Bottom line up front, an assessment by your truly, is that
if the GOP wants to stay relevant and keep each election cycle from being a
near death experience, the party needs to OWN civil liberties. Not pander to
them in front of certain audiences, but OWN the issue.
Liberals care little for individual liberty as a rule, but Republicans
illustrate the same lack of care for the concept, in practice. Note that I use
Republicans rather than Conservatives. I’m still hanging on to the label as a
political descriptor of what I believe in, but it’s time may be short. Around a
decade ago, I had to leave the GOP and become a card carrying Libertarian,
since the combination of fiscal discipline, individual liberty, accountability
and responsibility seemed to only be convenient slogans for the Grand Old
Enter the likes of Rick Santorum. I don’t hate Rick…..I’m
quite sure that he’s an amiable and sincere guy who respectably has very solid,
core beliefs. Where I fear his ascendancy to national office literally just as much
as another term of Obama, is his desire to see this nation guided not by reason
and freedom, but by the edicts of what can rationally be described as a fairy
tale. And with that mindset, comes the obligatory rhetoric that has little to
no basis in fact. Whether it’s railing on about the alleged ‘war on religion’
or against the ability for some American citizens to enjoy the same privileges as
the majority…..the rhetoric is flailed about with virtually no push back for
definition by the media.
That of course, is another staple of the right, the
perpetual victimhood by an allegedly liberal media. It’s a sad twist of irony
that these people don’t include the cable news outlet with the largest market
share in their label of ‘lamestream media’. But I digress.
I cannot reconcile social conservatism with individual
liberty. Now ‘secular’ has been turned into a dirty word, but any restriction
or regulation on our freedoms that does not have a secular value, is utter
incompatible with liberty. Politicians such as Santorum and the slew of
Dominionists and Christian Nationalists are quite free to live their own lives
by their values…..but they aren’t content with a span of control so limited.
They crave power. They crave their worldview to be instituted as law. Santorum
derided Obama as pursuing an agenda that was not ‘biblically based’, but secular.
He says this as if establishing a code of laws and rights which values the
freedom to worship or not to, is a bad thing.
What I really don’t understand, Santorum aside, is why so
many theoretically intelligent citizens on the right believe and regurgitate
obvious falsehoods in the invented struggle? Why would they on one hand decry
government intrusion, yet on the other, advocate for it?
School prayer - I always illicit a definition or some amount
of substance for incredibly ignorant rantings such as “our children can’t pray
in school”. Children can pray in school as often as they wish, as long as it
does not interfere with the learning environment. Fundamentalists do not wish
for students to be allowed prayer in school, they want overt and organized
recognition of their faith in the public school. Where is the fundamental
educational value in this activity?
Same sex marriage – I’m forever told that the extension of
this privilege to homosexuals, a privilege enjoyed by their fellow hetero citizens,
will damage, harm, delegitimize, cheapen, weaken or somehow destroy my own marriage
or those of heteros in general. Excuse me? Nobody else’s relationship or
sexuality status has any impact on my marriage. It seems truly telling as to
the status of some people’s commitment that they would believe or allow this
issue to have an effect on their relationship. If stable family environments
are truly beneficial to society, then legitimize the relationship between citizens
who are biologically attracted to another consenting adult.
Contraceptives – Yes, I understand that one party in the
recent kerfuffle views this as an attack, not on contraceptives, but on the rights
of religion. But where in our set of laws and societal norms do we advocate
that a business operated by a particular faith, but 1) employing persons of that, other or no faith 2)
providing a service not specific to that faith, but of the community….be exempt
or allowed to choose which generally applicable laws they wish to adhere to?
One may not like the health care reform bill, but it is law. Your choice as a citizen
or collection of citizens is to either abide by said law, or work diligently to
change it. Make no mistake, the law of unintended consequences can come back
and bite the Catholic Church right in the vestments. If laws can be abided by
based on a moral belief, then Christians can be denied services and
discriminated against, just as they desire to do towards those who are not
living in alignment with the bible.
Religious fundamentalists are not going to defect to the
The GOP can not only afford to, but for its survival, must
balance the freedom of religious worship with extending the liberties and
privileges to all citizens irrespective of a religious value system. To do
anything less is a blight upon their platform of individual liberty and