10-0: the number of times Republicans mentioned God in their platform versus Democrats’ references to the Deity—until Fox News noticed the discrepancy. Which means Republicans are faithful to God, while the Democrats are guided by—Satan, I guess. Republicans, of course, know who God is and exactly what God wants us all to believe: that stewardship of the environment is unrelated to faith, that women lack the moral fiber to make decisions about their own bodies, that homosexuality is a sin. Since Republicans know with certainty what God wants, they’d surely govern according to God’s rules. Therefore, God-fearing people should vote Republican.
It’s name dropping, so many references to God, not all that different from my trying to gain your confidence by frequently mentioning my close friendship with Laura Bush or Oprah (neither of whom I, in fact, have ever met).
Nowadays people with money contribute a lot to political campaigns. Anonymously. Of course their wealth is the result of having worked hard, very hard. (Apparently the mechanic who’s been fixing cars for decades, older waitresses in our local restaurants, and nurses’ aides in their fifties haven’t worked hard enough. Or they’d be rich too.)
We admire the wealthy. On TV we look enviously at their houses. We want the kinds of cars they drive, the clothes they wear. Trying to be like them we give them power to influence us. We come to believe their words that what’s good for them is also good for us and that they know what’s best for the country.
To gain our confidence they rely heavily on name dropping: God this and God that. TV commercials costing PACS millions of dollars affirm our core values, tying God to patriotism and freedom. Wealthy supporters pay consultants big bucks to manipulate us into liking what they want us to like, hating what they want us to hate. We’re against welfare queens though we have no first-hand knowledge of them. Though few cases have been documented, we’re upset about voter fraud and support a candidate favoring rules to make voting more difficult. We don’t pause to ask who really benefits from such positions. Who is harmed?
May we not someday wake up to discover we’ve been hoodwinked and that our country has paid a great price. Because we believed them when powerful people said God this and God that.