legislating morality

The legislation of personal morality has been on my mind a lot lately, what with the new GOP trying to decide what the rest of society can and cannot do in their private lives. I’m always baffled at the justifications: Protect marriage, they say, as though somehow letting gays marry will invalidate my marriage. Pro-life, they say, conveniently ignoring that they are in fact anti-choice. Protecting religion, they insist, turning a blind eye to any religion or belief system that does not explicitly agree with them. When the Koch-funded “grassroots” Tea Party started infiltrating the GOP, and the idiot party actually catered to this Fox-manufactured base of so-called conservatives, they liked to talk about small government and keeping the bloated government out of their personal lives.
via Christian Science Monitor
Now, four years later, it’s so patently clear that what they actually meant was that they’re fine with big government being in their lives so long as they don’t understand that it’s big government (ie: Social Security income, Medicare, Medicaid, auto rebate program, etc. etc.). I know plenty of people who identify as Republican and complain about “welfare queens” (a Reagan-era myth, btw, that relies on racism and misogyny to retain traction in the face of overwhelming evidence that it’s false), yet they and their loved ones utilize these “big government” programs, Social Security Income, WIC food stamps, the C.A.R.S program (formerly Cash for Clunkers), and even Medicaid.
Apparently this kind of hypocrisy is okay as long as they convince themselves they’re the exception to the rule, not the definition of it. They are the target group these programs are meant to assist, yet these Tea Party conservatives are hell-bent on voting against their own interests despite all the evidence. Hell, it’s such a recognizable theme that a good portion of politically-related stories are dedicated to that sole question: Why does the Tea Party keep voting against their own interests?
In case you’re wondering, the answer seems to lie in recent scientific studies. Apparently, when some people are confronted with facts that disprove their worldview — whether it be religious or political — they just double-down on their opinion instead of listening to logic and reason. I get that, I really do. Change is terrifying; realizing you’ve been believing and practicing and promoting something demonstrably and provably false your entire life is terrifying. I’ve been there, I know.
Back to the Tea Party, though — not only are they voting against their own interests, they seem bound and determined to interfere in things that don’t effect them. For instance, if you’re against abortion or gay marriage, there’s a very simple solution — don’t get an abortion or gay-married. If you don’t approve of birth control, again, a very simple solution — don’t take birth control. Don’t like liquor? Don’t drink it. Don’t approve of marijuana? Don’t smoke it. Not okay with pre-marital sex? Don’t engage in it.
I find this useful to remember
when dealing with Tea Party
sympathizers.
Are you seeing the trend here? Because each of these things are personal lifestyle decisions. They are individual choices for the individual to make on an individual basis. In fact, my biggest problem with the so-called conservative movement is the hypocrisy.
When a Christian girl moves in with her boyfriend and insists to all and sundry that they’re “just roommates” who happen to date, all the while actively lying (and roping others into the lie) about sleeping together; when a pro-abstinence conservative couple engages in pre-marital sex, then lies about a resulting pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage; when an anti-choicer goes to an abortion clinic for an abortion and judges everyone there on their immoral choice — that’s hypocrisy.
They are ashamed of their own inability to hold up to their own unrealistic standards, and they lash out in rage at anyone who not only does not live up to those standards, but simply do not place any importance on such arbitrary standards. When did the Tea Party go from “smaller gub’mint, naow!” to “I want to put my gub’mint in your vagina and/or bedroom, and I want to do so forcibly and without your consent!”
image source
When New York passed their gay marriage law, I called my dad, a little nervously. He’s a Republican and has been his whole life, so I was afraid he would be all homophobic and anti-gay marriage, like a rabid Tea Partier/ Glenn Beck fan. I didn’t know if I could stomach that unique mix of anger and stupidity from my dad. Instead, to my delight, my dad talked about how in Priesthood Meeting that Sunday, he had spoken in defense of the New York gay marriage law.He explained that while he personally didn’t approve of homosexuality, he could understand why they (“the gays”) were fighting to enact legal protections. He said that as a lawyer, he knew how difficult and expensive it was to try to obtain the same legal protections afforded by marriage through other means, and said that speaking purely from a legal perspective, legalizing gay marriage made sense. They are, after all, consenting adults and tax paying Americans who are free to make their own personal decisions. Then my dad said something that blew my mind: My rights end where yours begin.

Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that just stunningly succinct and beautiful? That’s what Republicans used to believe, although they seem to have forgotten (or just no longer understand) that precept. My dad is belongs to that unique mindset of recognizing that just because he may not approve of your choices does not give him the right to force his morals and values on you.The new GOP keeps trying to insist that liberal Democrats are waging a war against them — against religion, against their personal rights, against their reality. Meanwhile, the rest of us — Democrats, Independents, Moderate Republicans — are stunned by the vitriolic insanity, the obvious and unconstitutional attempts to implement a theocracy and legislate personal religious tenants into our private lives and healthcare.

I didn’t agree with the war in Iraq or the one currently in Afghanistan. I don’t agree with the fact that our defense and military spending is disproportionately high, while our spending on education or humanitarian aid is embarrassingly low. I didn’t agree with DADT, and I don’t agree with DOMA. I do not agree with No Child Left Behind. I don’t support current gun legislation. I certainly do not agree with religious institutions receiving tax deductions for being charities, or with abstinence-only education being Federally funded and promoted. Yet somehow my tax dollars have supported (and in many cases, continue to support) these programs and laws. That’s how it works in a democracy.
And this is still a democracy, not a theocracy or a corporate dictatorship. Despite the best efforts of the religiously evangelical conservative theocracy-leaning Tea Party base and the corporatocracy of the obviously bought-and-sold GOP elites, we as a nation are still technically a democracy. We are still organizing, protesting, and making our voice heard. We still have that right and that freedom, and the only reason why the Tea Party and the GOP are trying so hard to remove our rights through these anti-women, anti-choice, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-internet policies is because they’re terrified of an informed, aware, and compassionate populace. They rely on misinformation and fear.
The good news is that the Republican party has bet on a losing horse: They’ve catered to an extremist evangelical base that is literally dying out: The Tea Party is comprised overwhelmingly of evangelical Christian males age 55 or older, and the average Fox Newsviewer is 65 and older.Best of all, polls are showing that the younger generation is more open-minded in general — internet savvy, less religious, and more inclined to support gay rights and gender equality. The Millennials and youth of America still hold to the ideals of our founding fathers, with truth, justice, and equality trumping the invasive legislation of someone else’s personal morality.

Even if the Tea Party and the old-guard GOP manage to institute their corporate-funded theocracy, it won’t last. Like other American mistakes, future generations will look back on this time and cringe in shame while shaking their heads in confusion at the idiocy of it all. Eventually, every piece of legislation these old bigots are passing will be repealed and discarded. Eventually, the United States of America will catch up to the rest of the modern world. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
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