Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why I am Not a Republican

Did I support all those things by being a Democrat? As if being a Republican would have saved me from supporting people and positions that are contrary to the Gospel?

C. S. Lewis was right. Any political affiliation by a Christian involves compromise. Political parties are coalitions of various interests, some of which are better than others. I don't like the Democrat's abortion rhetoric which makes abortion out to be a good thing, which it most certainly is not. I hate political correctness, and the "protection" of the LGBT community from anyone who might think there is a moral issue there. There is some deification of science from the Democrats that bothers me. I don't like the Obama administration's failure to protect Christians for persecution around the world. But I completely reject the demonization narrative that I hear from so many conservatives. I do think that they are overly devoted to social justice for "oppressed" groups who can make large contributions, as opposed to others who cannot.

But Republicans have been responsible for McCarthyite attacks on innocent citizens, (resisted, though by many in the party), dragged their feet on civil rights, have been funded largely by large corporations who use their influence to get government to help their corporation (leading to a bastardized form of capitalism), supported a war in Iraq based ostensibly on the grounds of WMDs, then showed they didn't really care about WMDs now that they were in Iraq, opposed Social Security and Medicare, which really do make life better for people, on the grounds that these programs somehow compromise capitalism.

And, they supported a system of health insurance that made it impossible for me and my family to get it, not because I didn't work for a living, but because I have spent my life, as an adjunct instructor, on part time contracts (often cobbling together my teaching with other jobs), and because I got a chronic illness at the age of 23. This system of medical insurance, had it remained in place, would he rendered it impossible for me to get desperately needed surgery to keep me from getting cancer. The argument has been that it was wrong on principle to compromise capitalism by insuring that people like me could get health insurance. Only because of Obamacare was I insured during my car accident of 2014, and now for the surgery I had this past March.

Now, being unable to afford the health care I needed might have been thought of as about the same as my not being able to afford a Mercedes Benz, but I find this wildly implausible. Why does the government tax everyone to protect me from bombs, but not from cancer?

Now you might say that I am just thinking about myself here, but if you can show me that the country would be a better place on a system in which I am kept out of the health insurance market, I am willing to listen. But if the argument is that the capitalist system distributes wealth and income with some justice, and the government interference such as we find in Obamacare is an unjust distribution that amounts to theft by taxation, then I find that conclusion totally unbelievable. And I find particularly disgusting the pretense that the health care bill that has passed the House and will die a merciful death in the Senate is a replacement for Obamacare. Straight repeal would have at least been honest.

Republican leaders could have withdrawn their support from Trump and supported a third party candidate that reflected real conservatism. They didn't. Yes, the result would have put Hillary in the White House for four more years, but at least they would have spared the country from having to deal with someone who doesn't understand the difference between a dictator and a democratic leader, who wants to keep up all his businesses, who takes taxpayer funded trips to his own resort hotel in Florida, so the taxpayers pay and Trump corporations benefit, who puts in a national security adviser who is compromised by the Russians and takes their time firing him, who embarrasses the country he leads every time he goes one Twitter, and who praises as virtue every single one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hillary would have to be the devil herself to be the worse of two evils here, but there is no evidence outside the fevered imagination of Republicans to suggest that she is anything of the sort.


Starhopper said...

I would love to join a political party that was passionate about protecting the environment, national parks, and whatever wilderness still exists. A party that puts the well being of the 99% ahead of the 1%. That defends life at all stages, from conception to natural death. A party that works to expand the electorate, to make it easier for more people to vote rather than harder. A party that prefers "soft" power overseas to "hard" power. A party that considers quality education to be one of the most important endeavors in a healthy society. A party that thinks a child of a poor family deserves to have the same access to health care, education, and job prospects as a child in a wealthy family. I would love to join a party that thinks less guns in America is better than more. A party that believes incarceration is not the solution to every social problem. One that will push for a radical renewal of our national infrastructure (highways, bridges, airports, water supply, electrical grid, etc.) A party that encourages Americans to dream great dreams and to push the envelope. A party that realizes there's no need to "make America great again" but rather to make an already great America greater.

Is there such a party out there? I'd love to join it!

Kevin said...

I've disengaged from politics as much as possible. To associate with either feels nasty.

John B. Moore said...

Mortal, it sounds like the abortion issue is the only thing stopping you from being a Democrat. As Victor says, political involvement requires compromise. The Democrats support every issue you mentioned except abortion. So what are you going to do?

The odd thing is that Trump won't do anything to stop abortion. So it's not a question of weighing the abortion issue against all the other issues. It's just a question of making progress on some issues or none.

Victor Reppert said...

It gets worse. Trump said in 1999 he was totally pro-choice. If he says he is pro-life now, perhaps it is because he reflected on it further and rethought his position, or because the Republicans won't nominate a "totally pro-choice" candidate. I don't think Trump is capable of reflecting carefully on anything, so I opt for the latter option. But, Republicans will say, putting a "strict constructionist" on the Supreme Court constitutes doing something about abortion, so it doesn't really matter whether Trump's pro-life convictions are sincere or not. Oh, and being willing to defund Planned Parenthood. How many fetuses will that save, honestly?

Of course, strict constructionists like Gorsuch and Scalia are going to shoot down any campaign finance reform, which means we are going to have the best congress money can buy for the foreseeable future. Fetuses won't be declared persons, but corporations sure will.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

A men Doc,

Starhopper said...

political involvement requires compromise

No argument there. But there's still a difference between compromise and capitulation. I think the line needs to be drawn between "fixable" and irrevocable". Here's what I mean.

If you don't like the Affordable Care Act, then work to fix it - don't just scream "Repeal!" That's a textbook area for compromise (something sadly lacking on the Republican side right now).

But on the other hand, if you gut environmental regulations to allow strip mining in a national park, well... there's just no fixing that - ever. That's a case where the wrong decision is irrevocable, and a line needs to be drawn in the sand (or forest, or canyon, or whatever).

Edwardtbabinski said...

Vic, Our political views are nearer to each other than our philosophical views. Same with myself and apologist Randal Rauser. Nice to know that well educated Christian apologists such as yourself and Randal do not seem hell bent on being political apologists for the Republican party.

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, and you're about a hundred miles on politics from your old buddy Robert Price. Ever talk about politics with him?

Ruby said...

The Green party comes close, at least on paper? No?
Then we'll have to pull people together on exactly those principles perhaps, informally.

Perhaps the simplest way to put what you proposed is a non-hierarchical adherence to three simple principles:
Care for the Earth (it's our only home while we live).

Care for people (love your neighbor as yourself).

Invest the Surplus in the first two (share, tithe, don't be greedy, a good husbandman does not destroy the land...).
The culture of thought(not sure it's coherent enough to be called a philosophy but it certainly feels that way) behind those statements is neither religious nor political and so has become practical guide for operating in the world for people from many different religions and cultures.
Ruby Sheffer