There’s an entire cottage industry of conservative pundits who are shocked, shocked, I tell you!, that America’s right wing is full of racists, hypocrites and all around horrible people.
One of these newly woke pundits is Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post whose entire job these days seems to be to sound exactly like a liberal during the Bush administration. She’s an enjoyable read (now) but it’s hard not to wince when she marvels at just how awful her side of the political spectrum has become, particularly the 81% of white conservative Evangelicals that voted for Trump:
Trump’s coterie of evangelical pastors is among the inaptly named “values voters” leadership that, having lost on gay marriage, on legalized abortion and on cultural decay, now takes refuge in nativism, xenophobia and white grievance. For these evangelical figureheads, “us vs. them” has replaced a message of brotherly love and Christian charity.
“Brotherly love and Christian charity?” From the religious right? This is where it becomes important to remember that Rubin is, possibly for the first time in decades, seeing them from the outside. There hasn’t been an ounce of charity or love in conservative Christianity in a very long time. Whereas now they spew their hatred at Muslims and Latinos, before they spewed it at homosexuals and “slutty” women.
The religious right was pleased as punch when AIDS was decimating drug addicts and the gay community. They enjoyed the suffering so much that Ronald Reagan and his holier-than-thou administration smugly sat back and let it turn into a worldwide epidemic in the name of Jesus. It was only when it worked its way into the donated blood supply and started killing children and non-drug using heterosexuals that they did anything. Millions died unnecessarily from all that “brotherly love and Christian charity.”
After that, conservative Christians did everything they could to increase unwanted pregnancies and the poverty and misery of single mothers by making abortion and contraceptives difficult to obtain. Protection of the unborn, the oft-stated point of this exercise in cruelty, didn’t extend to making pre- or postnatal care accessible, or to providing adequate food, medicine, shelter or education to the precious life the religious right so loudly championed, but it wasn’t supposed to. The whole scam was simply a way to make conservative Christians feel charitable and loving while giving them someone to hate and vote against.
Rubin goes on to lament how religion is just now being weaponized:
This phenomenon is deeply troubling for both religion and politics. If religion becomes a tool of the state, its influence as a force for morality, public virtue and social cohesion crumbles. It is a blow to civil society, the vital portion of our segment defined by voluntary association and civic institutions. And if politics is now a matter of religious faith, not unlike Europe in the age of religious wars, we surely will lose the distinctive character of America, its devotion to tolerance, its ability to resolve conflicts peacefully and its commitment to equal treatment under the law.
Well, yeah. That’s a pretty good description of what’s been happening to the right wing for the past 40 years or so since Republicans essentially erased the separation between Church and State for the sake of power. At an ever accelerating pace, the right has abandoned civil discourse, the rule of law, the foundational concepts of American democracy, consensual reality, everything but whatever “patriotism” is on a moment to moment basis; usually defined as “the opposite of whatever liberals support.”
The problem is that Trump is so bad at pretending to be a “good” Christian that the religious right, in their rush to take power, forgot that faking it is central to their pretension of moral superiority. Maybe they think their newfound power will be permanent so who cares if the charade is revealed? Maybe they think they can just cloak themselves in moral pretension again after Trump implodes. Maybe they think they can go on TV, shed giant crocodile tears and announce that Jesus has forgiven them so everyone get back to hating those damn queers!
Whatever they think, the truth is that what Rubin sees as a “sudden” turn towards hate and moral plasticity is simply the dog whistle changing to a pitch that everyone can hear clear as an air raid siren. The tune is exactly the same as it ever was but now there’s no denying the song the religious right has been dancing to all these years.
White conservative evangelicals are among the most profoundly cruel and hateful people America has ever produced. Their desperate need to cling to power has finally led them to stop pretending otherwise. If there’s a silver lining to Trump’s abomination of a presidency, it’s that those like him, small and petty people filled with hate, greed, bigotry, and ignorance, proudly announced who they were for all the world to see.
There’s no going back now.
There are 25 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 389 days left to the 2018 elections.
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