Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Huckabee Vs. Democratic Theists

There has been much said about not voting for a Democrat if they give any reverence to superstitous beliefs, like Hillary saying she prays daily or Edwards stating that his faith is the most important part of his life. Better, some say, let the enemy we know (Republican theists) win the election than have a supposed ally in office who then supports the idea of "faith".

Mike Huckabee said this in the most recent Republican debate:

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards,"

We (as a country) screwed around and allowed Bush and his Christian world-view to do more damage to this country than has been done by any President in the history of the Republic. I don't think this is a time for standing your ground on some higher principle. If a guy like Huckabee gets elected, we might as well change the name of the country - along with the Constitution.

19 comments:

the chaplain said...

I am angry and frustrated that the media is giving Huckabee a pass on this. Are they stupid, cowardly or just apathetic? They're definitely twits.

The Exterminator said...

chappy asks:
Are they stupid, cowardly or just apathetic?

I pick (D). All of the above.

Evo, I haven't got the time right now, but will return to dispute you later, since I am one of the "some" who say whatever it is you wrote that some say.

The Exterminator said...

OK, Evo, I'm ready to challenge your assumptions here:

One of the reasons that theocrats like Huckabee and Romney have been able to slip their theocratic crap into the ongoing political dialogue is that most of American society accepts the value of "faith." After all, there must be an actual value there because all across the political spectrum -- from the farthest left Democrat to the farthest right Republican -- faith is a given.

Well, it's not a fucking given, and I'm tired of hearing it accepted as such. It has no value except a deleterious one. It keeps our country from being truly free. It encourages the majority of our citizens not to be as educated as they could be. It distorts science, history, literature, and every other subject it touches. It stirs up warlike feelings against alleged enemies. It robs some of our citizens of their hard-earned money. It engenders an undeserved smugness in our leaders.

Someone needs to speak out about this. The natural place for that objection to come from is the left. If those on the left cannot be counted on to fight the perniciousness of creeping theocracy, they should be punished by being trounced at the polls. Then, in the next election, maybe someone with guts will stand up and fight for reason. And, the First Amendment, too.

If we don't vote against such Democratic weasels in large numbers, we'll wind up with umpteen more House Resolutions like 847 and 888, and a continuing clamor for godly Constitutional Amendments (all of which, I remind you, come from both sides of the imaginary aisle).

Since we're already on our guard against Republicans, I say -- let's give them the ultra-religious vote. They've got it, anyway, regardless of what I suggest. But for those of us who think there should NOT be a powerful religious vote, who abhor what religion does whenever it mixes into government, who worry about American liberties withstanding the assault from the god-pushing liars and bible-thumping ignoramuses amongst us, let's not vote for other god-pushing liars and bible-thumping ignoramuses, f'cryinoutloud. Let's throw the bums out!

John Evo said...

Ex, I really can't disagree with a word you say. It's all accurate.

The problem is quite simply this - everything is on a continuum; there's no black and white, it's shades of gray; some theists are BETTER PEOPLE than other theists.

We are in a goddamned mess in this country right now. It goes way beyond the problems we specifically focus on as atheists, although much of the problem is related to the fact that the religious right has so much power in American government right at this moment.

We can't AFFORD to teach theists on the left a lesson in THIS election! If you, and others who feel the same way you do, allow Mike Fucking Huckabee become the President of the United States of America instead of Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama, I shudder to think...

How much better would be the world and the country if Al Gore hadn't been robbed 7 years ago? We will never know. But we can imagine. This election is MORE important.

You play when it's not time to work.

The Exterminator said...

Evo:
I get what you're saying, and would like to believe it. But, honestly? A lot of what you've written sounds pretty faith-based to me. That's my problem with the Democrats: I have no evidence that they'd be any better than the current thugs. As I've said before elsewhere, they've been in "control" of Congress for a year now and we don't seem to be any better off in any area. Not in terms of the war, not in terms of foreign policy, not in terms of the economy, or health care, or getting rid of government corruption, or helping New Orleans rebuild, or ... shit, I could go on and on. Not only are we not better off, but, in fact, it was this very Democratic Congress that passed H. Res. 847.

I'm determined that my vote, at least, will go to someone who respects reason, respects the Constitution, respects the taxpayer, respects the law, respects history, respects science, respects other countries and other peoples, and respects ME and those who tend to think as I do. That's why I'll be writing in "The Exterminator." 'Cause there ain't nobody else among those weasels I can trust.

My name is the Exterminator and I approved this message.

Brendan said...

T. Ex:

I buy a lot of your argument, too, and in the past, I have either not voted or "wasted" my vote when the Democratic candidate was just another Republican-lite. (Unrelated, but full disclosure: I have actually voted for Republicans in the past, too, purely on the merits. John Chafee comes to mind -- he was better than the crook the Dems were offering in RI at the time.)

I guess my thinking changed on this when Rick Santorum was up for reelection in 2006. My sister, who lives in Pennsylvania, announced that she would not vote for his opponent, Bob Casey, Jr., because of Casey's anti-choice stance, but would instead vote for the Green Party candidate. Her reasoning matched yours: she felt it was time to send a message that she would no longer accept the slide by the Democrats toward catering to the wingnuts.

I hated Santorum so much that I spent far too much time arguing with her about this, and in the end, happily, it did not matter. Even the sheeple of Pennsylvania were able to figure out what a pusbag Santorum was, and he was trounced.

However, the result of this is that I've swung back to an earlier position: that it's always possible to pick the less worse of the top two choices, and that it's important to do so. I wish the Democrats didn't play the God card as much as they have been lately, and this aspect of Obama's in particular really upsets me. Nonetheless, the consequences of standing on principle resulted in GWB getting elected in 2000.

It's an imperfect system we have for choosing our leaders, and it's often discouraging to have to vote against, rather than voting for, I'll grant. Still, this is an imperfect world, and we have to make the best of what is offered. For however offensive you might find Hillary's or Obama's religiosity, you can't really believe they'd do much, if anything, based on their faith once in office. They aren't going to promote abstinence-only programs, or faith-based initiatives, or amending the Constitution to codify prejudice, or invading other countries for eschatological reasons. They may toss a symbolic bone every now and again, and they may not fight as hard as you'd like against certain existing programs, but that'll be the extent of it.

In the end, the consequences of having any one of the current Republican candidates get elected president are too dire to risk, especially a looney-tunes like Huckabee. When we get this country back on track, then we can start trying to move the slightly-less-worse party in a better direction. In the meantime, I propose that you look to more local elections to move your (our) agenda along -- school boards, for example, are far from trivial. In the national elections, it's time to be a team player.

the chaplain said...

Brendan said: In the end, the consequences of having any one of the current Republican candidates get elected president are too dire to risk, especially a looney-tunes like Huckabee.

Absolutely correct. I would not have voted for Huckabee even in my pre-atheist days. I actually voted for Bill Clinton twice, as well as Al Gore. I could not bring myself to vote for John Kerry, however, and wrote in another candidate.

Brendan also said: I propose that you look to more local elections to move your (our) agenda along -- school boards, for example, are far from trivial.

Right on, again. My dissertation was based on a series of school board meetings, so this is a subject near and dear to my heart. More important than my personal quirks, however, is the fact that a whole lot of ID/creationist nonsense gets its momentum from school board loony tunes who want to screw the science curriculum. School boards matter to all citizens regardless of whether they have kids in the schools because most of your future employees, business owners, etc., will be the products of the public schools.

Okay - I'll stop preaching now. I guess I just got moved by the spirit.

The Exterminator said...

brendan suggests: It's time to be a team player.

I agree. But when your team really sucks, it's time to try to change your roster. And when your team has been caught throwing ball games, it's time to change teams.

Brendan said...

T. Ex:

I can't disagree with that, except to say that it is my sense that my team is not yet as bad as you say, especially when I consider the other team.

Besides, to let another Republican into the White House at this time might just as easily push the Democrats to try even harder to pander to the wingnuts in the next election.

Brendan said...

(Meant to add:)

Chap:

Thanks for your secondings.

John Evo said...

Ex, I am going to say one last thing and then I'll leave you alone.

Before I say it, here's a word from Brendan:

For however offensive you might find Hillary's or Obama's religiosity, you can't really believe they'd do much, if anything, based on their faith once in office. They aren't going to promote abstinence-only programs, or faith-based initiatives, or amending the Constitution to codify prejudice, or invading other countries for eschatological reasons. They may toss a symbolic bone every now and again, and they may not fight as hard as you'd like against certain existing programs, but that'll be the extent of it.

Ex, you said that I actually sounded kind of "faith based". I guess, in a way, I am... but it's more that type of "faith" that is defined as "hope based on past experiences" (like I have faith that at the end of today, me and my family will all be OK). I could be wrong about that, but it's a fairly REASONABLE faith.

Now, here's all I have to say - we pride ourselves on being different than theists in that we never get locked in to an intransigent position. If someone can present a good enough case to us (against the position we espouse) then we are actually willing to change.

I'm going to suggest to you that the reasonable case has been presented to you. If you don't see it that way, you should stay on track and vote for Charles Darwin for President (though I think voting for Daniel Dennett would make a lot more sense!). Anyway, I've shot all of my best arguments, so if you are unfazed then there is no point me banging on your head! I just sincerely hope that you are capable of changing a cherished position.

The Exterminator said...

Evo:
I'm capable of changing a cherished position when presented with evidence. Your feelings aren't evidence. In fact, the Clinton years were terrible for atheists. The concept of faith-based funding started under him, a Democratic president, as "Charitable Choice." And, also under that Democratic president, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law (and, fortunately, found unconstitutional a few years later by the Supreme Court). Maybe even worse, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act was passed under that Democratic president, who signed it. (This law, unfortunately, has not been found unconstitutional, and continues to lead to abuses.)

So, no, Evo, you haven't presented a reasonable case for the Democrats whatsoever. And yes, I think your preference -- at least as far as First Amendment issues go -- is totally faith-based. Now the question is: are you capable of changing a cherished position when presented with actual evidence?

brendan: To let another Republican into the White House at this time might just as easily push the Democrats to try even harder to pander to the wingnuts in the next election.

So, if the Democrats win, they're encouraged to pander to the wingnuts in the next election in order to repeat their success. If the Democrats lose, they're encouraged to pander to the wingnuts in the next election to try to be successful.

However you slice that, it looks like a win for the wingnuts -- and a big loss for the rest of us.

Here's another scenario. How about: The Democrats win if and only if and when and only when they stop pandering to the wingnuts.

We can't even get one of those bastards to tell a debate moderator that a question about the efficacy of prayer is inappropriate in a presidential election. So I'm gonna depend on those guys to uphold the First Amendment?

You and I are definitely on the same team, brendan -- but we won't be voting for the same person in November. You'll be supporting someone who has "reached out" to the theocrats (and, given the quid pro quo nature of American politics, will allow him- or herself to be influenced by them once in office.) I'll be writing in the name of someone who thinks there's no fudging the Establishment Clause.

PhillyChief said...

It's simple, as long as appealing to faith is seen to work at gaining votes, it will be employed. As soon as it's not seen to work, it will be dropped. Expect nothing from the candidates as far as being above such shit. I think even an atheist candidate would be tempted and probably would pay lip service to faith just to get elected if it works, and since it's seen as a necessity, then he or she would have to play along.

So the only solutions I see are:
1) Convince the religious that they should stay out of politics
2) Construct (or give the appearance of) a sizable voter block that will not accept a candidate who employs faith

That's it. I'm with Ex in that I see it as pointless to argue Dem vs Rep. I think I differ in full rejection of all who don't fully represent me. It's always a choice between two evils, imo. I don't always think that the choice is to go with the one who pays lip service over the one who actually drinks the kool aid. As Ex can show, those so called lip service Dems can cause just as much harm as the Reps who believe, and not all believers obviously were awful leaders.

ordinary girl said...

I agree with Philly and Ex. How can we create a voting block of people who won't support faith in government if we won't even vote that way ourselves? If we don't start making our voices heard then no one will pay attention to us and the only way to make politicians pay attention to us is with our votes.

Just look at what the evangelical community started in the 70's and the 80's by coming together as a voting group. As a percentage of the population, evangelicals are not that large of a group, but they tend to glom onto other religious groups to expand their support. I think we could be just as successful if we could build a coalition of reason-based voters.

*Although if Mike Huckabee wins the Republican nomination, I don't know what I'll do. That man fucking scares me.

John Evo said...

Oh Gee! I thought we had a DEAL to always agree with each other.

Ex, I said I wouldn't push the point any further, and although there is a lot I could say... I'm going to stick to my promise.

I'll just defend my honor and say, I've changed many cherished ideas in my life. There's no question about my ability there.

Brendan said...

I take the point made by Ex, Philly, and OG. I'm not convinced that you're wrong, and I may come fully over to your side next presidential election, or the one after that. You're all correct about the Democrats pandering, and it irritates me to no end.

The only thing that keeps me from joining you right now is that I believe there is a difference between thinking about long-term goals and making the best immediate choices. In the current environment, I don't see that the atheist bloc has the clout or the numbers for the Democrats even to notice the action you propose, much less act in response to it. The better approach is to learn from the evangelical Christians: they had the patience and fortitude to spend decades working from the bottom up to achieve ther current power-broker role in the Republican Party. I propose, for the moment, pushing your agenda at the local level and maybe as high as the office of U.S. Representative, and holding your nose and making the most worthwhile vote against the Republicans at the senatorial and presidential levels.

John Evo said...

@ Brendan -

That's really the only point I was making to Ex, OG and others who feel that way. I certainly don't disagree with the thinking, I just feel likes you have to be a bit of a pragmatist within the frame-work of your rationality.

EVEN IF the Democrat loses this election (close) I will predict that there will be little or no statistical evidence that it was the "atheist rebellion" that caused the defeat.

If I'm right, what was gained? Nothing. What was lost? You tell me if Huckabee or Romney become the President for at least 4 years (on top of Bush's 8 year run). Scares me enough that I'd even support Hillary.

The Exterminator said...

Well, Evo, what would happen if ALL atheist organizations + secular organizations + religious organizations that worry about government incursions into their realm would unite to tell the candidates:

We will not vote for anyone who doesn't publicly pledge to restore the complete separation of church and state -- and then prove it by his or her words and actions during the rest of this presidential race.

Do you think that might be enough to make a dent?

If not, maybe we all just ought to sign up for our free bible classes conducted by the various campaigns.

John Evo said...

No. In the coming 9 months I don't think (1) it's possible to get all of those groups united to that cause (2) that there would be a significant voter impact. That's a great long-range goal, but there is virtually no imminent possibility of it happening. All we would be doing is helping to put a Republican back in office for another 4 years. Then again, if you honestly believe it would be just as bad under a Democrat, then you should proceed as planned.

Remember, we're cats. Just like you and I debate and diverge on our opinion about this, so will legions of other atheists. Remember, I'm MUCH MORE in tune with the song you're singing than a lot of our cohorts throughout the world of non-belief. Our "Four Horsemen" claim they get more flak from "the community" than they do from believers! Maybe you SHOULD watch the videos.