Standing Up for Values Doesn’t Mean Abandoning all Logic, Reason and Common Sense

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp    

Now if only the Republican Party could latch onto that concept, they might be a viable political force instead of a continually running joke along with anyone who votes for them, but if the annual values voter summit is any indication, those days are still long ways off. Besides excluding popular, actually have a chance of winning the republican nomination come 2016 hopefuls Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, snubbing both potential candidates and voting pool attendees by not even inviting them, plus giving Marco Rubio too easy a pass when he said he had a family event to attend, highlights already coming in are a cross between Sunday sermon and a Saturday Night Live comedy sketch. Including Ted Cruz opening his comments rattling off stories about persons across the globe persecuted for their faith, persecuted for being Christians, when not making a joke about his facilitated government shutdown costing the country millions, when not making light of the very real threatening security breach at the Whitehouse. 13 minutes into his nearly 29 minute speech sharing a very touching story about his alcoholic parents coming to Christ, volunteering he and his mother lived in Calgary Canada at the time, only exacerbating peoples belief he may be actually from Canada therefore legally ineligible to become president of the United States, where his ambitions are obviously headed. A touching anecdote to be sure, not sure what it has to do with a gathering of politicians there to showcase themselves, yes to values voters, yes to people who vote their faith, but  that isn’t, should be the  singular criterion in coming to such a decision. And while expounding to us on the crisis in America that 76% don’t think their children will have a better life than they did, laying out nothing that will fix it except perhaps a Christian president, absent how they would be different than someone else with the right policies independent of religious affiliation. Intoning that to win they, assumedly political analysts, pundits, say republicans have to give up their values, when an audience member can be heard shouting why, he asks why indeed asserting values are who we are, why we’re here, values matter, faith matters. Other prominent conservative speakers were Glen Beck, Oliver North, Rand Paul and Sara Palin, Alan Robertson all selling the same swill to a rapt audience on how values alone can save America.

 Of course values are important, represent the backbone of who we are as individuals, as a society and heavily influence our choices personally, professionally and understandably who we elect to represent us in government; that being said, no one has told tea party republicans, republicans in general they have to abandon, throw away, toss aside their values to win. If anything they have been told by persons studying politics, political trends and via attitudes clearly held, articulated by the American people what they have to abandon is extremism; they have to be less unyielding, be willing to compromise not on values, solid right and wrong rather on things where a mutual agreement can be reached respecting faith, morals and also respecting those who have a different perspective. Because first and foremost, standing up for values doesn’t mean creating your own concepts and purporting them as fact to prove your point, manipulating faith/religion, morality to mean what you want it to mean in order to get your way, particularly the Judeo-Christian religion these minority politicians say the subscribe to; the message was pretty transparent, easy to understand, thou shalt not lie. Both problems republicans are guilty of when it comes to abortion; the conjuring up of facts, think Todd Akin, his comments on rape and a woman’s body being able to “shut that whole thing down” as reason for abortion never to be legal even in cases of rape or incest. Secondly it’s fine if your religion tells you abortion is murder, murder of an innocent life; there are plenty of other religious people following other faiths, non-religious people who probably agree with you, can be persuaded to see things your way. It is a whole different matter to further your argument to encompass contraceptives on the market for years, variations on the pill, IUDs and scream they too are equivalent to abortion if you use them; exactly what republicans did when the Affordable Care Act said employer offered, employee premium paid for insurance must cover all types of birth control. Medical truth is, the morning after pill does not induce an abortion in someone already pregnant only prevents pregnancy from taking place; still pro-life tea party members blinded by their brand of religion ran with that now saying any interference between egg and sperm, pill, IUD, any hindrance to conception even if egg and sperm never meet, cells that would have made a baby never divide, those cells never attach to the uterus, remains akin to an abortion, akin to murder forestalling what god designed, huh? Never revealed until recently are all the people taking birth control, the pill for a host of medical conditions where pregnancy and pregnancy prevention never enter into it; the larger populous finding that out took an outspoken law student making a stink to attend a congressional panel on women’s health bringing with her story after story showing medical ailments treated using birth control and the obstacles thrown in women’s way by religious institutions who think it’s still wrong for them to take it. Results from her speaking out on the conservative side was Rush Limbaugh calling her a slut, branding her so irresponsible, “having so much sex” she wanted the government to pay for her birth control, not what she testified to in the least. Sentiment picked up and exacerbated by once presidential candidate Mike Huckabee mocking the liberal, democrat, women’s rights groups’ statement conservatives want to be in their doctor offices, vaginas and bedrooms; countering in a rant on his Fox News program that he doesn’t want to be in their bedroom, but if something happens in that bedroom they don’t like, they want government to come in and clean up the mess, their interpretation of contraceptives covered under Obamacare. Manipulation and facts not in evidence much?

 Likewise adhering to your values, your interpretation of solid morality doesn’t mean hiding behind religious freedom to openly discriminate against women, minorities and people you don’t like, whether that’s the arbitrary enforcement of a public school dress code screened for modesty in North Carolina, altering yearbook photos without permission in Utah, wasting time better spent on a host of other issues regarding education in Florida seriously considering a dress code for parents when they drop off children, attend parent teacher conferences, what republicans, specifically tea party republicans, the majority of speakers at the values voter summit, did in response to Obamacare’s correction of decades  old discrimination against woman mandating  all employee health plans cover full access to reproductive services. Abortions and contraception no longer exempt from plans of religious institutions employing workers, saying the law was a violation of their religious liberty, as a way not to pay for something, more than a direct offense to their sensibilities. Mindsets mirrored, later found out when the Supreme Court heard constitutional arguments on state gay marriage bans, overturning the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage between one man and one woman rendering illegal same sex marriage added to already long ago outlawed polygamy, bigamy and polyandry.  Adjacent to thought processes on the costs of contraceptives in the Affordable Care Act, in a panic droves of same sex couples seeking marriage licenses would suddenly be entitled under the law to spousal benefits via social security, military benefits, death benefits, health insurance benefits via employers nationwide would now be given to once just cohabitating couples suddenly considered husband and husband or wife and wife, they enlisted the help of their religious base, prominent religious leaders to decry homosexuality from the rooftops. Chant Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, not the least bit concerned, embarrassed by the disgusting displays of entities a-la Westboro Baptist church holding signs about god hating gays and America outside military funerals, blaming a mother of two Midwest high school students murder, perpetrated thanks to an ex-boyfriend, on her recent lesbian lifestyle complete with protests at the woman’s vigil. Thus ignored civil unions giving nearly the same rights, not calling it marriage, enough to appease some, possible common law options affording a same sex partner the right to make medical, legal decisions for their incapacitated loved one; worse, an even greater denial of why gay individuals fight so hard to gain the rights they, religious minded persons in particular, take for granted. It isn’t merely so something categorized as sinful, against god, an abomination by the majority can become accepted practice; it is to end the systematic discrimination, harassment and death foisted on gays, lesbians based on sexual orientation, how this often spills over to transgender people, though feeling you were born in the wrong body, your outward anatomy doesn’t match the mental sense of self A- has a possible medical basis not simply psychological and B- isn’t the same thing as homosexuality. When you can’t get certain jobs because the people operating the workplace are religious and if they find out you’re gay will fire you, when faith believing renters won’t rent to a gay couple or someone who is openly gay, when you can’t take your significant other to a B&B without being blindsided by prejudice attempting to secure a reservation, when a shuttle bus driver thinks he has the right to demand you sit in the back of the bus because you are holding hands with your lover, date, partner of X years, when you can be left on the side of the road by a cabbie who found out you were gay from a little PDA in the backseat with someone, when you can’t find a vender to do your wedding cake in a state where same sex marriage is legal, can’t hire a photographer to do a set of pictures with you and your partner, whether it’s a wedding or not. When we have state congressional bodies trying to pass bills like Arizona’s SB1062 giving businesses the right to refuse service to people, not rooted in the no shoes, no shirt, no service motto, not rooted in dress codes for high end establishments, but primarily based on potential customers being openly gay, when you have the owner of Chick-fil-a thumping his bible in the middle of his restaurant decrying gay marriage seemingly without provocation, when you still, in the 21st century, have Mathew Sheppard, what could become Mathew Shepard situations playing out across the country, people killed, people beaten by “good Christian folks” for being gay; that is the catalyst behind recognizing gay marriage. We’ll never hear that as long as conservative politicians use god to shield them from reality.

Standing up for values doesn’t mean ignoring basic fact, clear evidence, obviously what republicans, conservatives have done on climate change; virtually sticking their fingers in their ears and going la, la, la, every time the issue is brought up, throwing up the distraction that climate change is yet to be proven conclusively manmade therefore it could natural, to that end we should wait and see before enacting sweeping policies that will cost the American people more money, impact American business and industry. Make no mistake by business and industry they mean the oil and gas business in the billions, perhaps trillions of dollars which they are heavily invested in. When that doesn’t work, they trot out religion and their singular debate, argument on how old the earth is claiming science got it wrong vs. the bible insinuating we can’t trust science especially on a topic like climate change; incidentally without any concrete proof of their theory, an unwillingness to subject their theory to scientific method, scientific scrutiny,having livable planet for future generations to reside on getting lost in the religion vs. science tug of war.  Next holding to your values doesn’t give you the right to occupy a position of authority, governmental decision making attempting to defund organizations like the National Science Foundation not for substantial ethics violations, ethically questionable projects, projects containing ethical quagmires hitherto undecided by ethics bodies, uncommented on by religious leaders, but because their research doesn’t align with your faith doctrine. Values doesn’t give you the right to sit on local governmental committees, boards, associations, pushing voting to scale back, forget sex ed., but anatomy and philology, biology taught to students owing to it conflicting with your band of Christianity. Conversely accumulation of some practical facts would illuminate a clear path forward bible in hand; facts supporting abortion needs to remain a legal and intact necessary evil lest we become Ireland virtually killing a woman when her non-viable baby continued to have a heartbeat; rather than performing an “abortion,” let her to die of blood poisoning. Right here at home accumulation of practical fact would prevent Texas from categorizing the removal of an ectopic pregnancy as an abortion, would ignite our compassion for the heart wrenching decisions mothers with severely deformed, non-viable babies face; just watch the above videos, hear Texas’ own Wendy Davis tell her strikingly compelling story. Still people like Rick Perry are flummoxed as to why Ms. Davis is so passionate, has so many supporters. Accumulation of practical fact tells you how illogical it is to criminalize abortion, after or simultaneously removing several forms of birth control from the market, clamping down on sex ed., biology taught to teens, young adults for the very purpose of them making informed, responsible, safe choices, then cut welfare because the poor are unintelligent, lazy and need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, leaving the children their policies helped create in the dust. Unmentioned by any conservative, rarely discussed in general is influence of religious doctrine woven into our social fabric’s contribution to deadbeat, absentee fathers across America; the idea disseminated to men if you didn’t marry, don’t choose to marry the child’s mother, divorce their mother you can’t contribute to your child’s life. If you are currently unemployed, unable to pay court ordered amounts of child support, you can’t be a positive force in your child’s life, shouldn’t so much as come see your children, be shamed if you do. Mothers encouraged to buy into this fallacy, contributing to it in causing custody exchange disputes, withhold their children until they see the child support, independent of how earnestly the other parent looks for work until the father, not wishing their child/children to be caught in a tug of war, backs off. Ironically one of the chief reasons atheists are against the 10 commandments in schools, in government buildings has to be religion continues to be a driving force behind destruction globally, even putting terror groups and religious extremists into their own little box for now, we see religion’s negative impact on the family, religion’s detrimental effect on homosexual/transgender people, religion’s hampering impact on science and knowledge, medicine.   

Neither does demonstrating your values, proving you live according to a set of values mean constantly throwing up red herrings, manufacturing instances supposedly showcasing people on the opposite side of your argument, your political opposition don’t have values, have the “wrong” values, nor does it mean making a fool of yourself, alerting people to how willfully uneducated you are in the name of values. Nevertheless their media machine Fox News raised hell over CBS rejecting a local ad featuring a girl reciting the pledge of allegiance, Sara Palin who went from quitting her job as governor to full time reality TV star and book writer couldn’t resist pseudo-tearfully extolling her respect for the military while mocking the president’s much publicized “latte salute” parodying respect to be given to him; audience laughing all the way. Highlighting the latter point, despite 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue being perhaps the most famous address in America as home of the Whitehouse, in a segment of downright ranting about president Obama and his, according to conservative, or at least Palin perspective, inability to tell the truth, she got it wrong saying truth was a rare commodity at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue; a place that apparently doesn’t exist, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue being the building site for a hotel. Now here is where her defenders chime in and remind us of various news show, late night comedy show street interviews where citizens don’t recognize known famous faces in Hollywood, politics, world leaders, can’t answer basic common knowledge questions; others will point to “the failing American public education system” and just how many students in junior high, high school who couldn’t tell you where the Whitehouse is located, the significance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However the distinct difference beyond Sara Palin being educated at the height of America’s education success and it obviously producing little effect is, none of those people are employed in politics, students possess no goals in politics compared to Palin who can’t stay out of it. Just when we thought Rand Paul might do something meaningful and lasting, actually for the public good with his political career partnering beside New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker to reform national drug laws letting more people rebuild their lives after conviction of a non-violent drug crime, he appears at the values voter summit not selling their joint proposal incorporating statistics, anecdotes into a message fit for his audience of “he who is without sin cast the first stone,” Jesus’ words to the adulteress woman “go and sin no more,” rather yammering about flag burning. No, not flag burning by Americans unappreciative of the freedoms they have, but flag burning done overseas, reaching a crescendo establishing a soon to echoed phrase describing counties that burn our flag concurrently chanting death to America, touting congress’ response to send more money to them; “I say not one more cent to countries burring our flag.” Unclear from his comments is if he meant the resources sent to rebuild Iraq whom we bombed back to the Stone Age during the removal of a dictator and search for elusive WMD, resources used in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, give people the freedom to shave their beard, remove their veil, listen to a radio if they choose and aid in building democracy post hunting for Osama Bin Laden, perhaps he is referring to the humanitarian aid sent to Syria too late in may estimations as President Obama, congress, the public watched footage, watched evidence of genocide on the news too afraid to do anything because we are too war weary a country to care; yay for Christian values. Money, dollars, resources in the form of humanitarian aid directed at civilians, women, children, innocent non-combatants while warlords like ISIS burn our flag and chant death to America; people yes on camera seen burning our flag shouting their hatred for America, what we didn’t see beforehand, the threats by the dictator of the day to their family if they didn’t do so. Flag burners frustrated people whose stated reason for coming was liberation and now the most basic things don’t function; people saying yes you gave us democracy but what I really need is gas for my car, electricity for my home, restoration of the running water we had, the ability to go to and from work sands checkpoints, stoppages and outright blockades, burning the flag of the clueless and suddenly occupying force. But all that registers, the words flag burning get listeners on their feet. 

This supposed to pull our attention away from they have no new ideas, they have no plans to get America back to work, fix our crumbling infrastructure, handle threats to the homeland other than criticizing how the president does it; they despise and disparage Obamacare but don’t have a better, a counter plan of their own, their proposed budget plans would take us back to the 1950’s if not the 1850’s and grind function to a halt at a time when we need to be in top form, but Paul Ryan is still a darling hoping for round 2 in 2016.  They continually vote to cut unemployment benefits similar to welfare on the premise the unemployed are uneducated, lazy, unwilling to get a job independent of statistical realities on how long it takes the long term unemployed to find work, the reasons for the majority of long term unemployment, i.e. impact of the recession over a lapse in personal responsibility. Their idea of improving education is firstly defund the department of education then to allow school boards to whitewash and sugar coat darker parts of history, change curriculums to promote patriotism, support guest speakers like Rush Limbaugh talking to third graders about slavery; don’t school administrators think they should at least get someone African American? Their solution to America’s current and future energy needs isn’t new energy types, better utilization and actualization of what is available rather consists of drill baby drill, be that through wildlife preserves, hydrofracking literally causing people to be able to light their drinking water on fire in open air, linked to earthquakes, but soon we won’t remember any of those inconvenient truths because also on the chopping block the EPA. These are the people who walk out of meetings like the one on the grand bargain settling the budget for 10 years, shut down the government making us look like an international joke unable to pay our bills to further their own agenda, who repeatedly go on vacation, go into long congressional recesses leaving needed work unfinished, government workers without pay chiefly because they spent 99% of the allotted time blatantly refusing to discuss the issue or arguing beyond reason. Congressional members who, when they do deign to work, block bills on jobs, immigration, meaningful tax code reform, corporate tax reform in favor of heartbeat bills banning abortion the public has spoken they want to remain legal in order to handle situations republicans swear don’t exist; occupying the lion’s share of their time criticizing the president and throwing up nonsense issues most Americans don’t care about. And what were they doing 2 weeks ago, holding a values voter summit blasting contraception, abortion, flag burning done by warlord thugs who call us the great satan claiming we shouldn’t give aid to civilians caught in the middle. We all know why Alan Robertson was invited over patriarch Phil; apart from the obvious appearance clean shaven, casually well-dressed vs. a guy who can’t find a beard trimmer and looks like he stepped out of a swamp, probably because he did, he presents a more articulated version of values sans controversy drawing sound bites. Interesting for people who run on values, book appearances at summits like this one how many of them are consistently getting caught suspected of sexual harassment, in relationships, compromising situations with someone other than their wife, are involved in very public scandals, trials for everything from embezzlement, improper use of campaign funds, trading lavish gifts and other amenities for political favors, conservative favorite spokesperson Rush Limbaugh has a history of more than just shooting off his mouth, specifically, you guessed it, pill popping. Over and over it appears the people who ran on values to get to Washington throw them out the moment they arrive; the ones speaking the loudest on behalf of the values political set should be the ones above all keeping their mouths closed.      

Borrowing a quote from the values voter summit commentator featured in The Ed Show clip below the first paragraph, “if we really had a government based on Christianity we would take care of the poor and the sick and let private charity bale out Wall Street.” I could do one better; how about creating a banking system, restoring our banking system to one government doesn’t have to bail out to save the economy and people from utter financial ruin? How about we learn the lessons of the great depression, keeping the concrete safeguards from that era initially removed by whom? If we really had a government rooted in Christianity it would look less like the knuckle heads who want to make the 10 commandments the only law of the town, the state, the nation, forcing prayer down the throats of small children practicing other faiths, highlighting their difference so ‘the good Christian boys and girls’ can beat them up on the playground, on the way home, throwing people in jail for coveting their neighbor’s wife, baring false witness and a thousand other time wasters; instead it would herald meaningful job training so that people who truly wanted to move up, get ahead, acquire more skills could actually do so, to say nothing of being adequately trained to do the job in the first place. Under a Christian led model for country or business it would be unthinkable to exclude people for employment because they lost their previous job especially to a recession; unthinkable to judge candidates on anything other than their fitness to do the job, utterly silly and unprofessional to ask these behavioral interview questions. If we really endeavored to have a government rooted in Christianity the 1% wouldn’t be living off the desperation off the 99, the recession wouldn’t have happened because adjustable rate mortgages would not have been an option never mind bundled and sold on Wall Street, we would be in better economic shape because the deregulation of business done under republican watch again wouldn’t have taken place. Nevertheless had it happened anyway we would be in a better predicament because instead of arguing about how old the earth is, reminiscent of that old religious philosophical question how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, they would be passing jobs bills, immigration would already be settled with a sane policy allowing a clear path for people to enter this country legally and above board, a humane, fair decision made about illegals already here quietly living their lives, because the goal of getting into politics, holding a government job, influencing government decisions would be based in moral fiber not how much money you can make, how famous your face will be, using it to remove from the world your pet peeves.  Finally standing up for values doesn’t mean finding the most extreme end of a religious faith, your moral compass and never moving from that spot; this is what ISIS, ISIL, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram do simultaneously trying to take their followers, if they had their way the world, back to the middle ages. Or, quoting the reverend guest speaker on the Ed Show the 17th century, where republicans seem bound and determined to send America in terms of policy and social practice.  


About Natasha Sapp

Proclaiming an edgy voice of reason to America,while bringing back the common sense to social issues.

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