What GOP stands for these days

I looked up the history of the acronym GOP as a shorthand for the Republican Party. The Wikipedia page on the Republican Party says this:

“The term “Grand Old Party” is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party and the abbreviation “GOP” is a commonly used designation. The term originated in 1875 in the Congressional Record, referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as “this gallant old party”.

I’d always thought it stood for Grand Old Party, which is just as lame. But these days, the Republican Party is anything but Grand or Gallant. So the old terminology is moot. I propose that we give the GOP a new set of more accurate terms to replace its traditional claims to grandness or gallantry.

GOP and dying wishes

The option I propose, given the Republican Party’s tactics over the last fifteen years or so, is a far more accurate description of how the GOP operates. We’ll get to that in a moment.

But first, we need to understand the nature of the most recent hypocrisy. That is the installation of a third Supreme Court justice by decree of Donald Trump. We all recall how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell self-righteously claimed that no President up for election within the year should be granted the right to nominate a Supreme Court judge. So McConnell blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination, only to invite Trump’s last-minute nomination of a constitutional originalist to replace the recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose dying wish was that her replacement would not be named until after the election.

The GOP has for decades been whining about so-called “activist judges” on the Supreme Court. Their concerns have focused on the idea that supposedly “liberal” justices are legislating “from the bench” by voting in favor of civil rights, economic parity, corporate responsibility and environmental justice in America rather than dragging the nation back to an interpretation of the United States Constitution before slavery was outlawed, women had the right to vote and America was a population of just 2.5M people. But here’s a fact that matters: The country is 130 times larger today according to the United States Census Bureau. We have fifty states, not just a few. We are a diverse nation thanks to immigration over dozens of decades and a couple centuries. The Constitution as it was originally written was never sufficient to cover all that change. The Founders knew that, which is why the power to commend Amendments to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were implemented. To ignore that wisdom is to kick the Founder right in their constitutional nuts.

Yet that’s what some in the GOP love to do.

Changing America

The idea that America is the “same place” as it was 243 years ago is an example of the controlling, abusive notion that all the Amendments and beneficial changes in law and policy installed since that time are meaningless affectations adopted by a whimsically feckless population of liberals.

Ironically, this country would not even have the Second Amendment if things had stayed fixed in place as Constitutional originalists would have it. On that subject, perhaps they’re correct that amendments can be used for ill-suited purposes. After all, America does not seem capable of managing “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state…” Now we’re being gaslighted by vigilante militias and the GOP, both who claim to represent an originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment that ignores that opening phrase in favor of the latter, “…the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

That is the gaslighting tactic (a lie by selective judgment) upon which activist interpretations of the Second Amendment now depend. As a result, Americans are literally being gaslighted to death by rampant gun violence in the streets, doctrinally motivated mass shooters armed to the teeth, and self-professed militia members playing soldier while claiming self-defense.

Why do all these people deep-down claim to want to arm themselves? Many claim that their armory is to prevent the government from having too much power. Here’s a sobering fact: more Americans have died from gun violence on American soil than all the soldiers killed in wars on foreign soils.

That means we are being gaslighted by the idea that guns are the path to safety in America. The people who make that claim (through the NRA, and other bodies) form one of the GOP’s pet voting blocs. Some equate even the idea of personal freedom with gun rights.

Yes, our country had to fight for its freedom to gain liberty from the rule of England. Guns are useful tools in war. That’s what they were invented for. That’s why a well-regulated militia truly is necessary for the security of a free state.

But it is principles, not guns, that form the true foundations of freedom.

Liberalism and democracy

It was liberalism and the determination that America should be independent from the rule of a king that established the country in the first place. There is also the issue that the nation’s Founders recognized the danger of establishing or enforcing a state religion, so the Separation Clause was written specifically to avoid the rule of one religion over the country.

These days the Christian evangelical community persists in claiming that the United States of America is a “Christian nation,” founded on “Christian principles” and therefore subject to the directives of theocratic directives from whatever source they might be issued. This is another form of gaslighting, a way to “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”

Crazy times

These are crazy times we live in. To perpetually insist that something is true that is not true, especially by accusing those most affected by that untruth of being wrong, is psychological abuse. So is being a bully over every issue that confronts you. That is what the President of the United States does every single day of the year.

That is also the central tactic of the GOP these days. Choose any principle; be it racism, feminism, gay rights, environmental protection, even the rights of an individual in comparison to a corporation, and the GOP finds a way to flip those concerns around as a means to gaslight people into submission. Crazy times indeed.

Racism and the GOP

When it comes to racism, the GOP inherited the originally vicious views of Southern Democrats and turned into a voting bloc first exploited in dog-whistle fashion by the grandfatherly visage of President Ronald Reagan. The Southern Strategy persists through the era of President Donald Trump, whose open appeal to racists to gain votes for his re-election includes patronage and Retweets bragging that there are “good people” on both sides of the debate over civil rights in America. He doesn’t bother to explain what kinds of “good people” want to persecute blacks and send American citizens “back to Africa” or whatever racist taunt they choose to exhort, but Trump doesn’t care about such details. He is happy to gaslight principled citizens into questioning their own good judgment by wondering what the President means by describing angry white citizens as “good people.”

Blacks and police brutality

The scourge of police brutality toward black people in America is so longstanding and frequent that movements such as Black Lives Matter emerged to heighten awareness of the problem. But conservatives gaslighted the issue by pumping out alternative slogans such as Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Rather than address and acknowledge that 200+ years of racial suppression continues in this nation, the opponents of full civil rights for people of color selfishly claim persecution for themselves.This is gaslighting at its worst.

The GOP encourages this attitude of denial with its support of Trump and the specious slogan Make America Great Again. Those words are a dog-whistle act of gaslighting unto themselves. They insinuate that the advances in civil rights, environmental protection and religious equanimity established by the Constitution are illegitimate.

Constitutional originalism is gaslighting

Now the Senate has installed yet another constitutional originalist in the Supreme Court. This is an outright act of the sort of judicial activism against which the GOP has railed for decades. It is gaslighting in its most extreme political form.

That is what the GOP stands for these days: Gaslighting Over Principle.

We’re stuck with it for the time being, but there will come a moment in history when the tables turn again. That may come sooner or later. But gaslighting does win the day on November 3, the country as we’ve known it for 243 years will cease to exist, and we’ll all be subject to the violent instincts and abusive advances of a highly conflicted man and his dysfunctionally self-absorbed family.

That’s the choice we’re making on November the third. We can let ourselves be gaslighted into insanity, or we can stand against the GOP and its lying tactics, sycophantic whorishness and cloying lust for power, black eyes and all.

The confused role model Kim Davis deserves her own Unreality Show

Kim-Davis-1024x576When it comes to cognitive dissonance, it does not matter whether one is Republican, Democrat or Libertarian. Catholic, Protestant or Muslim. Baseball, Football or Soccer Fan. If you can’t connect the realities of cause and effect, you are clearly operating in the realm of unreality.

And, if you’re delusional at a deep enough level, and actually turn out to be either rich or poor enough to serve as a caricature of society and social status, you might even qualify to get your own Reality Show.

Trumped Up

Just ask the likes of Donald Trump, the rich dingbat now running for America’s highest office. His trademark bad hair and catchphrases such as “You’re Fired!” perfectly fit the carnival atmosphere of reality television. The fact that he is now the front-runner among alg-donald-trump-jpgRepublican candidates illustrates the cognitive dissonance of Americans that cannot separate reality from unreality.
Their keen sense of aggressive ignorance mirrors the unreal reality of one Honey Boo Boo, the child princess with a family that perfectly expressed the worst that America has to offer in the way of values.

Yet somehow the pure absence of conscience in that show symbolizes the brand of depravity that serves as values in the post-modern age. Honey Boo Boo is a direct descendant of the circus carnivals that once toured America with bearded ladies and Strongmen, freaks of nature who somehow appeal to that sense of inhumanity and prurience from which you can’t look away, and will pay to see.

The cause of our curiosity is the effect it has on us. Desperate for both entertainment and confirmation that we’re somehow better than the people we subject to our attentions, we turn people ill-prepared for the role into heroes into rock stars. And that includes the rock stars themselves.

Confused role models

Into this cognitive disconnect between reality and unreality marches one Kim Davis. She makes the claim that her religious beliefs are being violated by carrying out her legally specified duties of issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Kim-Davis-Kentucky-ClerkWe’ll leave her own confused life out of our analysis other than to say that she has not been a model of marital virtue. Not by any current measure, or past. To her credit she has apparently asked forgiveness for her mistakes, and deserves an audience with God or Christ to reconcile her need for justification. That’s between her and her maker.

Yet she’s weirdly fashioned herself into something of a role model for a certain brand of Christian who feels persecuted by a society that legitimately questions hypocrites who won’t do the job they are paid to do because it appears to conflict with their religious beliefs.

Well, social media has had a fine time with that contention, hasn’t it? There are all kinds of religious beliefs out there just waiting to be violated. A pastor that is a fan of guns could argue that the ban his church places on carrying concealed weapons is against his personal beliefs. The breaches of such nature are never-ending.

Which is why our Constitution guarantees both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. The whole point of our Constitution is to establish and preside over the general consensus between moral values and public laws. It is a confused role model that refuses to understand these qualities that govern our country.

Where she’s wrong

Kim Davis may be all right in her own mind, but she’s got it all wrong when it comes to working in the public sector. By making the claim that she should not be “forced” ––if kim-davisthat’s how she feels about it––to issue gay marriage licenses is an apparent confession that she does not believe in her oath and role as a public servant. Period.

And the Bible is all too clear about that, over and over again:

1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority…

And so on. Now you could argue that Jesus was pretty good at breaking that rule. But that’s Jesus. He had a broader goal in mind than pissing off the authorities. He came to enlighten people that the greatest law of all was love, and that love is the great revealer of the human spirit.

So Kim Davis isn’t even aligned with Jesus Christ in her attempt at castigating gays for wanting to share their love in marriage.

She’s wrong in the public sector and she’s wrong in the halls of the Lord.

Interpretations

This is the problem with so-called “modern” Christianity with its so-called evangelical roots. A faith that tries to proselytize without first checking the accuracy of its contentions, and then further push the agenda through politics, winds up way off base.

kim-davis-flagBecause those contentions are all a matter of interpretation. There is no consensus among Christians on the subject of gay marriage. So what’s she’s trying to do is use her ostensible authority as a representative of her faith is to superimpose those beliefs even above those who do not agree with her theology. She is, in other words, a very loose cannon who is confused on so many fronts she can only appeal to public sympathy for elucidation and support.

And manically, we must suppose, she has used her seemingly populist popularity to claim she wants to run for Governor of Kentucky. And at what point would her religious beliefs then conflict with her pursuant oath of office?

She clearly hasn’t thought any of this through. Nor would she likely care to try. People of conviction without investigation often turn a blind eye to the facts staring them plain in the face.

But that is exactly what makes a great reality show star. The illusion of wonder is far greater than the mundane work of actually wondering what to believe.

Which should make her the next star of an Unreality Show. And you heard it here first.

A short letter to Billy Graham on his endorsement of Mitt Romney for President of the United States

The inscrutable Mitt Romney meets the intractable Billy Graham

Let’s deconstruct what Billy Graham has to say about endorsing Mitt Romney:

“It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”

Well, Mr. Graham. You left out a lot, didn’t you? No mention of protecting the poor, a favorite topic of Jesus. NO mention of holding the wealthy accountable for exploitation of the country and its resources. No mention of protecting the earth as God’s creation. No mention of holding our former President and VP accountable for unbudgeted, illegal wars and torture.

Especially no mention of the inscrutable lack of accountability by Mitt Romney, who has changed his stated positions on every single position he claims to advocate, and obscured facts about his personal business and finances that more accurately reflect his cutthroat disregard for his fellow human beings. These acts make him either an untrustworthy leader or an outright liar. Or both. The recovery Mr. Romney needs to focus on is his credibility.

Billy Graham has endorsed an ideological chimera in Mitt Romney, and as such has sided with powerful special interests and a brand of prejudiced thinking that impinges on real American rights including freedom FROM religion as guaranteed by the US Constitution. Graham completely ignores that fact of law. His assumptions speak volumes about his anachronistic brand of religion and its lack of scriptural substance in an age of rational faith and Constitutional interpretation based on human equality, not religious prejudices.

Graham proves through his endorsement that a vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket is a vote to misappropriate American rights and freedoms in favor of a stilted worldview that sadly is also a misunderstanding of the very faith Mr. Graham and his ilk have long claimed to represent. The best illustration of this desperate grab for power and respect is the scrubbing of his own website to remove the claim that Mormonism is a ‘cult.’ Like Joe Paterno, we might be seeing another hero embracing power over principle.

It is possible to lose perspective in life when your legacy is bigger than your ability to sort out your priorities. Perhaps the influence of his now infamous son Franklin Graham has jaded the Rev. Billy Graham’s once famously wise counsel. Of course, fame ultimately has a way of corrupting judgment. Position has a way of undermining the will to discern what is truly right and wrong. And time has a way of destroying the patience for change.

All in all, Mr. Graham, you have gotten it wrong, made a spectacle of yourself and the presidential race, and intimated that our current President is not a moral and considerate man. That may be the most damning of all references in your endorsement of Romney.

Supposedly, Billy Graham, you have provided wise counsel to many Presidents. Perhaps you’ve even spoken with Barack Obama at some point in time. But what you have done now is reveal the sad political prejudice of this age, which is disturbingly ill-informed single issue voting as the premise for political loyalty. One would think a man of your stature would see beyond the narrow-minded views you express. But having heard what you now have to say, we can write you off as the product of a different age. One that never really aligned with the true path of faith, forgiveness and fruition outlined in the Bible. Perhaps you should read it again.

It really doesn’t say some of the things you apparently think it does. Or have you only read it in the presence of those who agree with you, and therefore have much to gain by doing so?

Jesus didn’t like those types of religious leaders. It says so in the Bible.