Old Blog Posts

In switching the host site of my blog to WordPress, I have decided I want to transfer old posts from my previous blog, as I rather enjoyed writing them, and want to ensure I don’t lose them.  At this time, some of the political information is outdated (they are from May, 2009), however, in opinion, their overall messages remain applicable to today’s political climate.  They can be found beneath this post.

Enjoy!  More (new!) posts to come soon.

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The Crucifixion of The Democratic Party: Jesus was a Democrat, and More Disastrous Ironies of Republican Dogma


“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”
-Goethe

The Republican Party Platform: Small government/big business (read: caring for the rich), low taxes, sole personal responsibility, militant, and apparent disdain for the idea of empathy (“You be da man, Michael Steele!” to paraphrase the nut job Congresswoman from Minnesota, Michelle Bachmann)

The Democratic Party Platform: Equal rights, social programming, fair wages (read: caring for the poor), healthcare reform, education, non-militant, peace-promoting, government responsibility, radical social activism.

So… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher which of these two parties Jesus of Nazareth would have belonged to in today’s day in age, right?

Wrong. Yet again, the Republican party still hasn’t gotten it. Since they seem to believe that they are the party of morality, the party which “claimed” Christianity some time ago.

While on some level this has always perplexed me, it is becoming more and more obvious to me in light of all of the war, torture, economic corruption, etc. thrown in our faces every time we turn on the television that this is the case– that in a sick twist of irony, the party that has attempted to build itself on Christian ideals and morals has become the antithesis of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I can’t understand how people who belong to a party who cry out over women who have been raped having abortions, who oftentimes appear giddy with excitement over the prospect of impending war (read: death, destruction, annihilation of families, despair, etc.), and who get more riled up over taxes and economic wealth than any other single political issue, is also supposedly the party which embodies the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ, one of the most peaceful, loving, empathetic, unselfish people who probably ever walked the Earth.

I find myself thinking, “Do the Republicans actually, on any level, understand the man they label as their savior?”

When Jesus Christ became a well-known figure in his time, people very obviously admired him and looked up to him as a type of savior. However, he was not exactly the savior they were expecting.

During Jesus’ time, Palestine was under the rule of the Romans, who had imposed their culture and laws on the Jews. While the Jews were “tolerated” and they were generally allowed to practice their religion, they understandably wanted to Romans out. Over time, the people began to look for a “savior” of political and military nature, to run the Romans out so they would once again enjoy the political control and religious freedom they once had. Upon the advent of Jesus’ teachings, people did see him as a savior of sorts, but not necessarily what they had expected. What is important here, is although they were not seeking a man to “save” them in the way Jesus preached of, there was something about this man that caught everyone’s attention. While the obvious answer is his religious role, the other half of that which most people don’t seem to pay enough attention to is the fact that he was peaceful, simple, loving, compassionate, and forgiving to the extent that he was seen as radical. In fact, his persecution was in all likelihood not a direct manifestation of his religious teachings, rather, the fact that his teachings were at odds with so many interests and power factors– the priests, lawyers, scribes, etc. This did not sit well with those in power, this radical out there, exposing politicians’ hypocrisy, and suggesting that all people, in the end, answer to a power much greater than that of those with any political power in their day.

Again, what’s important here is that Jesus was persecuted and killed because he (God forbid!) promoted peace, unconditional understanding and forgiveness of others (who are ALL brothers and sisters, united as children of God), and care for the poor. Before Jesus, the law operated on something more in-line with the old “eye for an eye” mentality. Among Jesus’ “radical” teachings were loving one’s neighbor as thyself, “neighbors” including: the poor, the imprisoned, the sick, the disabled, the foreigner, the enemy, the sinners, and the imprisoned…

Part of what made Jesus so important is how he was able to radically change the broader social context of political and social thought. He turned the military war cries into social and political cries of justice, peace, and compassion for all people walking the Earth. He was a genius of his time, and whether you believe he was the Son of God or not, there is no denying that his life, or the story of his life, had a lasting impact on the way we understand the social and political context of our time. A true social activist, Jesus preached of things that are very much in-line with the political platform of today’s Democratic Party.

As of now, the Republican party is defined roughly by the championing of torture, war, greed, hate, intolerance, and inequality– and their defamation is rooted mostly in the fact that they are are different from them, and since they can’t understand it, or more likely don’t even try to, they become the new enemy.

It is my firm believe, that if Jesus Christ were to descend from the heavens today and take one look at the exploitation of his name and teachings for the interests of those with the most wealth and power, he would not only be ashamed and disgusted, but pissed off beyond belief. You want to talk about taking his name in vain? How about killing and torturing his children, creating a social and political structure which makes it nearly impossible for factions of the world to ever find their way out of extreme poverty and suffering, and astronomical levels of lying, deception, and corruption… all pushed forward using HIS NAME as a pawn in their master plan? I think it’s safe to say he might whip out the ol’ fire and brimstone to teach them all a nice little lesson.

Today’s Republican Party is (sadly) relying solely on the ancient tactics of the Romans in Jesus’ time– slandering those who promote peace, compassion, and understanding for those who are unlike us as “radicals” and painting them as “dangerous” figures who will destroy everything they have come to know. Of course, they are correct in that these “radical” ideals have the potential ability to change everything on such a large scale it WILL change things forever. What is especially troubling to me, is how a) anyone in this day in age could think this could possibly be a bad thing, and b) how people are still falling for this nonsense.

Perhaps the next time a Republican politician walks out to the pulpit, prepared to give his campaign speech appealing to neo-conservative hatred and vilification of outsiders, when senators cast their vote for or against healthcare reform, or when CIA operatives and government interrogators walk into a jail cell contemplating which path they should take in obtaining that oh-so-important information, perhaps they should ask themselves one simple question:

What Would Jesus Do?

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The Times They Are A Changin: A Wake-Up Call to the GOP

“Come senators, congressman
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he who gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’”

-Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A Changin’”

Yesterday, I posted a three-update-long rant on Facebook, remarking on how obnoxious it is that the Republican party will not stop whining about all of the changes that are taking place on the national political stage.

I touched on a couple of specific points– that what we are living in right now is the center of the storm in the generational shift of thought from conservatism to liberalism, or, probably more accurately, “progressivism.” Republicans don’t seem to have picked up on that one, though. Consequentially, they continue to hang on for dear life as their party is beginning to lose its identification as a major political party, as only 20% of Americans today self-identify as a Republican. This is a result of their insistence upon pushing their ideologies onto the whole of the American public, then whining when the public rejects their views at an unprecedented level. Objectively, this is a sad time in politics, as this stifles to some extent the voices of those who are in opposition to the party in power, or at least makes their voices very quiet in the discussion of public policy. So, as much as it gives me a more immense feeling of satisfaction than I ever once thought possible to see the undeniable rejection by the American people of conservative politics, I can’t allow myself to ignore that little voice inside of me reminding me that the only path to justice is one where every voice is heard equally loud and clear to any other, and all are taken into consideration in the final decision of policy. A one-party system is never a good idea, and is the precursor to greed and corrupt individuals running the show. The Republicans need a serious wake-up call, or else they will sabotage themselves into falling into no man’s land where they will never again be a viable party in the American political system.

That being said, please allow me to now marvel at the inane attempts by the Republican party thus far in revamping of their image in the minds of the American public.

Instead of steering their party in a direction more in line with the political views of the country as a whole, they are pandering to the base of their party– the white, protestant, Christian right, who continue to argue for a return to “traditional family values,” while simultaneously fighting for the “rights” to discriminate against those who do not fit into their little club of intolerance and hate.

It is amazing to me that the party that has branded themselves the party of moral values is the same party who is not only justifying, but encouraging the continued use of torture as a technique for dealing with prisoners of war. I have several issues with the whole torture debate, but I will try to only include the most obvious and damning of them in this post.

For one thing, it is illegal. Not only did we sign the Geneva Convention treaty against torture based simply on the grounds that it is immoral and goes against the international humanitarian agenda, but the Republican Party’s latest hero, President Reagan, issued a signing statement declaring that it would not only be illegal to torture on the international political level, but domestically as well. And I quote:

“The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.”

However, the Republicans appear to embrace with open arms the ideology of American exceptionalism– that we can do anything we want because, hey, we’re America!– and are attempting to conceal this as their true justification for torture with the argument that it produced information that potentially saved American lives by preventing another terrorist attack. Great, I could care less whether it produced good information or not– the point is not whether it worked. The point is that it is illegal under any circumstances to torture another human being. In the words of Reagan, torture is “inhuman treatment,” and if it is found that torture has occurred, we as a nation are obligated to prosecute for the good of mankind.

That right there, in my mind, is enough to deduce that what the Bush administration did by authorizing torture of prisoners is nothing short of a war crime, and that they not only deserve to be brought before a trial to be judged for their actions, but that we as a people are morally obligated to prosecute them for their offenses.

Unfortunately, though, those who argue for the use of these “techniques” appear to, apparently, lack the ability to reason, and are thus driven solely by the memes of the conservative noise machine that have been beaten into their brains on a daily basis on Faux News.

We have all seen the reports that have come out lately stating that, as a technique for obtaining important information, torture simply does not work. Think about it. You’re being tortured. You are experiencing an overwhelming sensation that you are literally drowning. You are being asked what the connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda is, yet you know there is none. However, you also know that the only way it will stop is to say something, anything. So, you say whatever comes to mind, caring only about one thing– stopping the torture. There have been multiple studies which show that torture does NOT produce valuable information. The Bush administration knew that. They weren’t looking for valid information. Instead, what they were looking for was justification to wage war on Iraq– so they took advantage of the opportunity to create false justification through torture.

What’s more, how can any thinking individual possibly believe that torturing detainees makes us more safe? This only strengthens the world’s view of us as the self-righteous “World Police” who will go to any lengths for their own gain. Cheney needs to do the GOP (and the rest of the world) a favor and end his legacy campaign on Faux News broadcasting his pathetic attempts at rewriting history. I, for one, am sick of seeing his sneering face on my television spreading unnecessary fear and panic among American citizens for his own selfish agenda. What is especially maddening about Cheney is his assertion that by releasing the so-called “torture memos” and the upcoming release of hundreds of abuse and torture action-shots, Obama is fueling anti-American sentiment in the terrorists. What he doesn’t seem to understand, or at least what he appears to be trying to mask, is the fact that the release of this information to the public about the previous administration’s policies, which Obama has clearly condemned and criminalized, will only make the Bush administration look even worse, and Obama look better, as he’s exposing them for their crimes against humanity, and promising the world that it will never happen again. But perhaps what should be on Cheney’s mind is the thought that if they never authorized the use of these “techniques” in the first place, they all wouldn’t have anything to worry about now, would they? (Side note: it is my personal belief that Cheney has what I like to call “John Wayne Syndrome,” where one becomes obsessed with not showing signs of weakness and never apologizing… thoughts?)

Getting back to the irony of the whole “family values” facade of the Republican party: Yesterday the House passed a bill that would add sexual orientation to the list of factors which, when the primary motivation behind a criminal act, would constitute a hate crime. What is so telling about the Republican Party’s opposition to this bill is simply that the bill already exists with regards to race, gender, religion, and nation of origin, and they apparently have no qualms with this, but God forbid someone makes it equally as heinous to victimize someone because they are gay. Or, perhaps in their sick, twisted minds they justify this reasoning by telling themselves that they are carrying out God’s will by punishing the “sinners” and making an example of them? (Sadly, I wouldn’t put this type of thinking past some of the more extreme wingnuts).

However, the coup de gras to the tiny bit of political capital the Republicans possibly still had left came today when Representative Virginia Foxx (R- NC) had the audacity to claim that Matthew Shepard, who the bill is named after, was not brutally beaten and left for dead because he was gay, but because he was caught in the middle of a robbery. She then added that the story of what happened to him, that he was killed because he was gay, was a “hoax.” As if this was not outrageous enough– turns out that Matthew’s mother was in the gallery during the time of Ms. Foxx’s disgraceful claims. Yeah… You stay classy, GOP.

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