Sunday Sinners

Original image by Sharkey50, altered by me, subject to a creative commons license.

Imagine a world where abortion and most kinds of contraception are banned, where divorce is restricted, adultery is made a crime and gay marriage is outlawed by a Constitutional amendment. A world where the government censors what you can read, see or hear to protect “the children”. Imagine a world where America is proclaimed a Christian nation, where Muslims are denied basic First Amendment rights, where the social safety net is tattered, and where governments at all levels is dismantled in the name of “small government”. In other words, imagine a world where the progress of the last forty years are wiped away.

Think it can’t happen? Read the pledge Michelle Bachman just signed in Iowa. She won’t be the last Republican presidential candidate to sign that pledge and other similar vows demanded by the far right of the party. As the Republican party moves ever to the right the prospect of it capturing the white house and congress grows ever more frightening. Anyone who believes it cannot happen, not in America in 2012, is living in a dream world.

Of course it is true a sizable majority of Americans do not favor the Republican right’s agenda to radically alter the nation. It also true most voting Americans are woefully uneducated about the positions candidates take on various issues. If they don’t like the guys in power, they vote for the other guys. That’s what they did in 2010. Most of the independent votes who pulled the Republican lever were protesting the failure of the Democrats to stem the rising tide of joblessness and economic misery.

They may well do it again in 2012. The economy is getting worse not better. The unemployment rate is rising. Home values continue to fall. Bullied by the Republicans, the Obama administration has now abandoned any real effort to stimulate the economy and has now joined those insisting on substantial budget cuts. Those cuts will not help the economy; they will further depress it and delay any real recovery. Voters will blame the President, and his party, for the lack of economic progress and the Republicans are likely to capture the Senate and possibly the White House as well.

A scant three years ago it appeared we were at the dawn of a new progressive age. Democrats held the House, Senate and the White House. The demographic tides seemed to favor Democrats with increasing numbers of minority and young voters. Obama gave us hope. Hope we believed in.

That hope quickly melted away like a late Spring snow. The President proved unable or unwilling to stand up to the Republican minority and its obstructionist strategy, again and again trying vainly to reach bipartisan agreement by abandoning progressive policies. He scaled back his stimulus package and larded it with ineffective tax cuts. He abandoned the public option and his health reform bill turned into a big giveaway to the insurance industry. Again and again he allowed the Right to frame the debate and spread outrageous lies (death panels, Kenya) about Obama and his moderate policies. It says something about Obama’s passivity that despite his income tax cuts a sizable share of the electorate believes he actually raised income taxes.

The Republican party has hocked its soul to its far right wing. Should it take full power in 2012 it will be compelled to promote its radicals’ agenda. Should that happen, and should that radical tide overwhelm us, it will be midnight in America.

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Image by Paul Cox and subject to a creative commons license

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