I came across this article today; its subject had been occupying my mind for weeks: the religious fundamentalist nature of current politics. Why wasn't anyone writing about this? All those supposed academics out there? And, LO! here's someone at Alternet doing just that. It's the most sensible analysis I've read anywhere on how and why we got to Trump in the White House, and what if anything can be done about it, and it's really, really good. And it's the truth, like it or not.
I studied comparative religions in college, particularly the tenets shared by fundamentalist factions of each of the three major world religions. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. All three fundamentalist factions have exactly the same beliefs about themselves and to which their fundamentalist contingent is loyal. If you want to understand why we really ARE two countries, and what should be done about that, if anything, read this article (click here.)
Here's the author's summation, but do read the whole thing as the writer knows from whence he writes having grown up in the very communities he's writing about. Progressives should stop wringing their hands and get on with the business of building a moral platform that means something to people, that expresses what they actually believe and what they intend to do about the problems we face.
"Here are the honest truths that rural Christian white Americans don’t want to accept; until they accept these truths, nothing is going to change:
- Their economic situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to the top in U.S. history.
- Immigrants haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and food prices would soar.
- Immigrants are not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. The almost exclusively white business owners are responsible, because they care more about their shareholders (who are also mostly white) than about American workers.
- No one is coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama administration is having better background checks.
- Gay people getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white god they want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, have a gay pastor or accept gays for membership.
- Women having access to birth control doesn’t affect their lives either, especially women they complain about being teenage single mothers.
- Blacks are not “lazy moochers living off their hard-earned tax dollars” any more than many of their fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy or outsourcing overseas belong to all races.
- They get a tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for them. From the roads and utility grids they use to farm subsidies, crop insurance and commodities protections, they benefit greatly from government assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be considerably worse.
- They get the largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
- They complain about globalization, yet line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple products. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes and hunting equipment. They don’t think twice about driving trucks whose engines were made in Canada, tires made in Japan, radios made in Korea, and computer parts made in Malaysia.
- They use illicit drugs as much as any other group. But when other people do it is a “moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it, it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.
- When jobs dry up for whatever reason, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places like Flint for staying in failing towns.
- They are quick to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers,” but don’t think twice about cashing their welfare checks every month.
- They complain about coastal liberals, but taxes from California and New York cover their farm subsidies, help maintain their highways and keep the hospitals in their sparsely populated rural areas open for business.
- They complain about “the little man being run out of business,” and then turn around and shop at big-box stores.
- They make sure outsiders are not welcome, deny businesses permits to build, then complain about businesses, plants opening up in less rural areas.
- Government has not done enough to help them in many cases, but their local and state governments are almost completely Republican and so are their representatives and senators. Instead of holding them accountable, they vote them into office over and over and over again.
- All the economic policies and ideas that could help rural America belong to the Democratic Party: raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, spending on infrastructure, renewable energy growth, slowing down the damage done by climate change, and healthcare reform. All of these and more would really help a lot of rural white Americans.