In The Tyee, Raif Mair confronts "The problem with pre-programmed politicians".
Last week I offered, as one of the reasons the Tories will lose the next election, the fact that they are being hijacked by the religious right, just as has happened to the Republican party.That's it exactly, isn't it? It's not the politician's religion per se; it's possible that an elected official's religious beliefs could make her a better representative. It's the inflexibility. Read more, it's good.
At last count there were some 15 actual or probable Tory nominations to fundamentalist Christians.
When I raise this question on air, I can expect a barrage of email asking: "Why are you afraid of fundamentalist Christians? And wouldn't it be better for the country if we had men and women of Christian morality in office?"
My answer to the first question is that I fear any politician whose views on anything are unbending and depend upon a philosophical commitment that is unbreakable.
Am I saying that I want politicians who change their minds with every shift in the prevailing wind? No, not quite that. I just don't want them preprogrammed. To me, fundamentalists of any religion are the reverse side of the communist coin. Each looks to accepted (by them) written authority when making a decision. Neither the Communist Manifesto nor the words of Mao and Lenin, however interpreted, should guide public policy. Nor should the writings in the Bible.
I make one exception to the latter statement – if the politicians guiding principle is "love thy neighbour as thyself", no one can complain.
In the excellent Dissident Voice, John Chuckman offers the scariest thought of all: "All Bush, All the Time, For the Rest of Your Life". Here's the idea: kill the 22nd Amendment, put in place to stop the people from getting what they might have wanted (more FDR), and keep BushCo running.
It has my full support, simply because I believe America needs a belly full of Bush before the world can expect any relief from the country's lunatic course. I know through long experience that what happens to the rest of the world carries little weight with most Americans. Since 9/11, America has been turning itself into a gated community, bristling with ferocious weapons, vis-à-vis the rest of the world, and the truth is we don't hear much outrage about it from America herself.It's an excellent piece, and sure to offend those who still love the good ole USA, and those who still believe the Democrats are going to save it.
Americans are stubborn people, convinced of the virtue of whatever they do - even today you'd be hard put to convince many that cremating, poisoning, and blowing apart three million Vietnamese was anything other than heroic self-sacrifice in the name of freedom - so it takes a long time to alter course in America. Steering one of those gigantic super-tankers where you have to anticipate your turn miles ahead is almost child's play by comparison.
Lies have always been used to promote wars, and America's wars, despite the nation's ongoing flirtation with democracy, have been absolutely no different in character to those of despots over the centuries. We could say that it will be the test of democratic maturity when the American people are consulted and told honestly why they are being asked to start a war, but that seems unlikely to happen in our lifetime.
. . .
So I don't understand why any Americans are surprised at Bush's shameless lies. He's almost turned lying into a form of stand-up comedy. As soon as one lie's usefulness is ended, he smirkingly substitutes another, without pausing to consider any need for continuity between the two. It is hilarious to watch the leader of a great nation doing this, at least so long as you are not one of his victims.
The real puzzle is why Americans keep buying tickets to his act...
As much as I agree with Chuckman, I also sigh with sadness when I read this: "the truth is we don't hear much outrage about it from America herself". Are our dissenting voices not being heard?