Fun facts about Republicans

The level of discourse, if you can call it that, in our nation is increasingly shrill. I tend to think the right has been slightly less open in its approach to thorny issues, but the left shares plenty of “credit” for poisoned politics. What I wouldn’t give to be able to vote for a really, truly independent candidate who valued with common weal over the corporate-stuffed wallet.

But, as usual, I digress. There’s not much hope of improving things when people are not willing to face reality. That is, two people can have a reasonable conversation about conflict if they are both willing to agree on at least a few shared assumptions and on a common goal. Alas, it doesn’t seem that most Republicans are willing to engage reality, according to a recent Harris poll about Republican views of President Obama: “Two-thirds think he’s a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say ‘he may be the Antichrist.'”

Get that? One in four Republicans thinks Obama could well be the antichrist. It’s hard to be politically conciliatory when you think your opponent is the Agent of Satan. It’s also worth noting that there’s a disturbing increase in right-leaning wing-nuts calling for Obama to be assassinated.

Even the Senate and House, where you’d hope people might be a bit more enlightened — and perhaps even honest, things look bleak. The right has howled about our new health care bill. Socialism! Fascism! Left-wing conspiracy! Well, it turns out, if you take a deep breath and switch on the brain, that things aren’t quite the way the Fox blah-blahs and the Washington right would like you to believe. That “radical” Obama plan? It’s actually not as liberal as Romney-care in Massachusetts, though it was largely developed by the same economist. The new “socialist” plan is actually more conservative than the Republican plan floated in 1993, and even Nixon had a plan for almost universal health insurance coverage. Republicans are screaming about ideas less progressive than ideas their own party has advocated.

Let’s get this straight. Ideas similar to what Republicans have previously advocated are now seen as demonic by Republicans. What changed? The ideas under consideration this week came from Democrats, when Democrats had a legislative majority. What ever happened to the possibility of someone saying, “That’s a good idea, and I am pleased to join you in supporting it?”

I don’t know what the way out of this is. The Democrats seem incapable of governing effectively, though they have the Executive branch and solid majorities of both Houses. Instead of defining themselves as Not-Republicans, they need to start offering a compelling narrative for making our nation great again. One way to get out of the he-said-she-said game is to stop playing. We need more politicians who speak more about “us” than “them”. But how to get there?

Prayer seems like a good beginning.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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5 Responses

  1. Paul Stroble says:

    Good thoughts! We definitely need better stories as a nation, and continuing prayers!

  2. Doreen says:

    While I do not believe that Obama is the Antichrist, but I do have some concerns that Obama has surrounded himself with some advisers with documented ties to socialism. Perhaps the opinion that Obama is socialist does not relate to his health care plan, but rather those he has selected to advise him..

  3. Phil Snyder says:

    Scott, ABC News Polling just debunked this whole thing.

    I could set up an interactive web poll that asks all sorts of leading questions about what democrats believe and then direct conservatives there.

    Let’s take the questions – Could Obama be the Anti-christ? While I do not believe he is the anti-christ, the possibility exists that he could be. But then I could say the same about your or you about me.

    A socialist? Let’s define the term. A socialist believes that government should own the means of production. Can you say GM (Government Motors?) How about Government owning large shares of stock on major banks and then determining how those banks are run and how much their executives earn. Obama has said that he wants a single payer insurance system. That sure sounds like ownership of a major portion of the economy to me.

    Rather than coursening the discourse through posts like this, why not show why your ways are better for the American People and how they fit into our constitution.

    Phil Snyder

  4. Glenn Jenks says:

    I don’t propose to have a solution to the problem at issue. However, I would suggest that a step in the right direction would be that we just quit using labels to tag people or opposing views in expressing their opinions. Labels such as: “Socialist”, “Anti-Christ”, “Fascist” have no place in discourse other than to inflame emotions. First, these labels have no currency among our population. Whatever meaning these words may have, there is no commonly shared meaning and their only value in a discussion is to anger people, rather than further the dialogue in a positive manner.
    Second, such labels are misleading even if they are partially accurate. A person may agree with SOME principles of SOME forms of solcialist governments and not agree with many others. Yet the label implies, and is intended to imply, that the person in question agrees with all of the tenets of even the most totalitarian forms of socialism.
    Further, most people are illiterate as regards the Bible. The notion of an “Anti-Christ, while subscribed to by some branches of Christianity, is nothing more than an ancient superstition to many others branches of Christianity. It is therefore used only for its emotional impact and not to enlighten the discussion.
    So my suggestions is these: First,that each of us accept the responsibility NOT to use labels in expressing our own views, and Second, when other people use them, point out to the user that labels are unhelpful, and if people insist on using them, avoid any further conversation with them; it is a pointless to have discussion with such people.
    And finally, we should contact our representatives in Government and insist that they refrain from using such labels in public discourse.

  1. March 25, 2010

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