World’s Greatest Nation? Really?

Although many Americans are fond of calling the US the greatest nation on Earth, that hasn’t been true for many years. Certainly we have the world’s most powerful military, but that’s no criteria for greatness. Neither is the fact that we are still the world’s richest nation, despite the downgrade in our credit rating by Standard & Poors.

But greatest?

Does a great nation tolerate an ever-widening gap between billionaires and the working poor? Does a great nation leave tens of millions of its citizens without access to health care? Does a great nation allow millions of its children to be homeless? Does a great nation allow its education system to become third-rate? Does a great nation allow its infrastructure to decay and collapse merely to give another tax cut to large corporations and the wealthy?

Does a great nation use its financial and military power to prop up brutal dictatorships around the world? Does a great nation bankrupt the small farmers of neighboring countries by subsidizing corporate farms then demonize those farmers when they cross the border looking for jobs? Does a great nation demean those who labor to build things with their hands, to put out fires, or to teach its youth? Does a great nation begrudge a comfortable retirement to its elderly? Does a great nation allow large corporations and the wealthy to elect its politicians?

How can a nation be called great when it rewards greed and corruption? When its judicial system rules that corporations have rights superior to those of its citizens? When its financial institutions are allowed to grow so large they are immune to failure from their own mistakes? When its corporate lawyers are tasked with seeking out financial and legal loopholes that allow their clients to game the system? When its politicians are more concerned with scoring political points than the welfare of its voters? When its citizens are more interested in the antics of its celebrities than those of its government? When it allows its previous leader to run up a huge debt, and then blames the leader who inherited it?

We didn’t need Standard & Poors to tell us that our nation is on the verge of bankruptcy. When it comes to fairness, ideas and ethics, the US has been on the verge of bankruptcy for many years.

If Teapublicans Have Such Great Ideas, Why Do They Lie So Much?

Why do they generate and circulate a seemingly endless number of blatantly false and misleading chain emails that demean our President?
Why do they try to shout down everyone with whom they disagree?
Why do they parrot talking points instead of rationally debating issues?
Why do they protect the obscenely wealthy and attack the poor?
Why do they complain about immigration then hire illegal immigrants to do their landscaping or repair their roofs?
Why do they preach small government then pass laws giving government power to prevent gay marriages and lawful abortions?
Why do they fight to ban abortions while, at the same time, fighting against sex education and the contraceptive practices that would help avoid them?
Why do they revere police and firefighters for responding to 9/11 then try to take away their right to collective bargaining and health care?
Why do they praise those in the military and ignore veterans in need of help?
Why do they revere President Bush for adding $7 trillion to our national debt and crashing our economy then attack President Obama for adding $1.4 trillion in trying to fix it?
Why do they complain about the excesses of Wall Street bankers while trying to block laws that will regulate them?
Why do they slash budgets for education while complaining that the US is falling behind other nations?
Why do they complain about unemployment as they cut federal budgets to force even more layoffs?
Why do they complain about government health care while telling the government to keep its hands off their Medicare?
Why do they complain about passing health care reform after a 10-month debate then pass a bill to kill entitlements with virtually no debate.
Why do they talk about helping small businesses then undercut them with policies that only benefit large corporations?
Why do they refuse to eliminate tax loopholes for corporations that claim an offshore P.O. Box as their corporate headquarters?
Why do they subsidize big oil companies and refuse to subsidize renewable alternatives?
Why do they call themselves conservatives when they’re against conservation of our environment?
Why do they demand compromise then refuse to consider alternate ideas?

The Political Legacy Of The “Christian” Right.

Sometime around 1979, Jerry Falwell helped create the “Moral” Majority.  Despite the separation clause in the US Constitution, the group’s goal was to push a Christian agenda in US politics.  Although the organization was dissolved in the late 1980s, it was followed by Pat Robertson’s and Ralph E. Reed, Jr’s Christian Coalition in 1988.  

Capitalizing on the fight against abortion, the group’s political clout reached its zenith in the late 1990s during the Clinton administration and during George W. Bush’s successful campaign for president.  In Bush, the group had a president who gladly did its bidding.  Bush repaid the group with his federal funding of “faith-based” organizations and his denial of federal funding for contraception and abortion.

Since Bush left office the group has taken a backseat to Tea Party Republicans.  But it has left a substantial legacy which, in many ways, has become even more entrenched today. 

You can see that legacy in the religious zeal with which the Republican faithful have purged their ranks of political moderates, aka RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).  In this religious-based mentality, there is no place for compromise.  It’s a mentality in which everything is as black and white as good and evil.

Ironically, the “Christian” right perverts the very tenets of Christianity – those of understanding, forgiveness and help for the poor.  Instead, the leaders of the group have pushed an agenda of intolerance, hatred and even war.  I’ve heard these leaders pray for the death of Supreme Court Justices so Bush could annoint, I mean appoint, another right-wing conservative to the Court.  I’ve heard these leaders call for political assassinations of those with whom they disagree.  And I’ve heard these leaders justify wars against people of other faiths.

Unfortunately, these leaders were given a forum for their ideas through syndicated “Christian” radio.  Their zeal and anger have been parroted and amplified by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and most every host on Fox News Channel.  Now the “faithful” are demanding a crusade against government and those they consider non-believers such as Muslims, the poor, the elderly, immigrants, unions, teachers, firefighters and, of course, Democrats.