Monday, January 17, 2011
Art Jaquez Guest Blog: Obama and Faith
I was thinking about Obama’s speech in Tucson and was struck by the many injections of Christian verse into the ceremony. This was troubling to me, as one might argue that the injection of religion into politics, to the point that it is now a dominant force, is one of the reasons we find ourselves so starkly divided and at each other’s throats.
Today, we see otherwise good people behaving badly even though, at some level, they are aware that what they are doing is wrong. A kind of mob mentality has come to characterize many on the radical fringe, that shares many of the same causes as the Southern lynchings of the past; vigilantism, ideology and racism, combined through a religious rallying point.
I believe that the Republicans' embrace of the “Southern Strategy,” in response to civil rights movement of the 60's, and the rise of the "Religious Right" are the causes of this, where barely concealed racism is encouraged and where the magical thinking of religion is used to instill a righteous fervor in its participants, even when railing against a political issue despite a mountain of evidence supporting it.
One cannot reason with someone who does not believe in evidence or who rejects facts as inconsequential within their belief system. For example, it is an exercise in futility, to try and reason with someone who thinks the Arizona assassin should receive an exorcism rather than psychiatric treatment, because their religious beliefs trump the facts. And when our political leaders, of all stripes, reinforce this kind magical thinking and this rejection of facts within politics, while others incite these people with violent rhetoric, then they all work together to stoke the flames of fanaticism.
If that is true, then Obama’s speech, though soaring and healing on many levels, also contributed to the problems we face.
This is a guest blog by Art Jaquez. To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
The Left is going to have to learn to employ the irrational brain as well. I know that it seems so compromising to Leftist ideals of being rational, factual and scientifically based but, too much is at stake. Fundamentalism also runs strong in segregated Hispanic churches. These are ignorant people that will vote against their own interests on behalf of social wedge issues.
Trying to reason with people is a lost cause. Being nice and backing off all the time only results in the Republicans framing all of our national discussions.
Posted by: qofdisks | Jan 17, 2011 3:19:31 PM
If it is true that the only way to move forward politically in this country is to embrace the irrational, then all is already lost as we will never address the problems we face which will destroy us in the end.
However, I do concede that I fear that is very likely the fate that lies before us.
Posted by: Art Jaquez | Jan 17, 2011 3:40:32 PM
Much of the problem is that our education system has failed the American people. Ignorance may have been promoted on purpose because an ignorant population is easier to control and manipulate.
Observing high school math and science classrooms, I can see that we have lost a generation to abject ignorance and short term gratification. The children have no stamina for listening or reading or problem solving for more than 10 - 15 minutes at a time. They are incredibly ignorant of any cultural context, have limited vocabulary and non-existent logical skills.
Posted by: qofdisks | Jan 17, 2011 5:58:43 PM
There are ways to communicate with people without launching into 20 bullet point program speak. Democrats need to talk about values as in LIBERAL values and do so simply, in a way that people understand. Linguist George Lakoff has been pushing this for years but the "communication consultants" that have a monopoly on Dem messaging want no part of it.
Posted by: Susan | Jan 17, 2011 6:09:40 PM
Yes, it also makes it easier to eliminate the middle class and transfer technical jobs out of the country, if our educational system is incapable of cranking out qualified individuals for the jobs of the future.
But hey, not to worry. Jesus is coming and this new generation of geniuses, aka "the faithful" will be raptured away from the mess they created :)
Posted by: Art Jaquez | Jan 17, 2011 6:18:38 PM