I just wanted to say that if you found my lengthy condemnation of the perversion of the judicial and legislative system mean-spirited towards those of religious faith, then you have missed the point of the post completely. I have no problem with individuals who are deeply religious- I have a major problem with people who are profoundly religious and think it is an ideal that should be foisted upon the rest of society. And that is precisely what Tom DeLay and his ilk are trying to do.
When I use the terms ‘jihad,’ and ‘zealots,’ and ‘radicals,’ it is because that is how I have grown to view them. Religion is a wonderful source of divine inspiration for many, and in the past I have defended the Pope from what I felt were unfair attacks. Religion and religious teachings can be a wonderful source of morality and a foundation of guiding principles and laws, but they should not be the law itself.
You can count the recent failings of the Republican party as an epiphany for me, something I should have noticed earlier, but didn’t, or maybe didn’t want to. As a Republican, I spent most of my life in the minority party, so maybe I overlooked some things now that my side was in power. The signs were there, though- the growing overt hostility towards homosexuals, the marginalization of out-groups, the general sanctimoniousness, the groupthink, all tied in with the corporate cronyism best exemplified by the give-away to the credit card industry.
I don’t think religion has lost its way. Who should we expect to defend the existence of Terri Schiavo if not the Pope and other religious leaders? I would demand nothing less, and I would lose respect for them should they change their beliefs to suit the fickle will of the people. But the Pope and religious leaders do not and should not set the legislative agenda, nor should we all be forced to live by religious mandate. Clearly we can still recognize the difference between calls for moral behavior and the attempts to impose a Judeo-Christian version of Sharia.
While religion may not have lost its way, I do think my party has, although I reject the idea of a conservative crack-up. This isn’t a ‘crack-up’ so much as it is an internecine struggle for the soul of my party, and if you really think about it, as I have for the past couple of weeks, we just aren’t very ‘conservative’ anymore anyway.
Unless, of course, conservative means a profound lack of respect for individual liberty and individual wishes, a blatant disrespect for the rule of law and an independent judiciary, a condemnation of federalism and an outright hostility to limited government, as well as bloated government and heavy regulation of all media, including political speech. Then, of course, we are real damned ‘conservative.’ We have become nihilists, saying whatever is necessary to achieve short-term gain while holding almost no principles, other than retaining our death grip on the different branches of government.
I don’t want any more of it, and if it means we need to lose power, so be it. We have already lost our way, and I personally find myself much more comfortable opposing the stupid laws that came pre-1994 than I do now, when my party is the one proposing even worse legislation. And to make matters worse, we have been more disciplined and more successful passing bad legislation.
Look at these quotes to see how far we have strayed:
“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”
“It’s political Daddyism and it’s as old as demagogues and despotism.”
“Politics is the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order. ”
“You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”
The Bull Moose is right- Barry Goldwater wouldn’t recognize our party anymore, and I get the growing suspicion that William F. Buckley doesn’t, either. Ever wonder why William F. Buckley has the position he does on our drug policy?
I am sorry if you are deeply religious and I offended you- that was not my intent. I want you to look at what these radicals we have elected are doing- systematically dismantling our democracy in the pursuit of cash and power.
I am sorry if you think I am all soapbox and no soap. There are plenty of other blogs out there for you that can and will give you the party line. I may be wrong about a lot of things, but my beliefs are genuine.
And I am sorry if I sound ‘shrill’ or ‘extreme’ or ‘unhinged.’ I confess- right now I am all of the above, but for good reason. I have taken a good look around, including in my own archives with their damning accuracy, and I just don’t like what I see. Let me just say that there is no monster as scary as the one staring at you in the mirror.
If that means I am no longer a member of the good Republican club, then I will just have to live with it. I most certainly am not going to throw everything I believe out the window to become a Democrat, so I am going to remain shrill and extreme and unhinged and a member of the GOP until things start to change and we regain our focus, because right now I feel a lot like Dr. Frankenstein. Quitting the party would be the easy way out. I helped break this, I need to help fix it.
And with that, let me leave you with one more quote:
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
And it IS our liberty that is at stake.
*** Update ***
How about this for a bellwether? When you read Maureen Dowd, and say to your self, “Shit. She is 100% right,” it is time for some serious soul-searching.