There are so many problems in America.
I think the biggest is poverty. We need health care reform. Who needs it most? The poor. They have the worst health. When all you can afford is McDonalds and you don't have a stove or money for produce what can you expect?
We need education reform. I have no idea what direction public education needs to go in, but no matter which way it goes the same group of students will always suffer: the poor. Due to the instability of their home lives and the responsibilities they have at home there's no time for school work. As such they barely get through, or don't understand what they got through, or don't get through school. They learn no skills and their education haunts them, rather than helps them for the rest of their lives.
Because of this people don't understand science or statistics or civics. As such people don't vote, they worry about 'bonding' and invest in Baby Einstein, and they debate the Darwin 'theory'.
And these people are fed misinformation and lies so they can get riled up, go to town hall meetings, and shout down the speakers who are trying to ensure that they have the health care they need. The same people who would benefit the most from reform are those who are frightened of Obama, racists whose fear and narrow mindedness are being manipulated against their own best interests.
Why do we call it the Religious Right? It's not an ecumenical movement. I'm willing to bet there aren't many Hindus and Muslims in the Religious Right. Sikhs thin on the ground. Shouldn't we just call it the Christian Right?
What really upsets me is the fact that if Jesus showed up today I'm fairly sure the Christian Right would hate him. I mean, 'Blessed are: Peacemakers, Meek, Merciful, Those who Hunger for Righteousness, Poor in Spirit'. In a word: The downtrodden. What happened to 'Love thine enemy'? Whatever happened to Christian charity?
That's why these Christian Right people anger me. They profess to be followers of Jesus, but honestly, I see few of them following in his footsteps. Very few helping the sick and needy. Few feeding the hungry, and communing with the outcasts of society.
Who might be considered outcasts in our society, in our modern-day parable? Illegal immigrants? Gays? Who has the fewest rights in this country? Why are they stripped of their rights, if not due to the bellowings of the conservatives.
Jesus was not exactly a conservative fellow. Frankly, he bore more in common with those people who advocated peace and love forty years ago then those who physically intimidate speakers at health care town hall meetings.
For a man who got enraged and started flipping tables because there were money-lenders in the temple, do you really think he would approve of closing the gap between church and state? Do you really think he would approve of the widening gap between the rich and poor?
That's why poverty is the biggest problem. Poverty keeps people stupid and manipulable.
Without a free-thinking citizenry the country can't survive. People need to be able to reach stage three arguing. What are these stages? Stage one response: “That's stupid.” No reasoning, not argument, just gut reaction, often based on unchallenged assumptions. Stage two response: “That's stupid, and here's why...”Explaining and understanding why one feels the way they do about a subject, having given consideration to the problem. Stage three, the ideal: “I can see how you think that for reasons X,Y, and Z, but I think that's stupid for reasons A,B, and C.” Besides understanding one's own position you can understand the position of others. You need not agree with them, but you don't tell them their stupid and walk away.
I'm okay with certain conservatives. William F. Buckley-type conservative thinkers, who are rational, engage in stage three argument, and disagree with my views on how government should be run. Fine. But these belly-busters aren't doing anything useful. They are trying to deliberately impede helping people in need.
I recognize that the Left has it's share of fanatics. I am anti-fanatic. I am pro-helping people. Thus I generally am more lenient when it comes to the Left frothers since they just really really believe that helping people is a good thing.
That's what the parties seem to be, to me. The Left has a reputation for using government to help the needy, the conservative, supposedly Christian Right is entirely focused on self-interest.
We really need to rethink the self-interest motivation in this country. When men on steroids hitting balls are making millions as poverty creeps into the towns they play, and the President of the United States earns less for his job than Barry Bonds something is wrong. Perhaps poverty isn't the biggest problem in America today. Perhaps Barry Bonds is.
Or the 24-hour News cycle. Can we be rid of this yet? Can we go back to daily or twice a day news? I think we'd all be better off, journalistic integrity and standards would appreciate, and stories on the news would be, well, newsworthy. The constant tug at heartstrings of the daily local tragedy leaves one numb after mindless repetition. I used to care about the news. Now I can hear about a typhoon that kills thousands and not bother to read past the headline. Just another tragedy.
But I digress. The real issue is poverty, not the News that either chooses not to tell the story or does an 'interest piece' before packing up and leaving a poverty-ridden town having invested $1.50 at the local diner for a cup of coffee (no Starbucks!).
Until we start to settle poverty we can't expect education to improve. If you are a student who has to come home and take care of your siblings, or your parents, or hide from your parents, or work two jobs to support your family, or don't know where your next dinner is coming from, do you really think homework and study would be your primary concerns? Kids in poverty get very squirrelly just before school breaks. While other kids are looking forward to a vacation they dread the chaos that awaits them without any structure and questionable support at home. At school there is a routine, and food. No such luck at home.
So to the conservatives who are riling up these people, those conservatives who use the impoverished for partisan politics and anti-Obama sentiment due to the fact that Obama is a black president, to the conservatives who pay unholy lip service to the ideals of Christian charity and who are interested only in their own agendas at the cost of human lives, I say this:
I think you're stupid. You know damn well why.