Saturday, September 26, 2015

Political Reality

My P.S. suggesting to Bernie Sanders and any other liberal politician that when they address a large group consisting of, mostly, those who take The Bible very seriously, that it might help them to communicate and persuade to use The Bible in addressing them got the typical "secular" objections. All of which are ill-conceived, ill-considered, entirely unnecessary and entirely counter-productive.

1.  No, there is no requirement in The Constitution for a politician to avoid making religious arguments.  The separation of church and state is a requirement of the actual process of governance and the administration of those processes.   Furthermore, the separation of church and state is there to serve The People as a whole, since there is not one church which The People agree on.  Separation of church and state is there to serve the interests of The People, the minorities who have a right to freedom of religion and non-discrimination and the majority who have that same right but not in greater measure than the minorities do.  And we all have a right to domestic peace of the kind bias in any regard by the government, not merely in the matter of religion, tends to shatter.   The separation of church and state is not there exclusively for the convenience and edification of atheists, agnostics and other non-believers.   They, also, have no more right to the benefits of separation of church and state than Catholics or Southern-Baptists or members of any other large church do.

2.  The "no religious test to hold office" or any other mentions of religion in The Constitution apply exclusively to members of and employees of the government in their official duties, it has never and could never be applied to or enforced as a law governing the choices of voters.

Voters can make any test of religion on any candidate or any ballot measure they want to, no one can stop them from doing that, singly or in any number.  Those same voters are who politicians have to have vote for them or they aren't politicians for long.  And, let me break this to you, no one has ever disqualified any politician from holding office because they made appeals to voters on the basis of their religious beliefs and even their feelings or prejudices.   If that were the case the Republican-fundamentalist coalition that has held power for much of the past fifty years would never have happened, and, let me point this out to you, the previous period of Democratic domination would not have happened, either.   It was when Democrats, in the wake of such things as the school prayer decision of the Supreme Court and the coercion of anti-religious figures in the media became allergic to appealing to voters on the basis of religious belief that Democrats stopped winning elections.

Perhaps even more important, in many ways, the left, in the period when the internal competition to such groups as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and The REVEREND Martin Luther King jr.  and even MINISTER Malcolm X asserted themselves and made so much of the left allergic to religious arguments, the left failed and has failed, consistently, in the same period.  I know you've heard me say it before, but the history of full equality for LGBT people in my state is a good example.  It was only when a coalition of liberal religious organizations got on board with secular proponents of full equality, including the right to marry, that The People, by majority vote, voted to include full equality in the law of my state.   That is not a mere coincidence, it is evidence that only when an appeal is made to the religious dogma of equal justice that such positions have the persuasive power to gain the consent of a decisive majority of voters.

The corporate, Republican right has the persuasive power of self-interest, liberals have the persuasive power that equal justice is commanded by God.  The right didn't give up its strength, liberals gave up theirs.  The results are the past fifty years of decline and defeat for liberals and the gradual, progressive destruction of the entire range of progress made since the adoption of the original document by those secular aristocrats whose disregard for equal justice allowed them to count people as property and, for the benefit of their owners, counted them as 3/5th of a person.

I will never stop repeating these points as long as the nonsense that has become the current and popular recipe for continued liberal defeat is the flavor of the day among liberals and those who are more wedded to that taste than they are to winning elections and changing laws for the better.  If Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic politician doesn't understand these points and change their campaign strategy to face the realities of them, they will join the ranks of those who lost and became failed politicians.   We might have some romantic regard for them for "fighting the good fight", a description I'd disagree with because in politics "the good fight" is the fight that wins the election and changes things.  I'd rather be romantic about those who succeeded than those who failed because they were unrealistic.

You don't have to like it but the United States is a majority Christian country and it will be for the rest of your lives, certainly for the rest of mine.  It is those Christians you despise who voted in the people who adopted any of the laws you like, all of the Constitutional provisions you like and who appointed all of the judges and justices whose interpretation of those you like, as well as those which you don't like.  You can choose to appeal to the Christians who produce the results you like or you can refuse to do that and you'll, then, get those Christians who produce the results you don't like.  That is the political reality we live in.  That, kids, is as real as the friggin' Higgs boson.  Realism is facing that and using it.  Its exigencies even apply to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and anyone else who is asking The People to give them a majority of the votes so they can hold office.  That's the only way it happens for liberals, that's the only way liberalism happens.


  1. The Mormon Church issued a statement this week cautioning members that this weekend’s rare lunar eclipse and supermoon double-occurrence does not mean the apocalypse is nigh. The Associated Press reports that Sunday night’s “blood moon,” along with recent natural disasters and political unrest “have led to a rise in sales at emergency-preparedness retailers.” Combined with a prominent Mormon author’s apocalyptic statements, a small number of Mormons have begun fearing the end times. In its statement, the Mormon Church urged followers to “avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events.”

    The solution is obvious, Sparky. We liberals need to reach out to these idiots.

    1. You seem to think there's something wrong with them telling people who might believe otherwise that those banal astronomical events are harmless.

      If Mormons could be convinced to vote for Bernie Sanders and he won the presidency with their support I can think of no liberal reason to not welcome that support. If he or any liberal Democrat could win without the ballot box poison of conceited snobs who love to insult other people so they can feel superior to them, I don't see any lose in that equation.

  2. The simple point about Sanders using the Bible at what is essentially a Bible college, is to use the language of the people you are speaking to.

    I don't expect Sanders to become a Biblical scholar or exegete or even a fundamentalist preacher; but it wouldn't hurt him to use the vocabulary of the crowd he is addressing. Frankly, if he can't do that, his appeal won't extend beyond New Hampshire, neighbor to Vermont.

    1. In regard to the Sim-plistic comment from the Sim-ple minded, I think of Mo Udall, who I supported for the nomination in 1976 had used some of the rhetoric that Jimmy Carter used in that race, he would have stood a stronger chance of winning the election. As it is, all three of the Democrats who have won the presidency in that period benefitted from Republican crimes and disasters in the previous administration but I think Jimmy Carter is the only one who will retain any kind of a reputation for liberalism, and largely for the reasons I posted.

      I think you're right about Sanders' ability to get the nomination not extending past New Hampshire if he sticks to the line he's been using. It might not even seal the deal for him right across the border from where I live.