is very interesting that it does come from him because he was an example of a man who actually lived by it. Sure, there are beliefs that John Paul had that I did not agree with but at least he was a principled man who was pro life across the board. He was against abortion, war, the death penalty and even sat down and forgave the man who tried to kill him. I don’t think any of us could do that.

But what really puzzles me is how people in this country believe that George Bush is for the culture of life because he really doesn’t live by it at all. It amazes me that people believe his absolute bullshit when he mouths off about how life is sacred after there are innocent people that have died in Iraq.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for ass kicking when it comes to the part of the world. Clearly there is a threat there and some innocent lives may be lost as a result of us trying to stop another 9/11. But when a war is waged for oil and pals, well…..

What I want to hear in the comments is defending this position. What I do not want to hear is how the Democrats are hypocrites too and the liberals this and blah blah blah….if you voted for Bush, defend his position and explain how he can kill people and still be looked as a moral compass.

Explain to me how he can talk about the culture of life and yet be for the death penalty. After all, doesn’t it say in the Bible that only God can give life and take life? Is there an asterisk after “Thou shall not kill?” I don’t think so.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Moral Needle

This week I was going to write a nice column on how the Republican Party has changed so much over the last 30 years. I was all set to frame it with a story of a friend of mine, who used to be a Republican, and has since switched sides. Maybe I will next week.

But I changed my mind when I woke up this morning and saw two articles in my morning papers that made me physically ill. The first one was in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and it was about pharmacists in our fair state that are refusing to give out birth control pills for “moral reasons.” The second one was about the Kansas State Educational Board mulling the idea of removing evolution theory from school’s curriculum.

The first article made me think of just how far right we have really gone. Last time I checked it was not up to a pharmacist to decide what was right for me or anyone. I give him money and he gives me my drugs. Period. I wonder if he is not giving out the pill to married people or just young women who he knows to be single. How can he tell?

This is the classic conundrum that the religious right perpetuates. They quite simply don’t want people fucking. They feel that it is wrong and no matter what they want us, if we are not married, to stop. They are against abortion and they are against birth control which makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s completely unrealistic to push a moral code that most of the country is not going follow.

The second article just continues on the same “keep the people dumb so we can scam them” mentality. I want to go on record as saying that I think Darwin’s evolution theory is full of holes. I don’t agree with it. But it should be taught in our schools along with other scientific theories about the origins of life. Do you know where creationism should be taught? IN CHURCH!!! That’s why my family and I go there. Again I will ask, why does the right need to have religion in our public institutions? At my church, you can go everyday if you want. There are all sorts of activities every day and night of the week. Heck, you could spend more time in church than in school if you really wanted.

You know what folks? I would like to live in a country where I don’t see government interference in my life, injecting a moral code into me like a needle, and filling me full of bullshit that they don’t even follow themselves!!

I want to wake up in the United States again where my child can go to school and learn about all science and all studies and decide for herself what she believes. I want my child to go to a Presbyterian church and not be looked upon with derision because she is not an evangelical Christian. Yes, this has happened three times in the last year!!

Dude, where’s my country?