(VANCOUVER ISLAND) When the dust settles after the November presidential election in the United States, no matter who assumes the office, one significant and positive thing will have been accomplished. The Tea Party faction of the Republican Party will have been exposed for what they really are.
The Tea Party was formed in the wake of and in response to the election of the US’s first black president, Barack Obama. The Tea Party was ostensibly in favour of limited government, they wanted to reduce or even eliminate taxes, while at the same time eliminating the deficit, and reducing the debt. They also supported social legislation guided by the moral principles they found in the Christian bible, they were for prayer in schools and against Roe v. Wade, against sex education (except abstinence only as a birth control measure). At its peak, about 10% of the US public self-identified as belonging to the faction, virtually every single one of whom was an evangelical Christian. Although the Tea Party had little direct effect on the nation, their radical stance and refusal to compromise or even negotiate persuaded enough Republicans that they were the only true conservatives to allow them to gain control of the GOP. Very quickly the Republicans found themselves in a race to the right, each elected legislator vying with the rest to see who could occupy the most extreme niche on the radical right hand side of the political spectrum.
By the end of Obama’s first term, the Republican Party had become an echo chamber in which only their own pollsters were listened to and in which dissenting voices were never heard. The GOP became a self-described “party of stupid”; their political stance being one of unadulterated obstructionism dedicated to denying Obama any victories by the simple expedient of refusing to do anything at all.
The party that had argued that the country needed smaller government had followed its own reductio ad absurdum: if less government is better, than surely no government is best. Their strategy for getting their point across was simple: declare repeatedly that government is inept and inefficient, unable to accomplish anything; then put a stick in the government’s spokes, grind it to a halt, and shut it down, then smugly point out that their thesis was correct.
But meanwhile, the evangelicals were doubling down on their religiosity; you couldn’t be a true conservative unless you wore your born-again credentials on your sleeve. Now the rhetoric that was coming from the far right was all about how the increasingly preposterous conservative stances taken by the Republicans were ordained by God and founded upon biblical principles. It became necessary for a true conservative to claim to believe more and more absurdities. One couldn’t even think about getting re-elected unless one believed in creationism, even young earth creationism. One had to insist that global warming was a hoax until it became patently obvious. Then they had to believe that climate change is not caused by human action. One had to hold that human life begins at the instant of conception. Prayer in schools and pretty much anywhere people gathered was a necessity, the First Amendment notwithstanding.
By halfway through Obama’s second term, evangelical Christianity was a prerequisite for any Republican to hold office. It was all about religion.
But here we are in 2016. Donald J Trump is about to be crowned the standard bearer for the GOP. He easily beat out Ted Cruz for the nomination and is collecting the last few holdouts of the Republican old guard into his orbit. Even Paul Ryan is preparing the way to cave and kiss Trump’s…ring. What’s curious about that is that Donald Trump is probably the least religious of all the contenders on the Republican side. Ted Cruz was very much like Trump except for two things. One, he was fractionally less extreme in his outspoken bigotry and bellicosity than Trump. And two, he was by far the most in-your-face, holier-than-thou religious fanatic who ever ran for the highest office. So what gives? Where was the Tea Part when their perfect candidate needed all the support he could get?
They were lining up behind Trump, that’s where. And the reason is simple: the religious justification and the biblical authority for their extreme positions on social and other issues has nothing to do with their politics. They’ll pay it lip service when it is expedient, but they’ll abandon it to get their way politically. The mean-spirited, fuck the hindmost, sharp elbowed positions they occupy are the real drivers behind their political views; the piousness they claim is protective colouration. What’s really important to these hypocrites is not their expectation of the end times and the rapture and all that Revelation nuttiness; their narrow-minded, anti-intellectual worship of ignorance, and indifference, even cruelty to their neighbours is their motivator. It is crystal clear that they are not motivated by the teachings of the bible’s Jesus, who focused his ministry on the disenfranchised, the suspect minorities, and the marginalised. On the contrary, they wish to have laws that specifically allow persecution and discrimination against those very groups. Since the mid-sixties, civil rights have never been under assault like they are now from the god-botherers. They have a candidate who is as hate-filled and bigoted as they are, a candidate who has a gift for mirroring hatred and amplifying it. Who needs a bible when you have The Art of the Deal or Mein Kampf?
The fact that the Tea Party eschewed their perfect candidate for Trump indicates just how tenuous their religious convictions are in comparison to their commitment to social nastiness. That the Tea Party was founded on hypocrisy about the better functioning of government was evident in their repeated attempts to shut down their own government. Now their hypocrisy about religion has become manifest. The parasites have in all likelihood destroyed their host, The Party of Lincoln; if, after this debacle, the Tea Party becomes its own party while the GOP tries to rebuild, their true natures will have been exposed. The sad thing is, judging by the vein of hatred Donald Trump has tapped, they will find many supporters.