Thursday, December 6, 2007

“UNDER GOD”

I’m old enough to remember when that phrase was inserted into the pledge of Allegiance in the 1950s, to distinguish us from the “Godless Communism” we were “fighting.”

Before that, in my Catholic grade school, we just went from “one nation” to “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I think that’s the way it went. But however it went, we hadn’t been saying “under God” before that.

One of the many strange things about this country is the insistence by right-wingers that they are the true patriots, that they are the true descendents and upholders of the ideals of the Founding Fathers, that they are the ones who “love America” and anyone who disputes their perspective is an “America-hater.”

When, of course, anyone with any knowledge of our history knows that the Founding Fathers were a collection of individuals with various religious beliefs, stretching from not sure there was a God at all, to the majority Deists who believed God created the world and then left it to work itself out as it would, to those who were believing Christians but didn’t take the Bible literally.

Those who would have fit into a right-wing Christian fundamentalist mindset were non-existent, as that mindset hadn’t been created yet.

Now that it has—a product mostly of the 19th Century, as was the Pledge of Allegiance and other patriotic elements the right wing defends as if the Founding Fathers created them too—Mitt Romney has to prove his religion is somehow truly “Christian” for the right-wing Christian fundamentalists to accept him, and that he too is embracing the idea this is a “Christian” nation, or at least a “religious” nation and that “secularism” must be “fought” and defeated.

Like the Bush administration, and the rest of the right-wing that Romney is trying to get to support him, this represents a counterrevolution, overturning most of what the Founding Fathers stood for and bringing us back to the reasons our ‘forefathers” and mothers left England and the rest of Europe in the first place. To get away from governments that demanded allegiance to a particular religious mindset.

What a lot of us who don’t share the limited and revisionist interpretation of our history imposed by the right-wingers who have dominated the federal government for awhile now, as well as most talk radio and media punditry, etc., value most about this country is that it is based on the rule of reason, of law and individual liberty—all the things enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights—and not on some religious interpretation of a particular God’s will.

Why few, if any, of the candidates running for president so far seem willing to talk about that is obvious, they don’t want to be stigmatized as non-believers or “secularists” or even worse, anti-Christian—although the Democrats have and will continue to be portrayed that way anyway in the right-wing media.

Which is why a lot of political veterans worry that Obama can’t win, because despite his avowed belief in Jesus Christ and all the trimmings most Christians believe in, the seed has been planted that he was brought up in a Muslim environment with an Islamist education.

If Romney has trouble with his Mormon faith’s tweaking of Christian beliefs, how much more trouble will Obama have with the general electorate. Plenty. And if you think that most people will be able to see through the smearing that will begin if Obama wins the nomination, remember that a majority of voters easily bought, and most continue to, that Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

I come from depression era FDR Democratic ideals that see “the people” as ultimately knowing what’s best for themselves and if informed making the right decisions for the greater good. But the past two elections have given the lie to that belief, and make me wonder sometimes if Bill Maher’s characterization of the voting majority as “the idiocracy” doesn’t have some truth to it.

What could work to Obama’s benefit would be if young voters came out in greater numbers than they ever have. But I wouldn’t bet on that either. Unfortunately.

5 comments:

james.d.mckenna said...

Right on for most of your thoughts. I am getting terribly tired of all the God talk, mostly on the GOP side. That collection of Deists, you speak of, put together the greatest phrase ever put into a governing document. That is " We the people are endowed by our Creator with certain inaliable rights". The ideas is that our rights come not from the govenment but from God or from just the fact of our being human.

The feeling by many, that liberals hate and blame America first, springs from the words and actions of famous or infamous people on the left.

It is not helpful when Jimmy Carter praises dictators and or marxists like Castro, Chavez, Kim Il Jung, Arafat etc. It is also unseemly to have a former president criticising US policy from forign shores.
Durbin, Kerry, Kennedy, Murtha, Pelosi and Reid have called our troops terrorists, who promolgate war like Gengis Kahn, when US troops in the middle east have been the most careful army in human history as to avoiding civilian deaths.

Hollywood liberals reguarly parade to Cuba, Venuzuela and extoll the virtues of marxism and of the dictators/near dictators who run the countries. Jimmy and a lot of the Hollywood types call Israel an apartheid state and praise the virtues of the Palestinians. For the record Israel is a Democracy that has many free Muslim citizens who are represented in the Kenesset by Muslim representatives. I can not recall any Muslim country that has freedom of religiion much less representives of a non Muslim faith in govt.

Lally said...

I don't want to get into a whole thing point by point about what "liberals" have said, but being a print junkie who reads quite a bit every day and is knowledgable about a lot of the folks you refer to, even know some, I have never read the statements you attribute to them anywhere. What U.S. politician in his right mind, even if he believed it, would ever call our troops "terrosists?" Hello? As for Israel, you got your facts a little messed up there Jimbo, for one Iran has Jewish iranians in its parliament, I believe, and if Palestinians who lose their land because Jewish settlers decide God wants them to have it and the government allows that or even encourages that, what kind of democracy is that? Most Arab countries were relatively benign if not even welcoming to Christians and Jews before modern Israel was founded after WWII. And not as a Western democracy because it has a state religion, hello? True there were some Muslim countries that weren't as friendly to jews or Christians, and some foul play here and there, but no blanket statement would cover either side of that argument. And as for Iraq, Jews and Christians and secularists and etc. were all getting along pretty well before we invaded, and now most Iraqi citizens who aren't either Shiite or Sunni have been either killed or ethnically cleansed or turned into refugees or are at present being hounded and persecuted and murdered. Etc. And you are definitely not reading insider accounts from reporters and troops who are on the ground and taking part in U. S. operations if you think there aren't "American" troops commiting atrocities, either accidentally, or on purpose, in Iraq. Not to mention what goes on in the prisons we've been holding them in, like the one just uncovered in Jordan, let alone Abu Girahd et. al.

james.d.mckenna said...

Senator Durbin would be one. As to whether he was or has ever been in his right mind, I have no personal knowledge.

Durbin Apologizes for Remarks on Abuse
Senator's Comparison to Actions of Nazis and Soviets Had Drawn Wide Condemnation

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 22, 2005; Page A06

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) yesterday offered a tearful apology on the Senate floor for comparing the alleged abuse of prisoners by American troops to techniques used by the Nazis, the Soviets and the Khmer Rouge, as he sought to quell a frenzy of Republican-led criticism.

Durbin, the Democratic whip, acknowledged that "more than most people, a senator lives by his words" but that "occasionally words will fail us and occasionally we will fail words." Choking up, he said: "Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line. To them, I extend my heartfelt apologies."

-------------------------------
He apoligised only to those who thought his words crossed the line. Sounds like a non apology apology to me.

Lally said...

Not to drag this out forever boyo, but claiming all these top name Dems and "liberals" etc. called our troops "terrorists" and then using for evidence one of them comparing Nazi or Soviet etc. torture techniques to techniques used in abusing and torturing prisoners under our troops care is another. But just for the record, I don't have any doubt that our forces—whether military, secret organizations, or corporate mercenaries hired by our government—have used on Iraqi prisoners and others the waterboarding techniques we called the Japanese monsters and evil and enemies of civilization and all that for using against prisoners in WWII, nor do I think there's anything wrong with pointing out that the treatment of not just prisoners but some innocent civilians by the same forces, can at times be compared factually to some of the treatment and torture techniques used by the Soviet forces, the Nazis, etc. To the same extent and on the same numbers, absolutely not, but comparable, absolutely. Prisoners have been tortured to death by our forces, civilians have been raped and murdered. Some have been brought to justice for some of those activities, but usually the lowliest ranked among those involved while general policies among some outfits and in some locations, mostly prisons, but not exclusively, have contributed to, and in some cases encouraged, what our own country used to condemn as torture and labeled as totalitarian and/or facist. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of our troops whether working in prisons or in civilian areas who not only refuse to carry out those tactics but often blow the whistle on them. But two of the last ones who did that publically, in the editorial pages of the New York Times, ended up dying in "unrelated" accidents in Iraq, a fact noted, but barely by the media, and not at all by the right-wing of the media. And by the way, a member of my extended family was one of the first to die in Iraq, and many in my clan have served, males and females, over the years and during this particular conflict, all of whom I have nothing but love and respect for. To criticize tactics approved or allowed by higher ups in the military and administration, tactics that can legitimately be compared to those of regimes we have condemned for their cruelty in the past, and present, is not to call the troops "terrorists" but to admit that some of our troops, or others in the employ of our government, are behaving like "terrorists" in their disregard of human rights and life.
To not admit these things or allow criticism of them or label all criticism as "America hating" is like saying if someone on our high school football team was using a metal device to injure members of opposing teams and I told the coach or some other school authority, or wrote about it in the school newspaper, then obviously I hate the team and the high school and everything about it.
It's like a gang mentality. And if it can be used on Democrats and Liberals, why not on Republicans and rightwingers. All those who criticize the seperation of church and state or believe warrantless wire tapping of American citizens or the jailing and holding of American citizens, or even civilian citizens of other countries, without the right to a lawyer or a trial or the use of evidence or etc. etc. is okay, then they're America haters, against everything this country was based on and stands for. Etc.

james.d.mckenna said...

Here are some additional comments of liberal Democrat leaders who do not seem to have respect for our soldiers. I believe the main dispute is that liberals and some conservatives do not agree on whether it is right and vital for the US to act preemptively against Islamofascits.
Apologies to Nancy. I got her mixed up with Hillary.

December 5, 2005
John Kerry: American Soldiers Are Terrorists
John Kerry appeared yesterday on the CBS talking-head show, "Face The Nation", to discuss the war in Iraq with Bob Schieffer.
“And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...”

Murtha Must Testify in Defamation Case
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a defamation case against Rep. John P. Murtha and ordered the Pennsylvania Democrat to give a sworn deposition about his comments alleging “cold-blooded murder and war crimes” by unnamed soldiers in connection with Iraqi civilian deaths.
A Marine Corps sergeant is suing the 18-term congressman for making the charge, which the soldier claims is false. Murtha, who opposes the Iraq war, made the comment during a May, 2006 Capitol Hill news conference in which he predicted that a Pentagon war crimes investigation will show Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005.
Murtha’s office declined to comment on the ruling.

REID: SOMEONE TELL BUSH THE WAR IN IRAQ IS LOST

Moveon.org NYT ad Gen Betrayus

Even Pelosi, one of the most left-wing speakers ever, said she'd have "preferred that they won't do such an ad."
But Clinton not only couldn't bring herself to criticize it, she also attacked Petraeus' honesty: "The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief," she huffed to the general Tuesday.
And she slammed him (and Ambassador Ryan Crocker) as "de facto spokesmen for a failed policy," pointedly refusing to criticize the ad - which called him an outright liar who'd "betray" his nation.