Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Democrats should not enable dumb Rovian, right wing games

Atrios on religion:
I tend to try to have a "don't be (a donkey's rump) needlessly" attitude when it comes to dealing with religious beliefs that no one is trying to impose on me, but there's no requirement for people to share that attitude. Beliefs cloaked in religion shouldn't be granted automatic immunity from scrutiny, and nor should the sometimes powerful institutions run by people, not angels or saints, around which the various religions are organized.

While genuine bigotry exists against people of various faiths which is the equivalent to the kind of bigotry which exists against gays or African-Americans (involving unfair symbols or stereotyping rooted in historic oppression, assigning unshared beliefs to an entire group, etc...), mocking or having contempt for actual religious beliefs isn't by any reasonable definition "bigotry."

It's simply heated disagreement, and as with disagreements about politics, or sports, or whatever, sometimes people who disagree with each other use mockery and insults in their discourse. Religious people may think that their beliefs about religion are on a different level than these things, but, you know, I don't really agree with that.
Certain religious forces in this country have decided, essentially, that the Republican Party must be supported by their followers whatever the cost, whether that cost is born by hapless individuals like Michael Schiavo or entire countries like Iraq.

The phony outrage about discussions of religion's influence on politics in this country must be exposed for what it is: a calculated decision to hold Democrats to one standard while ignoring the truly insane positions of the Robertsons, Falwells, Dobsons and Donohues.

We tolerate all sorts of religious belief in this country. You can believe virtually anything and worship as you please, as long as you follow the law. (And in some cases we even turn something of a blind eye to violations of the law, as in the case of the remnants of polygamy.)

What's sadly hilarious is that certain elements of American Christianity insist on portraying themselves as somehow being persecuted.

At the same time they insist that "bringing personal values to politics" is not only allowed but vital, which it is, they denigrate and dismiss the values of those who have genuinely different beliefs, especially atheists and other non-Christians. So what it boils down to, in some respects, is "our values are the correct values and we don't care what your values are."

Which is pretty much how we got to this point in American history, in a nutshell. The Republicans can't win without the far right religious extremists, but they can't govern with them because to enact their program would be a theocracy and the resulting massive backlash will destroy the GOP's chances for a generation. That backlash is already well under way.

Bill Donohue talking about being offended by progressive bloggers is just rich. A lot of us were offended in 1980, when Reagan teamed up with Falwell and his so-called "Moral Majority." We were similarly offended watching George H.W. Bush quickly abandon his pro-choice position to secure a place on the national ticket. And now, in 2007, Willard "Mitt" Romney is doing the same thing.

What's more offensive, writers examining the big issues of the day or GOP candidates changing their views on these supposedly core values to appease a voting bloc?

There are plenty of real things to be offended about today. Lies, hypocrisy and the cyncial manipulation of the media and the American public come to mind.

And while it's good that Edwards didn't ultimately fire the two bloggers, in the end Democratic campaigns need to understand that there are thousands of us out here who don't really care to play the stupid games Republicans try to play, and since we aren't being paid by anyone we don't have to play.

It's why I generally don't link to or discuss right-wing blogs. Not only are they not our audience or supporters, they just want to play dumb Rovian games. To engage them is to give them a power they would not otherwises possess.

This doesn't work as well right now for Democratic presidential candidates, because the national media loves the dumb Rovian games, but eventually that will change, if other Democrats don't enable them. Any candidate who enables the media to play these stupid games should be shunned by the netroots.

The rules are changing quickly, and the first rule is: don't ever buy into conservative memes. If a Democrat does that we should all be willing to have their back, whether they tend to hew a little more moderate or progressive or whatever.

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