Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bible barons

From Salon, here's an excellent article about how the Republican Party gets people to vote against their own self-interest (my thanks to Jim Harris for the link):
Last week, a bill to make way for the display of Ten Commandments in public buildings, such as courthouses and schools, passed out of an Alabama Senate committee, sending it to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week.

If you want to know why nine out of the 10 poorest states are located in the hyper-religious South, look no further than this calculated right-wing political play, which is designed for one purpose: to ensure Southern and Sunbelt voters continue to vote against their own self-economic interests.

If passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor, the state would put a constitutional amendment on the next ballot to let Alabama voters decide the issue. The theocratic authors and the Republican Party sponsors of this bill are fully cognizant of the fact that the bill is unconstitutional, and thus it will, inevitably, be struck down by the courts.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” It is the very basis of the separation of church and state. ...

While both [Trip] Pittman and [DuWayne] Bridges may sound like idiots, they’re actually shrewd political strategists, for the promise of tax cuts for the rich is hardly an effective platform for rallying the Republican Party base in a midterm election year. The promise of the Ten Commandments, however, is how you get a person without healthcare to vote for the party whose platform is based on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Pew Research Center, Alabama is the second most religious state in the nation with 74 percent of residents saying religion is very important in their lives. Number one is Mississippi. It is a pitiful irony that those states that are most religious are also states with the most individual suffering. More than 30 percent of the children in these two states suffer extreme poverty. In both states, the primary reason for abject poverty is that more than a third of children have parents who lack secure employment, decent wages, and healthcare. But thanks to Jesus, these poor saps vote for the party that rejects Medicaid expansion, opposes early education expansion, legislates larger cuts to education, and slashes food stamps to make room for oil and agriculture subsidies on top of tax cuts and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy.

Yup. And note that it's to the Republican Party's advantage to keep citizens poorly educated and ignorant, so they won't understand this. But more importantly, it's to their advantage to keep citizens poor, because struggling people tend to turn more to religion (especially when our society's social safety net has been shredded).

It's a very, very bad thing when there's no incentive for politicians to do well. Indeed, as the party which claims that "government is the problem," the incentives are just the reverse, to do so badly it demonstrates their point.

In a way, we're lucky the Republican Party is so bigoted and so crazy. If they were even halfway reasonable just think of how much damage they could do. Instead, they can't help but show the crazy, despite their best efforts to keep that hidden, and that helps to keep them out of power (not in Alabama, though, or Mississippi,... or Nebraska).

1 comment:

jeff725 said...

I have a radical thought about this.

All these low-information people who go against their own interests and vote Republican and support Republicans to their last dying breath (i.e. Jody P and the rest of the LJS "peanut gallery"), Malcolm X had a term for them: "House Negros." Remember Malcolm's "House Negro/Field Negro" speech?

"The house Negro loved Master more than Master loved himself."

"The house Negro identified himself with his Master."

"(The field Negro) caught hell...he felt the sting of the lash. And he HATED his Master."

Like I said, it's a radical thought, but think about the parallel.

My skin may be white but I consider myself a FIELD Negro.