Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

So much for the Death of the Religious Right?


Much has been made this campaign season of what some pundits call "the death of the religious right." Here's how the story is goes: a) Conservative Christians embrace only those who sing their tunes; b) Donald Trump really doesn't sing their tunes (or if he does, he can't hold a tune); c) Christian conservatives love Donald Trump. 

That syllogism makes no sense. Something doesn't hold. Lots of people who love to speculate on such things claim that "the Christian right" has, like lousy salt, simply lost its savor. In power politics, they're dead. As Sarah Posner said last month in the NY Times
For a constituency that has made conservative religious values, sexual purity and Bible-driven policy the cornerstone of its politics, Mr. Trump — the twice-divorced, foul-mouthed businessman who praised Planned Parenthood’s health services and nonchalantly gave Caitlyn Jenner permission to use the women’s room in Trump Tower — seems an odd choice.
Odd, and perhaps fatal--but not to Trump, who has now notched the Republican nomination, but fatal to the CCs or RR, or so the argument goes. What Ms. Posner didn't list among the sins attributed to Mr. Trump is his outrageous claim that he's never asked forgiveness for anything from anybody. Apparently, he is without sin, which makes the Apostle Paul a liar, but what the heck? When the political opposition is a handmaiden from hell named Hillary, The Donald must be the will of the Lord.

Me? I'd happily attend the funeral of the CCs. Their literalist view of holy writ makes the Bible some kind of rule book, which it is--and isn't and never will be. Try this on for size: "Thou shalt not kill." True for all time? Well, sort of; but surely that doesn't mean I can't kill the goon who comes into my house by unloading the .44 I keep under my pillow. "Stand Your Ground"--now there's really righteous legislation, say the really red-blooded CCs. Besides, you can't not agree with Trump on ISIS, right? What we ought to do in the Middle East is bomb the hell out of 'em. True believers rise to applaud.

The Religious Right has inflicted nearly fatal blows on people who once considered themselves "Reformed." Their simplistic answers, their fear-mongering, their self-righteous bigotry, and their all-around inflexibility create walls higher than anything Trump's foul dreams design. They know nothing about inclusion or compromise; diversity and pluralism are almost Satanic. Grace is amazing to sing about, but if you want a definition, only theirs will do.

Well, I got news. CCs not dead, but alive and well in northwest Iowa, where a 23-year old kid who doesn't even have a profession, a true-blue RR who's only lived here four years just won the Republican primary for this area's state rep. Steve King, of "calves like muskmelons" fame won overwhelmingly once again on Tuesday, but he took with him a kid named Skyler Wheeler, who had, among his many CC endorsements, a preacher who sounds for all the world like a theonomist, someone given to believe America should look to Deuteronomy for our law. 

And Wheeler won. Here. 

Maybe somewhere in the U.S. of A., the RRs are giving up the ghost. The marriage between CCs and the Republican party may well be in jeopardy elsewhere; Trump may well break it up as he's done to two of his own. 

But here in northwest Iowa, there'll be no funeral because the CCs won, big-time, when Skyler Wheeler took it to candidates his followers tarred and feather by calling them, of all things, (excuse the language please) "moderates." Can you imagine?--a moderate representing Sioux County? Down went a professor of political science and a small-town mayor, both twice Wheeler's age, both Siouxlanders, both undeniably conservative, just not righteous enough. 

Elsewhere, the CCs are dying. Maybe. But here, RRs rule. 

On to Des Moines. Make America great again.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing, Skyler Vander Wheelersma did not even have to change his name... if he lived in Oostburg he might have had to consider it... By the way, I think we can assume you are not a member of the "Never Hillary" crowd... Right?

Dan Knauss said...

Take note that Wheeler won every district except the central districts of his opponents, which were the only districts they won. Yet Wheeler took only 45% of the vote and would have lost had there been sufficient humility or party discipline not to split the vote between rival Dutch enclaves, thereby guaranteeing his victory. Note too how Wheeler did best in Hawarden, where King did worst, which is probably the least Dutch and most Hispanic district. The former insiders are now on the outside, out of control, and since they did not even attempt to learn to speak to a countywide, diverse audience the lessons to draw are clear. Absent a unifying message other than pro-gun and anti-abortion, which come with the only meaningful get-out-the-vote and support networks, you do not have a chance. Undoubtedly the "no enemies on the right" view of CC's has also enabled Reconstructionist types (and worse) enormously over the decades. It won't change without decades of toil.