Sunday, August 14, 2011

Extremism running and ruining our culture

This has been quite a week. First, the USA markets START their long awaited correction to much panic and speculation of where will this all end. Then the Republican "straw poll" in Iowa comes out with the Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann in the lead of at least Iowa Republican constituents. It would seem the extreme liberalism of Obama and company could conceivable be replaced by the extreme conservatism of Michelle Bachmann and her NEW religious right.

The only good news that came out of the straw pole for me was that Ron Paul came in a strong 2nd (27% to her 28%)...which by the way seems to glean little press as usual. It is amazing to me how media pundits latch on to the likes of Michelle Bachmann, but remain almost mum on Ron Paul whose many years in Congress and consistent viewpoints without waffling are almost as rare as Dinosaurs are today. He is the only truly experienced federal government leader running under the banner of Republican. Based on his differences with many core platform positions of the Republicans, I continue to find him unfortunately nonviable to win the Republican nomination...and I must assume he remains in that party only as an agent/voice for change and moderation of their errant extremism on many topics.

Let me state for the record that I understand the popularity of Bachmann and her appeal to Christian fundamentalists. The "Anti Obamas" are looking for the opposite matrix to Liberalism, no matter whether they make sense or not. As seems to be part of human mass consciousness, extreme positions are always more interesting and digestible than RATIONAL ones. We seem to be continually more pressured in this world to jump in one box of beliefs or political agendas or another. If people can`t clearly label or define you in societal terms, you have little chance of being heard or understood in the discourse. That is the position I unfortunately (or fortunately?) find myself in. I really don`t show up on the radar screen of any "norm" when it comes to political debate...unless someone wants a TRUE independent viewpoint of what I think is going on...and most people don`t. They only want viewpoints that support their liberal or conservative presuppositions...many of which on both sides are errant in relevance and reason.

So...will Americans run to the opposite extremes this next election towards ultra conservative views as held by Ms Bachmann? While I admit I am just now getting familiar with her platform and have never met are come of her reported key viewpoints that give me pause on supporting her or the Republican platform if they go this direction (many taken from THIS article about her Iowa showing):

Michelle seems to prefer the religious totalitarianism of the "Dark Ages" to the Renaissance and "Age of Enlightenment". This says to me that she thinks we should go back to blind Papal authority and "allegiance to the King", versus reason and educated self opinions. I am quite sure she would like to edict Christianity as the official religion of our country. This is of course patently unconstitutional in my view.

She and her husband consider the late Francis Schaeffer, a protestant leader who died in 1984, to be a great "philosopher" that they base many of their views upon. I`m sorry, but theologians are rarely philosophers. Philosophy is SCIENCE. Theology is FAITH based...and in this case "fundamental". I have read Francis Schaeffer and I think he would turn over in his grave to hear he lived for a philosophy versus for his "faith".

While she calls herself a "lawyer" (yep, just what government needs...ANOTHER lawyer), her degree came from the O.W. Coburn School of Law; Michele was a member of its inaugural class in 1979. "Originally a division of Oral Roberts University, this august academy, dedicated to the teaching of “the law from a biblical worldview,” has gone through no fewer than three names — including the Christian Broadcasting Network School of Law." While I have oft been critical of President Obama, at least his law degree came from Harvard. Credentials?

She continually talks about having "heard Gods voice" and justifying even her most irrational positions based on "God told me so". I think most Americans would feel very insecure with the most powerful leader of the free world being able to base her views and judgements on the whims of her "ear to God". She is obviously anti-gay, anti immigrant, and has had very little exposure in her life to minorities or other religions. How is she going to be qualified to represent ALL Americans in this great land of diversity?

Let me say again, I understand why millions of Americans would be tempted to support and be intrigued by this Christian, white middle class rooted, Sarah Palinesque creature of political imagery. We unfortunately still live in a very segregated republic where our 50 states tend to be very different from each other when it comes to racial and economic stature. It is very difficult to find a leader in this day and age who can appeal to the broad base of diverse Americans. Yet, I am convinced that it is going to take someone of a much more inclusive and diverse background than Ms Bachmann to sincerely represent the interests of the broadest base of American ideals.

And once again, my greatest perplexity lies with the Republican party which seems so ineffectual in finding a true, broad based leader to lay out a plan for our country that really solves problems versus simply white washing the truth with broad strokes of religious or political fundamentalism. God help us if this is our best option for curing America`s many long term ills.

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