Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day 14, 01 Year, Trumpland: Twin Dangers

We have a number of threats looming for our nation. Lil' Donald is a bully who enjoys throwing around the weight of the US. Foreign governments do not find it amusing. Nor do citizens who seem to be targets such as Liberals, women, or the Water Protectors. Indeed, it is increasingly difficult to know what to write about because there's so much.

Lil' Donald threatened to send soldiers to Mexico to take care of drug cartels. Iran is pushing back against Trump. Lil' Donald insulted Australia. The unthinkable has become normal for the new president. But no administration draws lines in the sand doesn't have a plan and the suggested plan for America is dangerous. There's a huge reason that Lil' Donald wants to build up the military. And it's both a foreign and domestic danger.

Indeed, much of media still underestimates this administration. Wake up. They don't make idle statements. Iran says the missile can't carry a nuclear war head. Likely true. And that made is safe to test the waters with this administration. But rather than rising above, Lil' Donald wants to be the biggest bully on the playground. And Lil' Donald tells us "nothing is off the table". Remember the interview when he made it clear that nuclear weapons are acceptable to use. Followed by "we should have kept the oil." There were alternatives yesterday when Lil' Donald sent Mike Flynn into the White House briefing room. It would have been better to not put General Flynn out front where his belligerence ups the ante. We have allies in Europe that could have worked with us on statement. We could have taken the argument offline, where Iran doesn't have to worry about looking weak and then come out with a statement.

Lil' Donald was anything but reassuring the National Prayer Breakfast this morning. "When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm making, don't worry about it." In what universe is that a sane statement for a president to make? Little Donald, listen up. You disagree in private. You don't do policy by twitter.

In addition to foreign policy, we have internal threats. On the way to work and home, I spend an hour a day listening to conservative talk radio (it's painful, but only fair to know what the "other side" is thinking)--hosts include people like Sean Hannity and Larry Elder. They frequently criticize higher education as they believe that thinking too much endangers your Christian soul. They believe college makes it almost impossible for a woman to assume the appropriate role in the home as wife and mother. Yesterday I heard this quote: "Fighting the left is the moral obligation that we have." What?! It's a world of non compromise, winner take all. There doesn't appear to see any desire or willingness to work out compromises or meeting in the middle. When they do invite liberals on the program, they are belittled, cut off, insulted.

This brings me to the prayer breakfast today where Lil' Donald said: "I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. Freedom of religion is a sacred right. But is also a right under threat." Since when, given there are more Christians in this nation than not. That religious freedom in protected as is the right not to believe.

Understand that the Johnson amendment keeps ministers in megachurches from demanding that their congregation vote for the candidate of the church's choice and prevents campaign donations from churches. It keeps the line between separation of church and state from blurring. Unless we all want to become evangelical Christians, this is a dangerous line to cross.

Furthermore, since when did Christians come under fire? It's an straw man argument created for a religious cause to further a political purpose. There's been an argument since the '80s created by the likes of Pat Bucanan and Jerry Falwell for political purposes, which created such a vicious split in our political parties and ended compromises. In practice, the Johnson amendment actually is largely ignored, as seen the recent elections. We aren't prosecuting 501c nonprofits for talking politics. Lil' Donald's committing political theater and filling an explicit promise that put him in office. But striking the law down is significant, because it sends the message that the evangelical world can move forward with their political agenda.

Let's be honest. Lil' Donald's faith lies in himself. He also was only able to quote one scripture, an eye for an eye, during the campaign. He was used by Evangelical and Dominionist Christians to get Pence into office, and he owes favors. And he has now nominated a supreme court justice in Gorsuch that fought for Hobby Lobby to deny birth control to their employees. (According to Salon: "The cases before the court, Conestoga and Hobby Lobby, were brought by for-profit corporations with religious owners who want to be exempt from obligations of the Affordable Care Act.") It was unnecessary to go to court when there was a form that they could have filled out and would have been able to have the end they desired. The lawsuit was to lay a path for making corporations have the rights of people. Think about it. Corporate religious rights were ruled more important than people religious rights. In practice, Hobby Lobby was denying birth control to women. Control a woman's body and you control the woman. It was birth control that gave rise to women in the work force, the fight for equal rights and equal pay. It gave women autonomy. And today the talk radio show was disparaging feminism. This right to determine what happens to my body is the essence of feminism.

Make no mistake about it. The far right intends elevate their religious rights above human rights. It is their goal to roll back women rights (like birth control and equal pay) and outlaw gay rights. And traditional conservative beliefs  give women, children, and non-believers second-class status. Patriarchy rules.

As a final thought, realize that this push for Betsy Deovs is backed by the hard right that would push their education agenda that denies evolution, for example. Evangelical Christians will rewrite history, civics, and science. If you've never looked at the Bob Jones home school educational program, go look now. It's terrifying.

Thomas Paine said, “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.” We are moving into a world where Evangelical Christians will become an established state religion. It is their stated goal.


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