--- by Linda Kellen Biegel
There has been a debate the last several days around the blogosphere regarding blog posts and civility. There are many who believe we should be careful in our language, avoid namecalling, etc...(good rules-of-thumb for debating). They make a good argument for trying to leave things open for engagement between us and the right-wingers. At the very least, being careful in our writing provides us more credibility.
However, in the discussion process, I wondered if folks actually thought that there may actually be a chance for Progressives to influence Palin's "Rebiblican" followers. These are folks who want the entire US to be run according to the Bible. Commenters mentioned quotes from Martin Luther King about peaceful resistence. They used his success in the civil rights movement as an example of how the same can be done by Progressives in this current political climate.
There is a very large difference between then and now: MLK was a pastor and linked the teachings of Jesus and his Baptist religion with social justice. Today, the right wing Rebiblicans have systematically and successfully stripped religion from the Left in the minds of many Americans...even though 74% of Progressives identify as Christians and many of the rest are devout followers of other faiths. Somehow, they've also replaced the Gospels of Jesus with the vengeful God from the Old Testament...a God who deals out often fatal punishment to "the godless."
The problem: their definition of "the godless" shifts and changes with whomever they are told (by "leaders" who may or may not be believers, but definitely know how to manipulate) fits that description. Sometimes, it's as simple as a judge who ruled against Sarah's family in a custody case.
Yesterday, I wrote this in the comments of another blog about my experience with the teabaggers (with edits):
...it doesn't matter whether you are actively writing anything about Palin or not. Once you are on their radar, they will continue to send regular messages with hate, insults and threats. I get about 10 a week even if I'm just writing gardening posts-more if I'm writing political ones.
Also, getting on their radar frequently has nothing to do with whether or not you are insulting...it also has more to do with if you are effective and people are actually paying attention. Then, if you're not truly being insulting, they start making stuff up.
Let's be clear...when they talk about "civility" it is like every other rule in Palin's world...only meant for us and not for her or her followers. We could stop all negative posts about Palin (no matter how civil) and the insults and threats would continue because they would believe that's why those posts had stopped...because it's important for them to take credit for everything...because it's important for them to think they are "God's chosen ones" and we are evil.
That's what these people believe...by the very fact we call ourselves Dems, Libs or Progressives we are evil and we're all going to hell. Therefore, they do not have to treat us as if we are human beings.
An example is part of an email I received today:
You poor dear, God turned his back on your very existence and Satan stepped in. Now we know from whence all your vitriol, evil compositions and repugnance originate.
We will all pray for your soul, although it surely is already lost forever.
Making us the "ultimate enemy" gives them license to do whatever they want...and we have "earned" that not because of anything most of us have ever said or done, but because of what we believe.
The difference between the Civil Rights battle and the current political climate is that rather than using a vision of God to fight FOR our rights and protections, the Rebiblicans and the Rebiblican DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) want to circumvent them:
As progressives, we are well aware of the role of the Religious Right in issues such as gay rights and women's rights. However, the Religious Right's war on progressive economic policy, regulation, progressive tax structures, and labor unions is often overlooked. Radical free market ideology is being taught to students and adults as a biblical mandate and those in opposition are being literally demonized. Revisionist textbooks rewriting science and social sciences to align with literal biblical interpretations, are widely used in homeschooling, some private schools, and also by "family values" organizations and adult seminars.
This includes taking away something that distinguished us from every other country when it was first instituted, the right of every child to have a free, secular education:
Federal government statistics show homeschooling increasing rapidly with an estimate of 1.5 million students home schooled in 2007. Homeschooling organizations and the Alliance for Separation of School and State claim that number is growing rapidly. The latter is an organization which aims to eradicate public education in America. This agenda to privatize all schooling is supported by numerous religious leaders, and includes Rep. Ron Paul, syndicated columnist John Rosemond, and former Secretary of the Interior Don Hodel.
That's something the religious civil rights advocates in King's day would march to prevent.
(to be cont'd)