Entries tagged as ‘christian’

Bristol Palin and Family Values

March 14, 2009 · Leave a Comment

Bristol Palin is a teenager who now finds herself in a difficult unplanned situation. She’s a single teenage mom. She doesn’t deserve to be getting as much press attention as she is. She needs to have safe space with loving supportive family and friends as she navigates the difficult path to growing up while raising a baby. We wish her the best.

Here’s why it’s relevant – and fair – to talk about her situation at all.  Because her mother Sarah Palin brought it up.  Sarah of the abstinence only sex education.   Sarah of the “real America” has “real American” rural white heartland God-lovin’ gun-shootin’ Bush-votin’ values.  Sarah who shouts for all to hear “look at my superior family values.”  Sarah who thinks that gays are “destroying the very foundations of society.”

“Values politics” was created by the Republican party as a way to try to keep fundamentalist, evangelical and pentecostal Christians happy and in the party tent.  It was and is a codeword for those to whom it was meant to appeal without being so transparently divisive and off-putting to the majority of those whom it was meant to exclude or condemn.

The “values” arguments usually go something like this:

America was founded as a God-fearing Christian nation.  Our rich wonderful beautiful history and culture was that of thrift, hard-work, monogamy, church-attendance, strong morality which resulted in people of superior character.  But then all these weird people either (a) got their freedom (blacks), (b) moved here – sometimes “illegally”, (c) came out of the clost – and these new influences have simply ruined the Garden of Eden.  These people with their other languages, their different beliefs, their sexual freedom, their irresponsibility.  That’s the source of all of our problems.  If only we could keep our borders closed, force the gays back into the closet, legislate morality – we could return to that once idyllic promised land.  And God in heaven would smile, prosperity would return, and all things wrong in the world would be good again.

The unstated appeal to those who cling to it is that this patently false mythological past is also primarily white.   Certainly the appeal of such a vision, even though based on a multitude of falsehoods about the past and the present, can be understood for those whose self-righteousness is exceeded only by their own self-delusion.  But it’s simply false.

And that’s why Bristol Palin is relevant.  The “Values Politics” of Sarah Palin are stripped naked in the face of the realities of a young girl living life under the roof of someone espousing such rhetoric.

Leave the girl alone, but reject with prejudice (irony fully intended) the false and harmful Values Politics of her mother, Sarah Palin.

Categories: Palin
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Colin Powell Distressed by Palin's Impact on Republicans

December 12, 2008 · Leave a Comment

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Colin Powell elaborates on earlier comments about the divisions on the Republican party wrought by Palin.

Powell said:

Gov. Palin, to some extent, pushed the party more to the right, and I think she had something of a polarizing effect when she talked about how small town values are good. Well, most of us don’t live in small towns. And I was raised in the South Bronx, and there’s nothing wrong with my value system from the South Bronx.

And when they came to Virginia and said the southern part of Virginia is good and the northern part of Virginia is bad. The only problem with that is there are more votes in the northern part of Virginia than there are in the southern part of Virginia, so that doesn’t work.

Watch parts of the interview here:

Powell’s comments only touch on the rural  vs. urban-suburban divide.  And while Powell didn’t go this far, I think the clear extension of his comments can be drawn by an understanding of the demographics of those populations.  Rural America is, by and large, Christian and white.  Urban America is racially and religiously diverse.  At its core, the rural white Christian populism is simply too narrow and too alienating to everyone else to be able to hold majority power.

Categories: Palin
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Sarah's Future

October 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Sarah Palin may be the one person out of the four at the top of the ticket with the most at stake.  Win or lose McCain will be a senior leader in the Republican party.  Win or lose both Obama and Biden have increased their national stature and will figure in Democratic politics for a long time to come.  Sarah Palin, on the other hand, will either be vaulted into the heights of national leadership, or bundled off back to Alaska, largely blamed for the Republican loss, and shunned by the Republican party.

We need look no further than Katherine Harris of Florida for how the Republican party will treat Palin in the future when her usefulness is done.  She will go from being the toast of the party to being an embarrassing relative pushed to the background, and erased from memory.

Katherine Harris, of course, is the former Republican Secretary of State of Florida whose actions had an enormous impact on the outcome of the 2000 election.  Harris entered politics with her election to the Florida Senate in 1994.  As early as 1996 she was caught up in a scandal when a company called Riscorp made $400,000 in illegal political pay-to-play donations, including over $20,000 to Harris.  The CEO of Riscorp did prison time after confessing guilt; Harris was never charged.  In 1998 she won the race for Secretary of State of Florida, which would give her a pivotal role in the 2000 Presidential election.

Harris leveraged her new found recognition to a seat in the US Congress in 2002.  She then ran for the US Senate in 2006.  Unfortunately for Harris she had more political funding trouble, as she was involved in the MZM defense contractor scandal that had led to the conviction and resignation of California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.  The Republican establishment which had come to power because of Harris now turned against her.  Jeb Bush publicly speculated that she couldn’t win and encouraged others to run against her.  Karl Rove soon followed suit.  The entire Republican establishment rushed to find a replacement candidate, and even recruited conservative commentator Joe Scarborough to step in.  The flow of Republican money soon dried up, and when her father left his sizable estate entirely to her mother, she was left without the money needed to compete.

In another eerie parallel to Sarah Palin, Harris was another evangelical Christian who apparently believed in Christian Reconstruction – the belief that Christians have a duty to God to make America a theocracy.  That’s right, they have the same approach to government as fundamentalist Muslims – just a different theology.

Here’s what Harris said to the Florida Baptist Witness on August 24, 2006.

“We have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers. And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women and if people aren’t involved in helping godly men in getting elected then we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and that’s certainly isn’t what God intended. … we need to take back this country. … And if we don’t get involved as Christians then how could we possibly take this back? …If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage. And that will take western civilization, indeed other nations because people look to our country as one nation as under God and whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.”

If the positions seem eerily familiar, it’s because Palin shares them lock, stock, barrel and “Jesus loves the NRA” bumper sticker.

In the Florida Senate race in 2006, the Republicans got their replacement candidate, Vern Buchanan, who eked out a victory by only a few hundred votes.

Sarah, I feel for you.  Right now you’re the toast of the Jesus and Guns circuit.  You’re being told that you not only have to try to help McCain overcome difficult odds to win the election, but you also have to think about your own future should the ticket lose.  You’re even thinking that you could become President one day.  I’d suggest you give Katherine a call, and see how solid and lasting that Republican embrace is.  If there’s one thing that Republicans hate more than a Democrat, it’s a loser.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology
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