Compare & Contrast: Family Values & The 2008 Election genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak
The GOP has, for years, claimed to be the party of family values. Unfortunately, that title is more like a badge worn on one's lapel than an innate commitment to morality. Even worse, this carefully chosen description is primarily tailored to encompass those issues the GOP feels will garner votes. This seeming manipulation is no accident. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the GOP practices selective morality...the kind that makes a revelation of hypocrisy all the more significant.
Consider the facts. John McCain wants us to believe he shares the values of the evangelical voters he seeks to court. Unfortunately, his own history suggests something else...yet that hasn't stopped McCain from moving to claim he's always been aligned with Christian values. Well, if one believes that Ralph Reed represents family values, perhaps John McCain is entitled to wear his new badge.
In the first of the two following videos, Dems Rapid Response sheds some much needed light on the kind of values the GOP has actually come to represent under the leadership of men like George Bush. Yes, they consistently rail against abortion and same-sex marriage...while condoning deceit, deception, and dishonesty...the kind that robs hard-working Americans of opportunities and insures that the political elite will maintain their hold upon wealth and power.
The truth of the matter is that Ralph Reed, once a burgeoning star in the GOP (who diligently mouthed the party's moral mumbo jumbo), was exposed as the corrupt cash chasing charlatan he's always been. In fact, his rapid ascendency was formulaic...and his speedy demise deservedly mimicked that of many of his crooked Christian cohorts.
The fact that John McCain is happy to attach his fundraising efforts to Reed is a testament to the priorities he and his party share. The hypocrisy is revealed in their simultaneous attempts to connect Barack Obama's secular sensibilities with all things un-American...and therefore paint them as lacking moral justification.
In the second video, Matthew 25, a Christian political action committee, offers some much needed contrast...and begins the difficult work of dislodging the faithful from many of the fraudulent fabrications about Barack Obama that are being fostered by legions of GOP loyalists.
Sadly, we've become a nation that finds much of its worth in the denigration of others...and the blinding bravado of dogmatic intransigence. If it isn't the gays or those who favor a woman's right to choose or the hotel chain that offers adult movies to patrons or the network that allows Janet Jackson to expose her breast, it's the French and those other nations that have chosen secularism and the full separation of church and state.
In our haste to equate morality with the institutionalization of theology, we've often impinged upon the promise of equality and forsaken the foundational fundamentals of our freedom...and the opportunities it should foster. In fact, many of us have succumbed to the notion that simply being American is akin to being moral...and we've increasingly acted without introspection...assuming we can do no wrong.
Truth be told, values aren't limited to those issues that can be easily sexualized or sensationalized. The family that suffers in silence under the burden of a usurious mortgage or as a result of a failed economy or due to unexpected medical expenses they can't afford warrants consideration. Unfortunately, we're talking about the kind of morality that calls us to act; not simply to feign outrage.
It's easy to vilify the unknown gay man who wants to marry his partner or the stereotyped women who may have chosen to have an abortion. They are nameless, faceless individuals we can categorize while never having to recognize their humanity. The neighbor family struggling to pay its bills and feed its family is too close...too real...too apt to require our morality to be more than lip service.
Instead, we prefer the safety of pious platitudes. We want our elections be about salacious snippets and snarky sound bites...as it keeps us from having to look at our candidates, our country, ourselves, and our collective actions beyond the cardboard caricatures we construct.
America is at a crossroads...whether we choose to admit it or not. We run the risk of becoming irrelevant under the weight of our own rationalizations. Morality cannot be a slogan or a slur. It can't be predicated upon a golden rule that grants gold a godly status. Our ability to buy and sell the world...while staking a claim to all things Christian...is a contradiction that cannot be sustained. Family values cannot exclude those families we choose to ignore.
Morality cannot be measured without a commitment to compare and contrast. The following videos can be an important first step in that direction.
DemRapidResponse - Tainted
Matthew 25 - Families