SENATOR PAUL RAND: VIRTUE STOPS AT THE FRONT DOOR, THANK YOU!

The character of a man is shown by how he handles crises, especially those of his own making and which involve questions of ethics. Senator Paul Rand, Tea Party stalwart and aspiring presidential candidate, has been found guilty of cheating—plagiarizing other people’s work for his own speeches. This Tea Party bully who likes to pick on people weaker than he—the poor, the uninsured, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed, the under-paid—was caught red-handed with his hands in other people’s writings. And what does Mr. Virtue have to say for himself? “I was weak and cheated”?—not on your life. Mr. Clean sullied himself all the more by lying, adding injury to injury, and then showed more of his stellar character by insulting those who caught him, adding insult to double-injury. And he wants to be president?

He reminds me of “Tricky Dick” Richard M Nixon, who could lie through his teeth with wonderful artistry, hence his sobriquet “Tricky Dick.”  Perhaps a new, more accurate christening is in order (and long over-due) for our junior senator: Paul (Forked-Tongue) Rand. It has two obvious benefits: truth-in- advertising, and a red light that warns us of his dislike of truth-telling. Now whenever he attacks the veracity of democrats and liberals in general and of President Obama in particular, we can refer it all to his penchant for not speaking truthfully—for speaking with “forked tongue.”

More largely considered, his habits of inveracity indict his comrades–in–arms as well. For they engage in “wild and dissolute” speech as a matter of course. How many times have they assaulted the President’s Christian faith (deeply-held at that) with scurrilous remarks about his being a secret Muslim, or calling him a socialist, or insinuating that he’s out to enslave Americans, taking away their liberties, et.al. lying remarks? The real question here is: Can Senator Paul Rand or any other Tea Party person speak the truth at all? Sadly—and dangerously—it would appear not. For them, ideology trumps honesty; ideology well-funded by the Koch brothers, whose love of truth is as strong as Paul Rand’s. The Koch brothers single aim is to get richer—how is of no concern. If (well-funded) lies do it through the agency of The Tea Party, then thanks be to Mephistopheles with his Mephitic gifts.

As Aristotle well said, “Birds of a feather flock together.” –Amen to that!

Len Sive Jr.

GOD-TALK: THE DIVINE TEA PARTY

God:  How are things down below? At your insistence, I gave you nine years of great power. Are you making life better for everyone?

Ted Cruz: Yes, Lord, and we’re having a ball, too. You wouldn’t believe those Democrats,  mealy-mouthed, weak-willed nothings…No wonder our country’s in trouble. Who cares about the little guy? Does the little guy help our great country? Does he start new businesses, develop real estate, invest in new products? No, he’s  just a sponge. Let him mop floors, that’s all he’s good for. It’s the richest 1% that matter, not the bottom 85%…And Obama, that non-US citizen…. Just between us, Lord, I hate that guy.

God: Now, Ted, you surely have read where I state very clearly that you are to love your neighbor.

Cruz: Well, to be honest, Lord, I haven’t actually read it personally. No offence, but  I just have more important things to read, books by von Hayek or von Mises, for example. “ Loving your neighbor”—No offence, Lord, but I just don’t see the point.  I mean, realistically Obama’s not my neighbor. And if he or his kind ever did move into my neighborhood, I and all my friends, we’d move right out—before the value of our real estate dropped. In fact, Lord, we in the Tea Party think that  the world would be a better, saner place if everyone just called a spade a spade. If you hate a guy, be a man and tell him exactly how you feel. That, Lord, is honest and manly. And if he takes umbrage and wants a fight, by all means, just take out your AK-47 and let him know who’ boss.

God: And what about my Ten Commandments? I spent a billion years working on them, trying to get them just right.

Cruz: I think, Lord, the different time zones up here must have  confused you; You mean  you spent 5,000 years, don’t you?—Listen, Lord, you’re a nice enough fellow, but things have to change. Your old way just doesn’t work anymore. So the Tea Party has voted to shut down heaven and hell unless you defund these silly Ten Commandments—and especially that ridiculous law, to love your neighbor as yourself. You must have had a little too much ambrosia to come up with that one, sir. Look, Lord, on a practical level, I really love myself; I just don’t see how I could love another that much. It just wouldn’t work. And those other commandments—“Thou shalt not steal”—are you kidding? How do you think politics works? Enforce that one and everything grinds to a halt. Effective politics is when you steal from the poor and give to the rich. It’s a good policy, too; been around a long time; well ratified by law and custom. Corporations, banks, insurance companies, investment firms…they all love it. Of course you never ever say that. No; you sound noble: “We need to lower the deficit, lighten the tax burden on the rich, the corporations, etc.”

God: But Ted, haven’t you read where I said, “What you do unto the least of these you do unto me.”

Ryan: Let me field that one, Ted. I may have heard it read in church once, I’m not sure. Never meant much to me, though. Listen, Lord: Has anyone told you that sometimes your language sounds too antiquated? I know; you’ve been around 5,000 years. Still…Listen, for a small retainer fee, I can help you spruce up your language. Anyway–Lord, as a pretty powerful personage yourself, you must know that power is where it’s at. It’s the same thing on earth. When, for example, you’re dealing with Democrats, immigrants, Obama, you’ve got to show them who’s boss. That’s why we voted to shut-down the government. We’ll talk only if they get down on their knees and beg…You just can’t treat these Democrats as equals. That’s one of the things we have got to change. Like our heroes who ran those big slave plantations, you’ve got to let them know who’s boss—keep them in their place.

God: And what about “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”? I spent ages working on that one.

Ryan: Now, Lord, how the hell did you ever come up with that one? That’s the dumbest one of all. You simply can’t get elected without lying about your opponent. It’s impossible. You have to wound them any way you can.  And the bigger the lie, the better. You know, Obama’s a Muslim, a socialist, not a citizen (Trump takes care of that one for us)—whatever you think will hurt your opponent the most. Now, Lord, about our shutting down of heaven and hell….

Len Sive

THE RIGHT WING, SIN, AND THE DEMISE OF AMERICA

David Brooks, a NY Times columnist, Right-Wing ideologue, and irrepressible apologist for big corporations and America’s plutocratic 1%, in an opinion reflecting on the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Az., called Obama’s speech “wonderful”, in part because “He didn’t try to explain the rampage that occurred there.” (As an inflamer of intolerance, prejudice, and hatred, Brooks must have taken great solace in that.) Brooks then goes on to reflect (among other things) on “civility.” “Speeches about civility,” he writes, “will be taken to heart most by those people whose good character renders them unnecessary. Meanwhile, those who are inclined to intellectual thuggery and partisan one-sidedness will temporarily resolve to do better but then slip back to old habits the next time their pride feels threatened…Civility,” he goes on to say, “is a tree with deep roots,” which are “failure, sin, weakness, and ignorance.” (His thesis, by the way, which he then goes on to propound, is totally unconvincing, if not absurd.) He ends his opinion piece with a quote from the famous Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, in which Niebuhr reflects, “Therefore we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”

What is amazing about Brooks’ fantastic piece of sophistry, equaling some of the sophistry that Socrates and Plato also had to deal with, is that Brooks is really criticizing those politicians and citizens who disagree with his extremist Right-Wing rhetoric (when he refers to “intellectual thuggery and partisan one-sidedness”) which has so polarized our nation, and which has led, if only indirectly, to fanning the nihilism of a deluded and mentally unstable young man. (Let us also remember: mentally unstable people, of which our nation has its fair share, are never moved to social acts of self-giving love and forgiveness but to acts of violence either against themselves or against others—acts encouraged by ignorance, intolerance, and hate speech, not to mention our sinfully easy access to dangerous weapons.)

Brooks himself, however, takes no personal responsibility for our present climate of intolerance, hatred, and violence. Instead, he tries to cover his sins, and by implication Palin’s, with high-sounding phrases and biblical language while pointing his finger at others, and incredibly, even concluding his remarks by talking about love and forgiveness! It is a virtuoso performance of supreme narcissism, self-righteousness, indifference to human suffering, culpable blindness, and unrepentant sinfulness. His only recommendation for healing the political divide—or starting the process—(and this unmasks his real motives!) is to have a bipartisan “comprehensive tax reform” as a way “to get people [of different political parties] conversing again.” His real agenda is thus unmasked at last: more tax cuts for the wealthy 1% who already own 42.7% of America! Evidently even this incredibly high percentage is not yet sufficient for Brooks and the plutocrats ruling America. They don’t want the majority of the wealth of America—they want all of it!

Krugman, of the NY Times, rightly says that, Obama’s beautiful speech notwithstanding, our politics are and will remain polarized. He is right. And he is right for a reason Brooks (ironically) mentions: sin. It is the pervasive sin of the Right Wingers that has permeated our nation and is now destroying it. The Right-Wing, quite simply, in the most profound biblical sense, is unrepentantly sinful—it worships mammon and not God; it treats the powerless and the poor with outright contempt, forgetting (or ignoring) what Christ says, “What you do unto the least of these you do unto me.”; and ignores blithely Christ’s call to “love and to serve one another,” instead caring only about themselves and their rich friends. So when Brooks mentions “sin,” he isn’t really talking about sin in its biblical sense. For Brooks, “sinners” are all those who disagree with his anti-democratic, plutocratic, and pro-Big Corporation politics.

This is what is so dangerous about the Right Wing: they are morally and spiritually blind and corrupt, blithely and self-righteously subverting every great principle of the Bible, and are implacably anti-Christian. Of course, they pretend to be moral and biblical, as when Brooks facilely quotes a great Protestant theologian, without however ever having understood a single word that he is quoting.

For those who love America’s founding ideals, have deep faith, and selflessly desire to transform our divided and diseased nation into a healthy nation of caring and tolerant individuals, with opportunity for all, knowing all this is brings no consolation, for our nation before our very eyes is self-destructing, with more craziness and violence sure to follow. Being powerless in the face of such pervasive evil now gripping our nation (the theme in the rise and fall of nations), one can only address these issues spiritually. What remains for those who do care about biblical morality, about love of neighbor and about caring for every citizen, are the words—and the warning— of Christ: the axe is now laid to the roots of the tree; and those trees which do not bear good fruit (that is, those who oppose God’s law of selfless love and the caring and helping of others) will be cut down and thrown into unquenchable fire. This, after all is said and done, is the final lesson, and judgment, of history. God will judge us by our acts of love—and condemn those who work merely selfishly. And that is as it should be.

Len Sive Jr.