The morning after

9 11 2012

So I don’t know if anyone noticed, but we had this election?

Words cannot fully describe my relief, not only at having this particular episode behind us, but even more at how it came out.  The Tea Party will never be repudiated fully enough for my satisfaction – that would involve public humiliation and tons of rotting fruit – but this election delivered some deliciously solid smackdowns.  And I plan on basking in the afterglow for some time.  Here in Illinois, Tammy Duckworth defeated Ball-of-Tea-Party-Rage Joe Walsh; I also have a Democratic congressman for the first time in something like 40 years in this district.

And of course there is some post-election activity on Facebook.  Part of me thinks that if I were any kind of a good person, I’d let this stuff slide on by.  And then the part of me that cares about things reminds that first part that we let things slide on by for a good long time, and it led to nothing but tears.  So instead of taking that little post-election respite, I’m still in the thick of it.

The one that will never cease to amaze, depress, and infuriate me is the attitude of conservative Christians.  I have reached the point you reach as a parent with a whining, overtired child – okay, that’s enough.  You need to go take a nap and pull yourself together.  Or as my mother used to tell me: you have fifteen minutes to go into your room and change your attitude.

I don’t know when I’ve ever seen a more willfully obtuse group of people.  If Romney had won, they would, every one of them, be blasting out how this election was God’s will.  But since the election results didn’t agree with their will?  Then it can’t possibly be God’s will.  A couple of comments apply here… first, if the God you worship can have His (because their God is always male) will thwarted by people with ballots?  That’s a pretty damned sad excuse for a deity.  And second, Anne Lamott’s observation: “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Funny how these things work out.

I have seen laments of how we are no longer a Christian nation, how we have turned away from the Christian principles of our founding fathers.  And because we’ve turned away from Jesus, we’re also turning away from morality.  (Yeah, that might be where I cracked and decided to wade back in.)  I have had it with a church that wants government out of religion, but thinks that religion – specifically, their brand of conservative Christianity – should be all over government.  I have MORE than had it with anyone who thinks that their religion makes them more moral than another religion, or no religion at all.  Even if we were not a country in which Protestants are now a minority, there is no excuse for the continued privileging of Judeo-Christian theology.  I’m sure the one commenter I found thought of herself as being quite inclusive when she wrote “I don’t care if you use the Old or New Testament… we need to work together.”  That’s some diversity you’re showing there, all right.

My nephew is 18 and is carving out a place for himself as an atheist.  Because he’s 18, some of his opinions and postings are perhaps not as gracious as I would hope.  Nonetheless, I am with him 100% in his fight to express his beliefs, and to live free from religious beliefs that make no sense to him.  I believe in a creator who loves all of her creatures, and that includes the ones blissfully unaware of her presence; those who marvel at her power, beauty, and humor; and even (perhaps especially) those who doubt or deny her.

The time is over – is, in fact, LONG past – for one half of the two-party system in this country to be controlled by the religious right.  Rachel Maddow delivered the most perfect summary of this that I am ever going to see. Part of it has been transcribed into a piece that is all over the internet now as a rebuke to the ignorant-by-choice Tea Party.  But the more important part of the commentary comes in the second half, with her heartfelt plea for everyone, in both parties, to stop arguing over the stuff that actually IS well established (evolution, global warming) and instead spend time on the very real problems that our country faces.  The whole idea of having different political parties is to throw different, competing solutions to these problems out there, so that voters can see those solutions, talk about them, and then decide the path that makes the most sense.

In spite of the inflamed rhetoric of the last several months, in spite of the ugly commentary I’ve seen on nearly every article I’ve read (pro tip: do NOT read comments, ever) I do believe that most people in this country want many of the same things… we want to work, to stay healthy, to raise our children to productive and compassionate adulthood.  We cannot find that common ground as long as the religious right – or the Tea Party, or the family values crowd, or any of their assorted cronies – sets the topic and tone of the discussion.

If you actually believe that this country is going to hell in a flaming handbasket, then by all means I encourage you to hide in your houses, and cower in the fear provided by your imperfect and inadequate faith.  That at least will get you out of the way.  For those of us who actually do believe in this country, in the basic goodness and humanity of the people with whom we share a country and a society: Forward.

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One response

9 11 2012
jameskeeneyhill

Bravo! Well said…

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