Damn the People, Full Speed Ahead!

What GOOD do political parties, Left or Right do today? For that matter what good have they EVER done? All parties from the beginning of politics seem to have existed for the sole purpose of taking political power from those who own it and those who have been assigned it and consolidating it into as few hands as possible.  Political parties allow a few to harness the power of many followers and apply pressure to the political process out of the sight and control of the very citizens whose power that party uses.  I fail to see that this is a good thing, especially in today’s interconnected world where everyone’s voice can carry equal weight.

Time and time again politicians will act and vote by the direction of their Party instead of their constituents. Simply put, under the present campaign finance system to be elected they HAVE to allow the party leaders to put a ring in their nose like a bull led to stud.  Parties and political donations are the rocks on which the ships of state have foundered all over the world, all through history.

Parties seem to be nothing more than a political expression of Tribalism.  A group of self interested people gather together a herd of citizens wishing for a leader and use them to not support, but subvert the political process in promotion of Me and Mine over Thee and Thine. The votes of Party politicians becomes not about following the collective will within a Constitutional framework but a zero-sum game of You-Win-I-Lose.

We see the result of this winner take all attitude in the willingness of too many politicians to give up their voters’ ideals when faced with a party issue.  This was demonstrated recently when 10 Republican Senators voted against an amendment to a bill (all the other Senators, including 30 Republicans voted Yes) that restricts the Federal government from contracting with a company that requires it’s employees to give up the right to sue or pursue criminal cases against other employees even in the case of rape and kidnapping. This amendment had been inspired by an actual case of the raping and kidnapping by Haliburton employees of another Haliburton contractee and the company’s subsequent refusal to allow civil or criminal proceedings (as per contract).

The 10 Senators felt that since the measure had been proposed by far-Left Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. that it had to be a “ploy” (it was) and so might damage the party. It is sad that it DID damage the Parry a bit simply BECAUSE the 10 feel for it and voted by Party and not common sense. But the saddest part by far is that the 10 Senators, after being beaten up by the press, and the Party, feel that THEY are the injured party due to the Democratic “slurs” against them for voting the Party Line. The quote that seems most representative of their attitude comes from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas:

“Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape —and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don’t think it’s a very constructive thing.”

In case you missed his point, the good Senator is upset that AFTER he and the other nine voted against the amendment Senator Franken used their pro-Party/pro-Haliburton vote to ridicule them for being of all things…party hacks!!! Senator Cornyn considers it to be dirty pool for Mr. Franken to have put him in the position of having to balance morals against The Party.  It is just not cricket, you know! That is how far the party system has taken us from reality! Unfortunately, this is hardly an isolated incident of partisanship.  Other examples abound from any and all parties be they past or present.

But, in this Digital Age for the first time, Humanity has the chance to apply constitutional democracy in a pure form. Let us abolish parties! They are nothing but a bad solution to the problems of pre-industrial communications. Let our politicians stand on their own platforms to campaign and by their voting record once elected, NOTHING ELSE! Let campaign donations of ALL SORTS be eliminated and instead, every candidate that qualifies for a given ballot receive the same “war chest”. Further, let no one be paid for their time working in a campaign other than contracted services such as catering, printing costs, air time or other non-creative, non-campaigning related services. In this new world direct campaign workers of all types would be solely volunteers!

Just imagine it Virginia! Politicians set apart from the influence of small groups of the self interested and forced to follow the consensus of all their constituents! Imagine politicians that have NO other forces influencing their votes than what their constituents feel should or should not be done within the limits of The Constitution. I don’t know about you Virginia, but that sends a shiver down MY leg! How about a change that actually gives us hope?

Limbaugh’s Unrighteous Hold on Christian Right

(HH here: this article saves me the time of writing it. All I have to add is “What he said…”)

From the Washington Post
By Robert Parham | March 11, 2009; 11:19 AM ET

Rush Limbaugh told what he thought was a joke to a cheering crowd at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists and politicians. In his rambling remarks televised on FOX News, Limbaugh said that when Larry King died, he went to heaven and was met at the gates by Saint Peter. King’s one question was: “Is Rush Limbaugh here?”
“‘No, he’s got a lot of time yet, Mr. King,'” said Limbaugh, pretending to be Peter.
“So Saint Peter begins the tour,” said Limbaugh. “Larry King sees the various places and it’s beyond anything we can imagine in terms of beauty. Finally, he gets to the biggest room of all, with this giant throne. And over the throne is a flashing beautiful angelic neon sign that says, ‘Rush Limbaugh.'”
The audience laughed.
Limbaugh said, “And Larry King looks at Saint Peter and says, ‘I thought you said he wasn’t here.’ He said, ‘He’s not, he’s not. This is God’s room. He just thinks he’s Rush Limbaugh,'” said Limbaugh.The crowd erupted with laughter, applause and hoots. Conservatives thought it was hilarious that God would envy the rival deity named Rush Limbaugh. Not a boo, not a hiss, not a grumble was heard from the crowd.

While CPAC was a secular event, it was an event sponsored, supported and attended by Christian Right organizations and leaders. The CPAC program listed as co-sponsors: Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council and Liberty University’s law school. Exhibitors included the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Council and Regent University’s Robertson School of Government. Focus on the Family held a reception for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

No doubt, a lot of conservative Christians were in the room. Days later, no Christian Right leader has objected to Limbaugh’s claim to be bigger than God, a claim similar to what John Lennon said in 1966.
When Lennon said, “We’re more popular than Jesus,” Bible-belt Christians roared with anger. They burned Beatles records, banned Beatles songs on the radio and boycotted Beatles concerts. They tolerated no rival claims to the messiah. When Limbaugh uttered a parallel claim, those who see Christianity under attack offered no response. No cry of cultural hostility toward religion was heard. No demand for an apology boomed from pulpits. No boycott was launched.
Why is that?
Why is it that the Christian Right reacted with such reverence to a man who, through thinly disguised humor, disclosed his prideful self-perception and espoused a worldview that counters the biblical witness? Are they afraid of Limbaugh? Are they afraid of his followers who pack their pews?

What explains the fact that Limbaugh can speak untruthfully, and yet he goes unchallenged by conservative Christians? He certainly spoke untruthfully at CPAC when he said that conservatives did not see other people with contempt. Yet he exhibited contempt in his comments about Senators Harry Reid and John Kerry.
When Limbaugh asserted that President Obama “portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night,” that he wants to destroy the United States and that he was fueling “class envy,” his untruthfulness went unchallenged. Limbaugh claimed, “We don’t hate anybody.” Yet he proceeded to speak hatefully about Obama, defending his statement that he hoped Obama failed, which was hardly endearing speech.
If truth telling isn’t a conservative value, what about unbridled greed? Is greed a Christian concern? Limbaugh defended greed. He defended the conspicuous consumption and the corporate mismanagement of Merrill Lynch’s former CEO John Thain as a way to defend capitalism.

Limbaugh asserted the primacy of excessive individualism. Again and again, he preached a radical individualism–the rights of the individual are transcendent. Never did he advocate sacrifice for another or urge his audience to avoid the pursuit of one’s rights for the well-being of others.

Limbaugh’s agenda had no room for the parable of the Good Samaritan, perhaps no longer a valued Christian narrative. Is Rush Limbaugh’s agenda in sync with the moral values and vision of conservative Christians?

Given the thunderous silence of Christian Right leaders about Limbaugh’s worldview, one wonders if talk radio’s man of excessive individualism and political extremism has replaced the biblical witness as a moral compass.

Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.