Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
November 19, 2004
I have partly recovered from the election. I know that for the next four years the three branches of government are probably going to be under the control of the Republicans, who are pretty much under the control of the Religious Right . This is not what our forefathers intended, but it's the way it is. And unless you want to move to Canada, as some people in Washington and Oregon are threatening to do, we will live with it as well as we can.
But we will not sit quietly and let the things we believe in be taken away. 48% of us said so. That is nearly half of voting Americans. But the exit polls are what were really scary. 79% of Bush voters considered moral values to be the most important issue. On the other hand 80% of Kerry voters considered the economy/jobs to be the most important. Only 18% of Bush voters considered the economy to be the most important issue.
This State vs. Church schism is causing a dangerous division in our country. The Constitution and the Bible have different goals.
The Bush people talk about Values. What kind of values?
"Value: 1. Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor:
utility or merit: the value of an education. 2. A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable. : "The speech was a summons back to the patrician values of restraint and responsibility" (Jonathan Alter). 3. One of a series of specified values: issued a stamp of new value. " The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
That doesn't match the political definition which is, "This is what I believe and I am going to make my personal religious beliefs the laws of the United States."
The Traditional Values Coalition agrees. "'Christianity Today' notes that voters who care about moral values were key to the Bush and Republican victories. Nearly a quarter of the voters identified themselves as Christians and moral values topped the list of issues of concern to them over the economy, terrorism, or the war in Iraq.'"
But moral values are not the exclusive property of the Bush followers.
There are "moral" Democrats and "moral" Republicans. But our spiritual beliefs are private and should be kept that way.
One woman with whom I have discussed Values in the past few days is a solid middle of the road Republican. We agreed on the main values we believe in -- love, honesty, consideration for others, loyalty, ingenuity, humor. I don't know her spiritual beliefs, and she does not know mine. Eventually we will probably discuss those, but in dialogue, not in battle.
But to the official Republican party line, according to the exit polls, the phrase, moral vales, is a buzzword for the social issues of abortion, single sex marriage, umbilical stem cell research, gun control, evolution. Molly Ivins calls it God, Guys and Guns.
Ellen Goodman writes of what she calls the not-so-red, the Kerry states according to the voters maps, "are those voters who believe in legal protection for gay couples, who value a child with diabetes over a frozen embryo in a fertility clinic. They regard poverty as a moral issue and tolerance an American value. They don't want their country wracked by the religious wars we see across the world."
I'll stick to my values and let the fundamentalists stick to theirs.
Religion and government do not mix well.