BY BARBARA SANTEE
The first presidential campaign I ever worked on was for John F. Kennedy. Since then, I have been through a lot of political elections and battles; and I’ve never seen this country so divided as it is now. It is obvious that the combatants are not interested in doing things that will help their constituents [unless those constituents are big donors], but are more absorbed in politics for the sake of politics, not for the sake of people.
I have been a Democrat all of my political life, and have been very involved in the local party in Oklahoma, serving as chair of the resolutions committee and attending precinct, county, district and state meetings. But I stopped being active in the party because I became disgusted. Several times when I asked, “What is the purpose of the Democratic Party,” I’ve been told that its purpose is to elect Democrats to office! The first time I heard this, I was shocked. Then I began to notice it was becoming a mantra for the party. That’s when I realized that the Democratic Party I had known all of my life was not the Democratic Party of today.
At one point, the Democratic Party [large D] stood for democratic [small d] ideals that actually would benefit Americans. I thought the party stood for equality, justice, freedom, access to a free public education, workers’ rights, protecting the disenfranchised and vulnerable, etc. Apparently, I didn’t have a grip on reality if my fellow Democrats are to be believed.
Our politicians used to discuss ideas. Now they engage in character assassination. At one time, both sides would compromise for the sake of getting something done for the People. Not so today. All we see are screaming matches so loud and extreme you literally can’t understand what either side is saying. By doing this, neither side is proving how right they are – they are proving how immature and wrong they are.
At a labor rally recently, Jimmy Hoffa Jr. called the Tea Party people “those sons-a-bitches.” A Republican called the president a liar during a State of the Union speech. Recently, a Republican representative said he would not attend President Obama’s speech on jobs being made before a special session of the joint Congress. He said he didn’t want to be a “political prop” for the president. So instead of prioritizing jobs, this guy is laser focused on trying to embarrass the president. I could give dozens of other examples from both parties.
Of course, this level of animosity against the president is generated not by Obama’s policies, but by his race. The rightwing extremists have re-invented themselves as the Tea Party, but they are the same bigoted, racist, white-power extremists who have been with us since Jim Crow and now the KKK.
The passing years have not mellowed their hatred of blacks, but it seems to have exacerbated it. All of this spewed hatred is a result of the white, male backlash to the civil rights and women’s movements of the ‘70s. They are scared to death of losing male privilege.
When women were beginning to go into the workplace in positions generally held by men, men claimed that women were taking their jobs. Now they are claiming the same about Hispanics.
The problem I have with that is that no job belongs to anyone automatically. Jobs are earned, not a perk given because you happen to be white and male.
The same idea of white privilege permeates the Republican and Tea Parties. Most of them honestly believe that the office of president belongs to the Republicans, and any Democrat who dares to wrest that power from them is a usurper and not a legitimate leader; hence, the disrespect and animosity for our president. They feel they have a God-given right to rule this country.
If memory serves me correctly, there was once a King name George who thought the same thing. Of course, he was nuts, and it took a little war to convince him that his power was not God-given.
Where did the Tea-Party Republicans get the idea that the presidency, indeed this country, literally belongs to them? Most of them are religious extremists who fervently believe in Dominion theology, the belief that society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law.
Their core belief is that the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political and [in some cases] even military means. And who will be in charge of this new Domionist world? They will be, of course.
Domionism is what drives many politically active, conservative Christians to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action, especially in the United States, with the goal of a nation governed by Christians and biblical law. That explains the rancor and out-and-out hostility of these people toward anyone who disagrees with them. They are the rightful rulers and those who don’t agree are standing in their way of doing God’s biding.
Dominionism is tied to their theological beliefs about the end times which are based on biblical prophesy involving the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the rapture of the living, Armageddon where sinners will be destroyed by God’s wrath, and the other dire biblical prophesies.
Essentially, the biblical literalists believe that all of these actions will be triggered by the second coming of Christ. But more importantly, they deeply believe that Christ can only return to Israel. Therefore, it is imperative that Israel must continue to exist. They fervently support the safety and existence of an Israeli state as part of their greater Christian plan, not because they love the Jews as a people. They are Christian Zionists, if you will.
The irony is, according to their theology, when Christ returns, the people on earth will be given one last chance to either accept him or be thrown into the bowels of hell. The Jews also will be given this choice. Those who refuse will die in eternal flames just like every other non-believer. Jews get no free pass for preserving Israel.
So much for the love of Israel and the Jews. They are merely the means to an end for the Zionist Christians.
The most prominent of these is John Hagee, a televangelist who raises millions of dollars annually that are sent to Israel.
Thousands of Zionist Christians tour Israel each year. Israel’s government tolerates this movement and the tourists because they don’t see them as a political threat to their country. But there are many Jews who see through Hagee’s scheming and disagree with their government’s stance toward these extremists. They know that the public support of Israel does not translate into their personal acceptance of Jews in this country.
The Domionists are committed to this theological fantasy that plays very well into their political game plan of taking over the government of the United States. By politically controlling the U.S. government, they can better protect Israel on the world stage and achieve their own self-delusional Christian fantasies of an imaginary playmate rising from the dead to swoop them up to an equally imaginary heaven.
What better way to accomplish this game plan than to take over one of the two major political parties in the U.S.? And they have done that.
It’s still called the Republican Party, but not the Republican Party most of us knew year ago. Now they are working on the Democrats. If this doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it should.
Oklahoman’s entire legislative delegation is made up of people who kowtow to the religious beliefs of these delusional people, and although they may only be parroting the fundamentalist rhetoric in order to garner votes, they also carry the water for these lunatics in Congress. They are selling the rest of us down the drain and they are endangering the survival of this country. Hence, we have people screaming “Anti-Christ” at President Obama at Political rallies.
We have read about the house on “C” Street [also known as “The Family”] where many of our lawmakers were given cheap room and board, along with a heavy dose of daily prayer. C Street is officially registered as a church; but in practice, they do their share of political conniving to push the agenda of the Dominionists.
“C” Street serves as a meeting place and residence for politicians like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford [adulterer], Nevada Sen. John Ensign [adulterer], and our own Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn [bagman for an adulterer]. Coburn was involved in a scandal as the go-between in trying to negotiate blackmail to cover up Ensign’s adulterous affair.
This small group of politicians collectively has incredible political clout and access to powerful people all over the world. And they have used those assets to push the Domionist agenda worldwide.
The stated purpose of The Family is to provide a fellowship forum for decision makers. Yet the organization has been described as one of the most politically well-connected ministries in the United States. The Family is very secretive, but its known participants include ranking United States government officials, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, ambassadors and high ranking politicians from across the world. Many United States senators and Congressmen who have publicly acknowledged working with the Fellowship or are documented as having done so work together to pass or influence legislation.
For example, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe has traveled to Africa 19 times to meet with the Nigerian president as a representative of “The Family.” Is it just a coincidence that Jim Inhofe’s negative view on gay rights may have served as the basis of the Nigerian law that same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death from stoning?
The Republicans have already stated that their major focus is to vote President Obama out of office – not jobs, not unemployment, not medical care, not anything else! Nothing else trumps that, unless it would be criminalizing abortion which they attack at every opportunity.
Everything else falls by the wayside. So instead of addressing issues, they are spending their time [and your taxes [trying to show how much more anti-Obama they are than the next person. This dance of death boils down to a recalcitrant faction in the Republican Party that is entrenched in their positions due to their racial and religious beliefs, and not their political duties. This translates into a lack of respect shown by being demeaning and insulting as possible to the other side.
Of course, this hostility prompts a response in kind. The exchanges between the two sides are filled with anger, contempt, and animosity. This might be good strategy during a war to define the enemy, but it is a deadly policy in politics where compromise is essential to a well-run government. But this hate-filled practice has become common practice now that the Dominionists have not only stuck their nose in the Republican tent but taken it over.
How will you get the other person to support your ideas or policies after you’ve called him/her a fool or a liar or the anti-Christ? Everyone on this earth wants the same thing. Respect. It is a fundamental human need, and is the basis of something I remember from my childhood, “Do unto others…”
To continue this hostile interaction only proves that the lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.
We used to understand that when someone said they were a Democrat, he or she embraced the ideals of the party. There was a mutual social contract of sorts by both sides about what their fundamental values were.
Unfortunately, that’s not true today.
The problem with the ideal of “electing Democrats to office” doesn’t include a job description setting out the ideals I’ve mentioned. Literally anyone can claim to be a “Democrat.”
As long as they are registered as a Democrat in Oklahoma, they can run for office under the party flag, even though they may not embrace a single one of the old ideals that Democrats once held.
We are in a period of political realignment in this country. Many Republicans do not agree with the anti-science, anti-abortion, anti-education of the Tea Party, but they agree with their fiscal ideas. Many Democrats embrace science, abortion rights, gay rights, public education, etc., but disagree with the Tea Party on fiscal matters. But increasingly there are Democrats who align philosophically with the Tea Party people on both fiscal and social issues, yet they stay in the Democratic Party out of habit or family tradition. Same is true for the Republicans.
So we have a lot of Democrats and Republicans disgruntled with their parties. And we have politicians who do not stand on principle, but change their positions according with the most recent poll results.
This current campaign for the Republican candidate for president is a perfect example. A candidate says something one day, and within hours, he/she backtracks embracing the opposite view! They don’t have the guts to say what they stand for and stick with it.
No Republican or Democratic voter is happy with politicians like that. We want to know a candidate’s core beliefs and commitments, and that he or she will remain true to defending those beliefs.
So a lot of Republicans and Democrats have left their respective parties in protest. That’s the reason Independents represent about 40% of the voting population in this country. That’s the reason the unprincipled politicians have to speak out of both sides of their mouths in order to capture that unstable “mushy” middle vote. And that’s the reason we have so many politicians who are RINOs [Republican in name only] and DINOs [Democrat in name only].
An example of a DINO is Dan Boren, an Oklahoma representative who cannot be counted on to vote with the Democrats on a lot of issues. He straddles the fence, and as Jim Hightower likes to say, “The only thing is the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and a dead armadillo.”
With the rise of the Religious Right’s takeover of the Republican party, we are faced with people who are judgmental, self-righteous, literally “holier than thou.” With this type of binary, black-or-white rigidity, you can’t have a simple difference of opinion. If you do differ, you are “evil” or an instrument of Satan. They claim God is wreaking havoc on this country through hurricanes, floods, wild fires, tornadoes, etc. because the populace stubbornly refuses to bow down to the Domionist’s skewed view of the world. [Of course, Hurricane Irene hit Pat Robertson’s area so I’m wondering if God was asleep at the wheel that time!]
It has been my experience after 40 years as a pro-choice activist, you don’t change the minds of people like this. You simply try to dilute their impact by activating average, mainstream Americans who generally have not been involved politically. After all, those mainstream Americans outnumber the extremists by a long shot. But if they don’t get involved, if they don’t care, we will continue down this road of mutual destruction with the two sides acting like two male deer with their antlers locked together in a dance of death that will drag all of us down with them.
– Barbara Santee, PhD, lives in Tulsa and is an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer