Just another witch hunt?

Well…she did once claim to be a witch. To determine whether Christine O’Donnell is being mocked and smeared simply because the Tea Party is perceived as a threat to the controlling power or whether she is being mocked and smeared because her beliefs or ignorance threatens American ideals, you will have to watch and determine for yourself. 

And now she’s a Tea Partier! Look, I don’t care that she didn’t remember the 14th and 16th amendments by reference to their number. But the content of her discussion was appalling. Even putting aside her obviously ignorant perspective on evolution, the seeming unawareness of the content of the 1st Amendment was tremendously disturbing. Initially I thought her shtick was going to be the typical claim of christian theocrats that the establishment clause only meant you couldn’t set up a state religion – but throughout the clip she seemed to be unaware that the establishment clause was in there. (I actually find it hard to believe that she didn’t know, and I haven’t yet watched the entire debate…so maybe she gets to it, but the reaction of the audience should be pretty indicative that listeners were appalled by her statements.

I find myself concerned that someone with such little apparent awareness of important aspects of American politics can veer dangerously close to becoming an elected official. (Though, with the near miss of Palin as VP, why should I be?) One of the dangers of religion is when it constructs an in-group that subtly abuses its power by overwhelming individual with collective influence. Individuals are led to obey rather than think or, in those whose thoughts cannot be completely suppressed, are led to think about convoluted reasons why it makes sense to obey.

I don’t think elected officials need to be intellectuals, nor do I think intellectuals are any more incorruptible than any principle-led person, but I do think every elected official needs to have a thorough understanding of American Government.  Would I vote against someone simply because they are religious? No – many deeply religious people are among the best defenders of the Constitution. They understand the essential separation of church and state and don’t fantasize endlessly about a theocratic system that revels in merging religious ritual and belief into government. But group membership often blinds us to seeing this ability in others. In survey after survey, most religious people regularly admit that they would never vote for an atheist. (Putting them even below a Jew or Muslim.)

Unfortunately, religionists too often place value on blindly supporting the group’s platform and see those who might be inclined to think for themselves (and perhaps deviate from the group’s position) as dangerous and risky candidates. Clearly O’Donnell presents little risk with regard to the ability to think for herself. But this menacing aspect also explains the strength of the Right with regard to the fragmented and seemingly fickle Left. That George W. Bush could manage to get re-elected is a testament to that strength. That O’Bama has floundered and achieved little more than to dig deeper the hole that George started has quite a lot to do with the Left’s comparitive lack of solidarity.

2 Comments to “Just another witch hunt?”

  1. Beth S 23 October 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Wow, you even took my comment to you on FB out of context and used it for what you wanted other than what it was intended. You are good… It is crazy what you can do with words taking them away from any of the intended meanings at the time they were spoken. How do you do it? You are so good…cough, cough.

    • Jon K 25 October 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      You should probably review what ‘taking out of context’ actually means. There actually has to be a larger context in what you said for this to be the case, but as I copied the entire comment (with the exception of “yes, thank you for your calmness, Alan” which was clearly not related.) The context of the discussion was with regard to interpreting a couple hideous bible verses, which continues to be the context here. So you must have meant that you intended to convey a different meaning. If this is the case, you should specify what your actual intended meaning is in your comment rather than just throwing out meaningless open-ended accusations.

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