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Right Hook! 11 Must-Reads for the Politically Mature

I Know, 11 Must-Reads.  Why Not 10, right?

I wrestled with labeling this list as “conservative”. Anyone who reads it will learn something. This is especially true in the case of the Goldwater book. I came down on the side of truth-in-labeling. Conservative writers did write these books.  I consider these books to be arguable must-reads.

As I point out in Street Politics…, the terms Conservative and Liberal mean little in today’s discussion. There are few more stodgy and pig-headed than the modern American “liberal”. And people who would be slapped with the label “conservative” are often more willing than the Center and Left to try new ideas and cut loose the creative juices of their fellow citizens. Please bear this in mind as you browse the following books.

Also this is not presented in the rank order the books sold in. But most have spent time on the Amazon and NY Times best-sellers lists.

Just click on the book to go straight to it.

From Good to Best:

1. Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? (An Uncle Eric Book) 2nd Edition


by Richard J. Maybury (Author), Jane A. Williams (Editor)

I started with this book because it addresses directly the observation I made above. It properly diminishes the political labels that have been popular since FDR and challenges popular myth. Not every observation in this book aligns with my own, but at least we have a cogent argument about labels and why we must see past them if we are to have a hope in hell of ever getting this country back on a sustainable, successful course.

 

2. STREET POLITICS: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!

by Matt Jordan (Author)

Aw, c’mon! You didn’t think I was going to publish a list of conservative writers and not put my own masterpiece on here did you? Besides, I didn’t let hubris overwhelm me, placing SP ahead of everyone. I think I could have moved it much higher on the list, but I’ll be coy and keep it here.

This is your chance to deal with the new reality in Washington. Whether we like Donald Trump or not, we need to understand how got elected in the first place. Only then can we build on his unorthodox success.

As of this post, we are failing to do so. We are watching Republicans ensure the permanence of government-controlled health insurance while we miss entirely, the danger of a President who tweets WHAT HE IS THINKING, everyday, unedited, without an ounce of forethought or maturity.

Please remember:  50% of ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS will go to support Lt. Jeff Kerr, super cop from Virginia, in his fight against Multiple Sclerosis; his fight and helping others as well.  Due to the way book sales are reported, we don’t have much time before the Bike MS event in late spring. I hope you’ll help and share this book on your favorite social media.

3. Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America

by David Horowitz (Author)

Here’s an in-your-face book that I hesitated to include. But Horowitz is no blushing virgin on the political scene. His book takes square aim at all who disagree with the new President, including to some extent your host. I have yet to be enamored with Trump’s antics and don’t yet see how his big agenda is going to be much different from Paul Ryan’s.

I’ll give this example: If the Republicans repeal Obamacare and then “replace” it with something, they will have permanently crippled our health care system with a government insurance program. The only valid disposition of Obamacare is to dump it by a date certain, allowing insurance companies time to come up with real policies people can afford.

But there is cadre of folks on the right who think I’m wrong. Horowitz is their siren.

4. The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z 2nd Edition

by Phil Valentine (Author)

Westwood One radio personality, Phil Valentine does a fair job of defining conservatism in this easy-to-read work. His opening premise is most important to understanding the books general direction; America is Good. He correctly points out that despite our rocky beginnings we are not only a great power, but a force for good.

This will only remain so if we can, as a nation, back away from the self-destructive behaviors of political apathy and ignorance of economics.

Valentine has some other interesting things to say in The God Players and his DVD An Inconsistent Truth.

5. Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America

by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. (Author), Nancy French (Contributor)

Sheriff Clarke puts his common sense views on paper. It is more than passing strange that his views would be considered controversial. I suspect that in most cases, they actually aren’t.  But his detractors need a position to attack from.  Still there are many who think David Clarke is wide-eyed, right-wing doctrinaire.  That doesn’t speak well of our education system.

6. Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto

by Mark R. Levin(Author)

There are two Mark Levins. One is a radio host who seems to spend 90% of his airtime playing to the lowest common denominator in his audience. For a constitutional lawyer, one may opine, he sure spends a lot of time mired in emotionalism. And he insults his callers. It is often clear, due to a lack of active listening, Levin has completely missed a caller’s point. It makes him look even worse when he barks at a caller who agrees with him and is in the midst of making a very instructive point, and then hangs up on the caller. This is often followed by insults (dummy, jerk) when the caller was expounding on LEVIN’S point! So who is the jerk in this equation?

I try to wade through the BS showmanship and listen for cogent points. There are many. But too often he wrecks his own argument by behaving like a non-thinking progressive.

Fortunately, there is the other Mark Levin. His writing is far more palatable and enjoyable than his radio show. His intent is clearer and his legal education and experience come through on the page. He is an enjoyable read. If you love his radio show, then you have two reasons to love his work. I only have the one.

In Liberty and Tyranny Levin pulls no punches in his assessment of America under the boot of progressivism since FDR. And his assertions are correct. His argument is sound. Liberty and Tyranny is a fast moving read.  You can always count on Levin for spirited argument. His other works include Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America and Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America.  Also recommended reading.

7. Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand (Author)

This is the third rail of “conservative” literature. There are two reasons. First: Rand is [gasp] an atheist! As a result many will never read the clear-minded, conservative thinking which supports a free-market worldview as well as Rand does. Many of this cadre have an equal and opposite view of their religion-infused politics as their liberal counterparts. On the left there are those who believe Christ was a Marxist rebel and welfare maven. The religious on the right, who reject writers like Rand, believe if Christ were alive today he’d be a Republican hedge fund manager (with a heart of gold).

No matter the god you to which you might ascribe, it is folly to include him in our political squabbles. No all-powerful omnipotent would ever sully itself by wading into our petty politics and economics. That is a strictly human concern. If divine providence were ever a part of the American political experience we’d have neither Obamacare nor a President Trump.

The second reason is the dated, simplistic style of Rand’s novels. While her essays and arguments are concise and edgy, her novels incorporate those elements in a 1950’s romantic package. Her novels also belie her pure “objectivism” and demonstrate her passion and lust for life.

However, to understand Rand is to understand pure, free-market thinking and the rejection of needless government intrusion into our lives. One does not need to come away from her books as a committed Objectivist to benefit from the experience. Surely, many who think they are to the right of center, when confronted with the unvarnished portrait of that position, might actually question their position.

I find Rand’s work to be a reaffirmation of my own worldview with a bit of an edge added.

Read also: Fountainhead, We the Living and Anthem. If you would like to explore Ayn Rand through the eyes of a writer who is neither acolyte nor enemy, consider Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns.

8. A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America

by Bruce Cannon Gibney(Author)

Here’s an interesting one. I would take the author to task on a few of his conclusions (baby Boomers caused global warming or too little taxation led to the impoverishment of government) as a bit too simplistic and not quite accurate. Also, the writer is not what we’d call the modern “conservative”.   But his observations deserve attention. His hopeful goal is to lay naked the party Boomers have had, and continue to have, at the expense of their grandchildren.

Gibney’s warnings are very much in line with those responsible fiscal conservatives have been putting forward since before Bill Clinton.

If you are a hard right doctrinaire, you will have the wrong argument with this book. But if you are open to a discussion which may not originate inside you political wheelhouse, then this is a must-read.

9. Right Reason

by William F. Buckley(Author)

I’ve said that Bill Buckley could say in a paragraph what some writers need a book to say.

I chose to include this book because it offers a look inside the mind of a true conservative. There are other interesting aspects as well.

Written in 1985, this book lets you revisit the period ’79 to ’85, and hear it discussed by a man with few equals in the world of clear expression. It was Buckley’s robust and unrivaled use of language that first inspired me to consider writing about politics as a living. If you enjoy reading George Will or Christopher Hitchins, you’ll prize this book. From Buckley’s treatment of Hitchins’ election commentary on 1980 to his eulogy for his mother, we see glimpses of Buckley and the way his mind worked.

It should be noted that he and Hitchens were at opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum, but were good friends. Hitchens stood as best man for William Buckley’s son, Chris.

I am fairly certain Buckley would chafe at appearing on this list with Ayn Rand. There were times when Buckley showed real intolerance, while angered by intolerance toward Catholicism. Gore Vidal and Ayn Rand were among his favorite targets. This is odd in the case of Rand. Other than Rand’s atheism and more robust hedonism, there was little light between the two philosophically.

10. How To Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct

by Greg Gutfeld(Author)

This was intended to be a list of ten books and I wanted to include all the others. But I had to put Gutfeld in here. Not only does his work match or surpass any of the others, it does so in entertaining fashion. His books read even better if you know his voice and can hear his impish tone as you read.

Gutfeld’s approach to being right is not about shouting down the opposition. It is about reasoned argument, properly understood and delivered for the right reasons.

GG has a way of poking you in the eye and leaving you laughing about it. If we could all learn his timing and delivery, while arguing serious facts over Lefty fairy tales, there would only be about five self-loathing liberal left on the planet.

So, okay, I exaggerate. But the world would be a better, funnier place.

I’ll call this a tie with number 11 if only for the fun of reading it and your chance to actually learn something.

See also, The Joy of Hate, by Gutfeld

11. Conscience of a Conservative

by Barry Goldwater(Author)

Here, I go straight to the source. One on the most senselessly maligned and least understood people in modern politics is Barry Goldwater. He is also the father of the conservatism we know today.

In this book you will find principle that history has validated again and again. Over the centuries, people could be forgiven for not understanding the lessons of each passing era.

But since FDR, we have had an immediate audio and video record of the of big government, left wing failings and vindication of right thinking repeated over and over again. It seems society is either willfully ignoring the obvious answers or is breathtakingly apathetic about how their liberties and their hard-won treasure are being taken from them. And EVERY time this is done on a grand scale, the utopian programs the theft supports fails miserably.

Know Goldwater and you will know what we must do to right the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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McMullin was Under My Radar!

I will get to Evan McMullin in just a bit.  In the meantime…

I haven’t had a chance to comment on the latest happenings.  I have been doing battle with a fire-proof tree stump.  It is day 15 since I set fire to it for the first time.  I pre-treated twice with potassium nitrate, let it soak for weeks.  Then I doused it twice with  kerosene and built a fire around it.  The core burned out in a couple of days, but the perimeter and exposed roots won’t catch for love or money.  Grrr.

Anywho, I have been watching the sordid, pathetic election play out.  And I have more suggestions to the seven remaining responsible voters left out there. But I’ll start with a quick round-up.

The media sat on video since last year showing Trump talking smack about his prowess with women.  The world is pretending to not only be shocked by the content (few actually are) but are also pretending to be surprised.  Please!  Donald Trump let his ghost writers put similar stories in the books they wrote for him.  NO ONE is really shocked or surprised!

I will say that I reject out-of-hand the woman who is claiming her 15 minutes of fame in the last two days.  Her story sounds like complete crap.  Her delivery and structure is contrived.  “I don;t want to use this word but I’ll use it…octopus.”  Or “He was invading my space.”  These are complete contrivances.  The stories about his kissing attacks and telling a woman they were going to have an affair, “but you just don;t know it yet,” sound remarkably like a dumb thing Trump would say.  It is strange how in all the cases, the women just had to come out and tell their stories in mid-October before an election.  Why not last June?  Why not this year before he got the nomination?  The fact is their stories are either complete falsehoods or they were instructed by the media to sit on their accusations until Hillary needed them.  So even if some of these allegations are true, we are under no obligation to pity or worry for these women.  Their trauma and outrage seems to be in direct proportion to the proximity of election day and their need to help BJ Bill’s wife.  My heart bleeds not.

As I said they will…

Watch now, as I predicted MANY times here and in the book, as the press takes talking points and “leaks” from Clinton and obediently broadcasts them.  One after another, every day or two about Trump.  I’m not defending the  man.  I am sniggering behind my hand that so many of you bought his pretense of conservatism.  But the attacks will not be based on any concern for the country or the truth.  They will all be part of the concerted effort to get the felon elected.

In the case of the Democrat felon, there has never been a time, even under FDR, when the press has more dutifully carried a candidate, much less someone so utterly unworthy.  You will not hear, in any detail, about emails where she and her minions conspired to disobey a subpoena.  Remarks in emails that would have banner headlines and 24 hr/day coverage if a Republican made them are getting NO play in most of the media.  If these spoon-fed goons weren’t carrying water for Hillary, the election would be over already.  You see, there are a LOT of lemmings out there who think the New York Times and ABC News, etc. are independent news organizations.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Finally, we are hearing Trump trying to form a simple and valid argument about BJ Bill’s wife and her efforts to enable BJ Bill to earn that nickname.  Over the weekend I listened to Robert Riech recounting Hillary’s decision to appear on 60 Minutes during the New Hampshire primaries in ’92.  The guy still speaks in breathless awe about how brave she was to do that and how she was being so LOYAL to Bill.  Again, PLEASE!  Hillary was every bit the soulless cypher then as she is today.  Reich knows this.  His pretense of ignorance is embarrassing.  It shows how far people will go to maintain the illusions they helped foster so many years ago.  Hillary didn’t give a damn who Clinton played with or what he did to them.  She only cared about winning elections and acquiring power.  She happily destroyed any woman who had consensual affairs with him and any of the women he assaulted.

Sadly, as is always the case, Trump can barely form the sentences to forward this argument.  So it is left to the right-wing media to apologize and explain it for him.

So, there we are; all caught up.

A few weeks back, I started hearing the name McMullin.  I made a mental note to check him out and never did.  Tells you a lot about my memory.  A mind like a steel sieve.

I finally heard him speak and watched his running mate on TV today.  They are not on the ballot in all 50 states, but you’ll have the option of writing them in on election day if you so desire.

Every day I come across people who watch the news and shake their heads at the disgusting display by the major parties.  I always tell them they have other choices.  The response to that is almost uniform:  No, that won’t work.  Everybody is going to vote to Trump or Clinton anyway. Since I don’t want one, so I’ll vote for the other.

This is iron-clad proof of how cowed the two-party system has the average American voter.  The average voter doesn’t want either candidate.  But the average voter assumes – sadly, they seem to be correct –  that all the other average voters will line up like sheep and vote major party.  If so few of you want to do that, why do it?  We do not HAVE to have Trump or Clinton!  So why vote for Trump or Clinton?  When the conversation goes that far, the same people say, well if I vote for (X) then Clinton will get in.  The mental enslavement is mind-blowing!  If all the people who poll saying neither candidate should be president thought for themselves and chose from the remaining slate, there would be no Trump or Clinton in the White House.  We only fear everybody else not breaking ranks because we are afraid to break ranks and cast a responsible vote.  And so of we go, over the cliff, together, each wishing all the others had done what you were too timid to do.

Which brings me to Evan McMullin.

As candidates go, McMullin is a young, cool-headed, thinking man’s candidate.  He is a mildly hawkish, fiscally conservative with an open mind to ideas.  He has CIA and Wall Street experience.  This indicates he has the ability to take input and make decisions.  This is a characteristic Trump is woefully lacking.  His resume also indicates he can think tactically and strategically.  If you are a moderate leaning right with a no-nonsense approach to how you use your vote, and you don’t vote for McMullin, you are throwing your vote away.

Kindle Version, STREET POLITICS: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! 50% of all author proceeds go to fighting Multiple Sclerosis!!

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Quick Hit: Biden, et al Want It Both Ways.

“I can say it, but you can’t. Neener-Neener!” Said the childish Democrat.

In many of my posts, I refer to Joe Biden and Joe “DUH” Biden. I have been told, mostly by my more left-leaning friends, that this is in poor taste because it is mean and personal.

Well.

I have listened to the left’s message for decades now. The hallmark of the left, when it comes to speech is to say things as intentionally hurtful and personal as possible. The goal is always to create phony bogie men who wants to hurt this group and that. Most significantly, when things are related on this level, it is never true.

Today, Joe “Duh” Asshat” “Punk” “Scut-mouth” “Lying” “Divisive” “Irresponsible” Biden referred to Republicans as Xenophobes. Really? Tell me that isn’t getting nasty and personal. Tell me he isn’t taking part in the propaganda frenzy of the Obama White House and the Clinton Campaign. Joe isn’t sharp enough to realize that this tension is maintained for the specific purpose of seeing more cops and black men killed in our streets.

He is a little slow. Obama has been working on this for a long time. Joe Is just now jumping on the band wagon. But then, Biden has never been accused of being in the Mensa Society.

In the meantime, if a Republican/conservative says we need to vet refugees coming from war zones occupied by our enemy, or we have to reduce spending and debt, or we still don’t know the ideal temperature of the earth; well that’s hate speech. We should be subject to RICO statutes for even thinking these things.

So if people think I’m a bit too sharp in my labels here, consider the level of insult conservatives face every day just listening to the Regime and it’s lackeys. Consider how half our population hears our President say that killing cops is bad, but there is such a good excuse.  And they believe it!

That said, if my words still appear too harsh; if I come across as angry; if you feel I should demonstrate more restraint when talking about elected officials; well…you can kiss both sides of my ass.

Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here!

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Are You a Groupie, or an Adult?

The last week has demonstrated how easy it is for someone to gain notoriety with a credulous public. And I was just starting to warm up to Trump. Dang.

In Kentucky, an elected official decides unilaterally to stop issuing licenses to gay couples wishing to marry. Sounds awfully Obama-esque. And the woman uses Christianity as her excuse for doing so. Not only does half of all cyberspace dive in and say she’s right (the same people should and do go batshit when Valerie Jarrett orders her lap dog, Barry, to ignore the law) but they automatically believe everything Kim Davis says because she invokes religion for having done it.

Last time I checked, the applicable admonition here was “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”, or was that a line from War and Peace?

If this woman was a woman of principle, she should have resigned her post rather than take a paycheck for not being able to do her job. She knows that. She also knows that her post is one that represents all the people in her jurisdiction – even the gay ones. She knows all this if she is not irretrievably stupid.

I am guessing she is not stupid. So that leaves her groping for her 15 minutes of fame and/or setting up her reelection among voters she considers religious rubes. And why not? She is a Democrat. But all that is just a guess. She may indeed be stupid.

I am not saying this because she is opposed to gay marriage. I am criticizing her approach to her job and her dilemma. Instead of employing reason and ethics, she instead uses petulant emotionalism and extreme shortsightedness.

But to a greater extent, I criticize my fellow conservatives. Will we never evaluate and analyze an emerging figure before rushing out to lionize that figure on Twitter and Facebook? We immediately become groupies of those who we think are the least like us. We see it as validation. It is in these moments, those who observe us, considering whether to join us, must wonder how easily distracted we are from the greater causes at hand. And further how blind we must be to the possible consequences.

If today, it is right that a clerk not issue something as banal as a marriage license, as an act of faith, why not tomorrow deny a Jew a building permit. After all, in the heavily edited European version of the bible, the Jews did say that the blood of the Christ was forever upon their heads and the heads of their children. Cannot a devout Baptist claim the mantel of god and be right in making a Jew’s life difficult? How could we dare question an act of faith? It’s of no importance who signs the official’s paycheck if he is only acting to please his god.

Cannot a devout Christian county supervisor ban my books in public libraries? I live in a conservative county and there is little light between me and my neighbors on most issues. But I am a blasted Atheist. I can only poison the minds of the god-fearing. Wouldn’t it only be right for the county official to declare his office a minor Christian principality and ban my work? It is against the law to do so, but isn’t he just expressing himself religiously?

Think! No more Ready, Fire, Aim!

Finally, this. Two politicians, in my opinion have disqualified themselves from race for the White House. Cruz and Huckabee, pandering to the FB crowd, pretending not to know and intellectually agree with the paragraphs above, made a spectacle of themselves today. You can know with total confidence two things about these men. They will not be the type who will set right the skewed responsibilities inside the Beltway. They will not reduce the size of the presidency. If they do anything in that regard it will be to expand it. Also, they are far too happy to play one religious sect against another, or the religious against the secular. This, at a time when we need steely-eyed reason and courage to carry the day and the next 4 – 8 years.

They join Santorum as people who would engage in theocratic nonsense if the political winds encouraged it.

Today we protest a correct sequence of events. An elected official refuses to do her assigned task. A judge orders her to do so. She refuses again. For refusing, she is found in contempt of the order. How many of you wailed, as loudly as I did, at Eric Holder’s disrespect toward his contempt charge? What of the endless string of imperial fiats from the regime? (Hey, they just couldn’t wait for Congress!) If what Davis did is okay, then all Obama’s pronouncements are okay. Or they are both not.

Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here! A book on his travels in Mexico and Belize will be released in the Fall of 2015.

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See?!?!?! This is why Republicans don't win more elections!

Well, I suppose I should concede that there are several reasons the Republican party snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

The one we’ll visit with here comes to us from John Alley of the Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason (FredCoR).  It seems Al Bedrosian (R – Roanoke County, Va) needs to go away for a little while.  Unlike most of his colleagues, some even from the other side of the isle who get elected spouting off about god-ditty-god-god, Al actually believes the undiluted fecal matter he is shoveling.  Worse, he wants to create a little county-wide theocracy in the heart of Virginia, birthplace of the Religious Freedom Statute and genesis of the First Amendment. Bedrosian not only believes that people need to pray to a god at county meetings, but they need to pray to the god of the Christian New Testament only.  His “reasoning” process is truly Orwellian, a label I usually reserve for my liberal targets.  By letting another flavor of prayer to be heard, or none at all in his presence, is denying HIM his religious freedom. Put another way, you must pray as directed by him and his ilk or we are thwarting THEIR liberty.  Put another way still, he believes laws should be passed that say you will be Christian or you are not permitted to pray at County events.  Would someone be kind enough to ask Mr. Bedrosian if non-christians should wear a big, yellow “NC” on the shirts so he can see who might be trying to sneak a prayer to the wrong god at county meetings and town picnics?  

Here’s the rub:  When politicians, sadly and all too often, Republicans, bring their gods into their political races and offices, they make voting for them difficult. (Full disclosure: I am a fiscal conservative.  I am registered republican and usually identify as such.)  Goldwater, who a lot of liberals now miss for his timeless even-handedness, warned against the rise of fanatical Christian movement and what it would do to the party.  To their credit, the average voter, in hopes of finding somebody who might just start to address the real issues, have looked past the religious pandering and voted for these guys anyway.  They are sometimes rewarded with bills that try to get Big Brother out of our way so we can live our lives.   Sometimes.  They are also often made to feel foolish when the god guy gets caught stuffing his tongue down a political aide’s throat in hotel hallways, among other activities.  

Statement released:  “Oh, I’m flawed.  I fired the aide and ruined her life. Now I am praying to god and asking my family’s forgiveness.”  

What he is really thinking:  “Hey, this is what people do.  I try to respect the artificial restrictions we place on ourselves, but she’s really hot.”

Bedrosian is simply the worst of the lot in making things difficult for Republicans seeking office.

To win and win consistently, Republicans and fiscal conservatives specifically, must accept a few basic truths.

  • Only a minority in the party actually cares what sky daddy the candidate prays to.  While certain individual candidates from very small homogeneous districts must – sincerely or otherwise – claim a deep and abiding faith in one religious brand or other, the American population as a whole has moved far beyond being impressed by religious credentials.  The more a candidate plays at religion, the less impressed the larger electorate is.  While old-school, the political handlers and statisticians say it is risky to run a  candidate who doesn’t pay lip service to a god.  I would submit that it is, nowadays, unproductive or in some places counter-productive to do so.  Keep your religiosity to yourself.  It doesn’t carry a single argument outside the choir loft. 
  • There are more non-religious colleagues in office than most realize, causing doubts about the veracity of religious identification by pols. Religiously non-affiliated people represent a rapidly growing percentage of the population.  As many as 25% of people, according to some polls identify as non-affiliated, 16-20% are agnostic or atheist.  Yet, we are expected to believe that 534 out of 535 members of congress and every single president and vice president are humbly faithful to some mystical interpretation of a god.  This among a cadre of the most bloated egos in the country.   While I acknowledge that an outsized ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a person in a position of power, it doesn’t lend itself to bended-knee pleading and impracticable beliefs.
  • Encouraging identity politics while trying to repair a country is a fools errand.  FDR was the first master of divide and conquer electoral politics.  He couldn’t subdivide the population often or quickly enough.  His particular favorite was economic class envy but he wasn’t immune to using sex or race as well.  The result was great for Democrats, not so good for the country.  Such divisiveness has never served the republicans well.  Only the former Democrats that switched to Republican in the 60s and early 70s ever benefited.  Also, an us versus them message is an anathema to the correct social contract conservatives need to draw in order to fix this ailing country.  The free market doesn’t give a damn for the color of your skin, your religious beliefs or with whom you wish to mate.  It only demands participation. And the free market is the last best hope to repair our economy, put people to work and dampen enthusiasm for those who insist only they or god can build your life for you.
Reasonable people can debate the previous two paragraphs.  But there is more to the impact of people like Bedrosian.  The most dangerous aspect of all this is that the people he is pandering to, are like the devoted of all faiths.  The more ludicrous the demonstration of faith, the more fanatical the proclamation, the more admiration the practitioner on display garners.  Padre Pio leaps to mind.  

Why is it dangerous, you ask?  When the secular realism that made the country great is set aside, and little tin-pot theocrats like Bedrosian gain a voice, resentment of others and from others is the most immediate result.  A fuse is lit.  Fortunately, our culture has often seen through such silly social power grabs, tarted up as religion and dampened the fuse with equal parts reason and ridicule, the end result being a return to some sense of normalcy. 

But in recent decades there has been growing attention given to people who spout about god and the state while financing diamond mines off of the social security checks of old ladies ,among other rubes.  The majority used to laugh.  Now the majority remain silent. You don’t want to be seen as intolerant, right?
 Well, two weeks ago the Supreme court actually said that a denominational prayer before a state function doesn’t throw into doubt the fair treatment of people NOT of that denomination.  And so starts the slide.  Small towns will bicker over whose god is the right god and who says the right prayers. Resentment will fester.  Allegiances will form while others will fade.  A with-us-or-against-us attitude among religious advocates will evolve.  You WILL start to see the treatment of other or non-religious change by the congregation in charge.  You WILL see a gradual legalization of unequal treatment by local or more numerous regional religious groups.  Laugh if you want, but in 1641 England slid into a bloody civil war over the use of the right prayer book.  Our political zoo, and a quick scan of any Facebook feed tells me we are not far advanced from that time, and in some ways, less so.

It has always been said that god has been the reason for the success of this country; not so. The various gods and various filtrations of god’s groups have always been happy to give “him” the credit.  The truth is that reason and science have advanced American exceptionalism, not myth.  That is not something reasonable, educated people can debate so easily.  If anything, religion has slowed our rate of advance here as it has everywhere throughout history.

If the Republican party doesn’t put a leash on people like Bedrosian, they will continue to lose elections that were theirs to walk away with.  More importantly, if reasonable people don’t loudly and directly reject his ilk, this nation will continue its slide into a cesspool of identity politics and national failure.